August 7 is celebrated annually by lighthouse enthusiasts and organizations. In 1789 on this day, Congress approved an Act for the establishment and support of lighthouse, beacons, buoys, and public piers. To celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the signing of the Act and the commissioning of the first Federal lighthouse, Congress passed a resolution designating August 7 as National Lighthouse Day (American Lighthouse Foundation).
The purpose of a lighthouse is to warn mariners of dangerous shallows and rocky coasts, helping to guide vessels in and out of many harbors. The first lighthouse in history was built around 280 B.C. and had an open fire as the light at the summit. It was also the tallest one build, standing 450 feet. The United States has more lighthouses than any other country (cnn.com).
The closest lighthouse to the beach area near my home is the Assateague Light House, originally built in 1833 and rebuilt in 1866. It is 142 foot tall and located within the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
During my first year of retirement, we took a cross country RV trip with the purpose of seeing as many lighthouses as we could. It was winter and we left on January 17, 2012. The first stop was in North Carolina, Nagshead and the Outer Banks.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse is at the northern end of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Initially build in 1847, the 54 foot tower began to lean within two years of construction and was abandoned in 1859. The second lighthouse, an 80 foot tower was blown up in 1861 by Confederate troops to prevent its use by Union forces. In 1871 a new tower was build and powered by the Fresnel lens.
From there we went to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the Ocracoke Lighthouse, and the Oak Island Lighthouse.
In South Carolina we visited the Sullivan’s Lighthouse.
In Georgia we went to Tybee Island and visit the Tybee Island Lighthouse, the Amelia Island Lighthouse, and the St. George’s State Park Lighthouse.
The trip while amazing was limited to the east coast, I am now planning a sequel to visit other areas of the country with similar historic lighthouses. Each year I have a theme for the winter RV trip and this is the year to repeat this experience!