Security Levels

National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) check current status

Historic Light Station Information
Photography

DELAWARE


BAKER SHOAL RANGE LIGHTS

Location: Delaware River south of the C&D Canal, Port Penn, Delaware
Station Established: 1910
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1904
Operational: No
Automated: No
Deactivated: 1924
Foundation Materials: Unknown
Construction Materials: Front-wood; Rear-iron
Tower Shape: Front--square two-story frame dwelling; Rear--skeletal iron tower on wooden pilings
Markings/Pattern: Front-white; Rear-brown
Characteristic: Front--occulting white; Rear--flashing white
Relationship to Other Structure:
Original Lens:

Historical Information:

  • A temporary light was lit in 1902.  In 1904 a two-story keeper’s dwelling was built with the light in a second story window.
  • The Baker Range Front Light was discontinued in 1924. A new steel tower was built in that year.
  • The original lighthouse was removed or destroyed.
  • The new tower is an active aid to navigation.
  • There was a Baker Shoal Range Rear light that originally served as the Port Penn-Reedy Island Range. Light. It became the Baker Shoal Rear Range Light in 1904 when the old range was discontinued due to the channel moving.  It remains an active aid to navigation.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.

Photographs

BAKER SHOAL REAR RANGE LIGHT, CIRCA 1933


BELLEVUE RANGE LIGHTS

Location: Mouth of the Christina River on the Delaware River, Wilmington, Delaware
Station Established: 1909
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1909
Operational: No
Automated: Yes
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials: Concrete
Construction Materials: Cast iron
Tower Shape: Front--frame structure, square tower at center with a brown lantern; Rear--pyramid skeletal iron tower.
Markings/Pattern: Front--white; Rear--black
Characteristic: Front--flashing white; Rear--flashing white
Relationship to Other Structure: Separate
Original Lens: Fourth Order, Fresnel

Historical Information:

  • The lighthouse is on the grounds of a landfill.  Due to the expansion of the landfill the light was moved to a new structure.
  • The light station had two keepers’ dwellings at one time.  One was the former Christina Lighthouse.  The other was a concrete house.
  • The Bellevue Range Rear light was deactivated in 2001 when a modern tower was built to replace it.  The modern tower is an active aid to navigation
  • The Bellevue Range Rear Light is not open to the public.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.

Photographs

BELLEVUE RANGE REAR LIGHT


CAPE HENLOPEN

Location: "On cape (Del.)
Station Established: 1767
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1769
Operational: No 
Automated: N/A 
Deactivated: 1924; tower collapsed due to erosion in 1926
Foundation Materials: 
Construction Materials: 
Tower Shape: 
Markings/Pattern: White
Characteristic: Flashing white with red sector
Relationship to Other Structure: 
Original Lens: 
Fog Signal: Reed horn: blast--2 seconds, silent--13 seconds; Bell (Hand) if horn is disabled, 1 stroke every 10 seconds.

Historical Information:

Cape Henlopen Lighthouse was completed in 1769, part of the funds to erect it being raised by a £3,000 lottery. Even though the structure was within the limits of Delaware, the 200 acres on which it was erected was granted by the late proprietors of Pennsylvania to the Board of Wardens for the purpose of erecting a lighthouse on Cape Henlopen." The estimated cost of the original lighthouse was £7,674/3/2.  It was the sixth lighthouse built in the colonies.  In 1777 the lighthouse was practically completely burned down by the British. On the return of peace in 1783, the wardens proceeded to repair the damage and it was relighted in 1784.

On September 28, 1789, the lighthouse together with all beacons, buoys, and public piers, lands, tenements and jurisdiction was ceded to the Federal Government by the State of Delaware in accordance with the act of Congress of August 7, 1789.  As early as 1788 evidence of wind erosion in the sandy area in which the tower was constructed, had been noted and steps taken, by planting "underwood and weeds of every kind," to prevent the sand from blowing away. There seemed to be no encroachment from the sea at that time.

Abraham Hargis was the keeper from 1797 to 1813 and his successor John Ware served until 1827. Following him Kendall Baston served until 1838, with a Mr. McCracken serving for a short period, until December 1839, when Asa Clifton, of Lewes, Del., took charge. William Elligood took over as keeper in 1849.  In 1851 sand was reported advancing toward the tower and the keeper’s house. A first-order lens was installed in 1856 due to the "numerous accidents that have occurred in consequence of the inferiority of the lighting apparatus from confounding a light which, from position, should be one of the principal seacoast lights, for the lightship off Five Fathom bank.

In 1863 a new keeper’s dwelling was built, "the old one being threatened with destruction by the speedy progress in that direction of a remarkable sand hill, which has been moving inflexibly in a certain course at a constant rate of speed for many years, presenting in its existence and movement a most singular natural phenomenon."  In 1868 "the big sand hill" situated at the north of the tower, formed of drifting sand, was found to have moved southward at the rate of 11 feet a year. The application of brushwood to exposed places was thought to have stopped the movement by 1872.

In 1883, the sea, in a storm, encroached upon the ocean side of the station, until the high water line came under the lighthouse and the question of the protection of the structure was taken under consideration. In that year the bark Minnie Hunter came ashore 550 feet north of the lighthouse and acted as a jetty so that the level of the sand under the lighthouse structure was raised some 20 inches. Erosion continued, however, and by 1885 the beacon, which had become unsafe from undermining, had to be removed to Delaware Breakwater.

In 1897 the sand dune surrounding the tower was reported to be steadily blowing away and by 1905 ‘several tons of brush were placed about the tower and oil house to prevent the foundations and brick walls from being undermined by the drifting away of the sand."  All measures to protect the tower failed, however, and on April 13, 1926, a northeast storm undermined the tower and caused it to fall seaward. Its value to shipping, however, had already been superseded by the light and fog signal station on the Delaware Breakwater and by the lightships and lighted buoys marking the entrance to Delaware Bay.

Photographs

NO PHOTOGRAPH AVAILABLE


CHERRY ISLAND RANGE LIGHTS

Location: Delaware River north of Christiana River near Edgemoor, Delaware
Station Established: 1880
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1880
Operational: No
Automated:
Deactivated:
Foundation Materials:
Construction Materials: Rear--wood frame
Tower Shape: Front--square pyramidal tower; Rear--square wooden tower attached to dwelling
Markings/Pattern: Front--white tower; Rear--white tower, white lantern, black circular daymark above
Characteristic: Front--flashing white (1 second); Rear--flashing white
Relationship to Other Structure: Integral
Original Lens:
Fog Signal: Bell, 1 stroke every 30 seconds

Historical Information:

  • The building was razed by the Coast Guard in the early 1970s.
  • A fixed red beacon on a skeletal tower replaced the light.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.

Photographs

CHERRY ISLAND REAR RANGE LIGHTHOUSE


CHRISTIANA NORTH JETTY LIGHT

Location: End of jetty at the mouth of the Christiana River, near Wilmington, Delaware
Station Established: 1884
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1884
Operational: No
Automated:
Deactivated:
Foundation Materials:
Construction Materials: Wood frame
Tower Shape: Wood frame bell tower with lantern on roof
Markings/Pattern:
Relationship to Other Structure: Integral
Original Lens:

Historical Information:

  • Very little information exists on this light.
  • In 1884 the light consisted of a fixed white lantern on a post. In 1901 it was a fixed red lantern on a bell tower. There was also a 2,100 pound fog bell and striking machinery at this location.
  • At some point the light station was destroyed.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.

Photographs

CHRISTIANA NORTH JETTY LIGHTHOUSE


DELAWARE BREAKWATER LIGHT

Location: Lewes Harbor / Delaware Bay entrance 
Station Established: 1885 
Year Current Tower(s) Lit: 1885 
Operational? NO 
Automated? YES - 1950
Deactivated: 1996 
Foundation Materials: CAISSON 
Construction Materials: BRICK W/CAST IRON PLATES 
Tower Shape: CONICAL 
Height: 60.5 above mean high tide.
Markings/Pattern: BROWN TOWER ON WHITE PIER 
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL 
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 
Foghorn: 2nd class Daboll trumpet.

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Anne Puppa, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Photographs

DELAWARE BREAKWATER LIGHT


DELAWARE BREAKWATER RANGE FRONT LIGHT (West End)

Location: Lewes Harbor / Delaware Bay entrance 
Station Established: 1838
Deactivated: 1903
Foundation Materials: Sits on breakwater
Construction Materials: Brick dwelling with lantern on roof.
Relationship to Other Structure: Integral
Original Lens: Six lamps and reflectors
Characteristic: white flash every 45 seconds (when Fresnel installed)
Status: Torn down in 1950

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Anne Puppa, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Photographs

DELAWARE BREAKWATER RANGE FRONT LIGHT


FENWICK ISLAND LIGHT

Location: Delaware / Maryland border
Station Established: 1859
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1859
Operational? YES
Automated? YES 1940
Deactivated: 1978-1982
Foundation Materials: NATURAL/EMPLACED
Construction Materials: BRICK
Tower Shape: CONICAL
Markings/Pattern: WHITE W/BLACK LANTERN
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE
Original Lens: THIRD ORDER, FRESNEL 1859

Historical Information:

Congress authorized the erection of a lighthouse on Fenwick Island, Del., in 1856. The site for the light adjoined the south boundary of Delaware on the Delaware-Maryland boundary line in the vicinity of Fishing Harbor. Immediately behind the storehouse of the light station is a stone monument or marker, apparently of granite, having the arms of William Penn carved on the north side and the arms of Lord Baltimore on the south side. This stone is the first stone erected in connection with the Mason and Dixon’s line survey. It is the only and original first stone set up in 1751.

When King Charles of England granted Penn his 29,000,000 acres in 1681 which now form the State of Pennsylvania, a controversy immediately began with Lord Baltimore, who owned the Maryland territory, as to the boundary line. As Penn acquired, also, what is now Delaware, it affected the line of that territory as well. This controversy raged through three or four generations and was not finally settled until 1768. By 1750, however, the only line the disputants were not quarreling over was the lower east-west line, so they appointed two surveyors to go the spot, determine the compass variation, and start the survey of the line, which was and is the present lower line of Delaware State. The surveyors arrived at Fenwick Island in December 1750. They drove a stake at a point 139 perches west of the "Main Ocean" at a group of four mulberry trees where the lighthouse now stands. Then they measured east to the "Verge of the Ocean" and began the line there. They could put no permanent mark at the water’s edge, but they measured some 6 miles west and then quit for the weather was bad, their cabin had burned up, and the exposure was great.

In April 1751, all hands again met at Fenwick Island. The commissioners were shown the work of the previous December and approved it and on April 26, 1751, a stone was set where the stake had been, having the arms of Lord Baltimore on the south side and of Penn on the north. This is the stone that stands there today.

Other stones were erected at 5-mile intervals and the west line of the State of Delaware was set up. Soon after this Lord Baltimore died and his death delayed things. Nothing was done for about 10 years, when under a new agreement in 1760, between the then generations of Penns and Baltimores, surveys were started again on this north line, the object being to lay it out so as to hit the 12-mile circle, 81 miles above, determined upon as the northern boundary of Delaware, with New Castle as its center. The surveyors made such a poor job of it, despite several efforts, after 3 years, that Penn and Baltimore in England hired Mason and Dixon, two engineers of note, to go over to America, take charge and do the job. They arrived in 1763, accepted the lower or east and west line across the peninsula as correct, reran the north line and ran the line from the northeast corner of Maryland west, for about 223 miles. This is the generally understood Mason and Dixon’s line. They also ran the north and south line which is the western boundary of Delaware. Five years were occupied in this and not until 1768 was the last stone set, which ended the controversy of nearly a century.

By 1857 the site for the lighthouse had been selected and marked and the tower was completed early in 1859, being first lit on August 1, 1859. The total cost was $23,748.96. In 1932 a strip of land 60 feet wide, extending east and west across the site, was deeded to the State of Delaware for roadway purposes and in 1940 about three-fourths of the site was sold including the entire northern wooded half and 2.71 acres of the southern half.

The white lighthouse tower now stands 0.3 mile inshore on the coast, the tower being 83 feet above water and the top of the lantern 87 feet above ground. A 25,000-candlepower light flashes white every 3 seconds and is visible 15 miles at sea.

Photographs

FENWICK ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE


FOURTEEN FOOT BANK LIGHT

Location: Delaware Bay / Bowers Beach 
Station Established: 1876 
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1887
Operational? YES 
Automated? YES 1972 
Deactivated: N/A 
Foundation Materials: SUB CAST IRON/CONCRETE CAISSON 
Construction Materials: CAST IRON 
Tower Shape: SQUARE 
Height: Focal Plane above mean high tide 59’
Markings/Pattern: WHITE TOWER & DWELLING/BLOCK PIER & LANTERN 
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL 
Fog Signal: Yes - 2nd class Daboll trumpet, operated by engine & compressor
Fog Signal Characteristic: 5 sec blast, 25 sec silent. No duplicate parts but they did have a second apparatus as backup. 
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL (manufactured by Henry Le Paute, Paris)

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Anne Puppa, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Photographs

FOURTEEN FOOT BANK LIGHTHOUSE


HARBOR OF REFUGE (SOUTH) BREAKWATER LIGHT

Location: Lewes Harbor / Delaware Bay entrance 
Station Established: 1896 
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1926 
Operational? YES 
Automated? YES 1973 
Deactivated: N/A 
Foundation Materials: CAST IRON CAISSON/ROCK JETTY 
Construction Materials: CAST IRON 
Tower Shape: CONICAL 
Markings/Pattern: WHITE TOWER/BROWN CYLINDER/BLACK LANTERN 
Relationship to Other Structure: INTEGRAL 
Original Lens: FOURTH ORDER, FRESNEL 
Status: Standing and operational

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Anne Puppa, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Photographs

1896 HARBOR OF REFUGE BREAKWATER TOWER

1926 HARBOR OF REFUGE BREAKWATER TOWER


LISTON RANGE LIGHT

Location: Delaware River 
Station Established: 1906 
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1877 
Operational? YES 
Automated? YES 1976 
Deactivated: N/A 
Foundation Materials: MASONRY (MOVED 1906) 
Construction Materials: WROUGHT IRON 
Tower Shape: PYRAMIDAL SKELETAL W/CYLINDER 
Height: Focal Plane is 176
Markings/Pattern: BLACK 
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE 
Original Lens: SECOND ORDER RANGE, FRESNEL 1906 

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Anne Puppa, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Photographs

LISTON FRONT RANGE LIGHT, CIRCA 1913

LISTON REAR RANGE LIGHT, CIRCA 1933


MAHON RIVER LIGHT

Location: Port Mahon, Delaware, on the west side of the mouth of the river
Station Established: 1831
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1955
Operational: Yes
Automated:
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials:
Construction Materials: Steel
Tower Shape: Skeletal
Markings/Pattern: White, small white house
Characteristic: Flashing white with 2 red sectors
Relationship to Other Structure:
Original Lens:
Fog Signal: None

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.

Photographs

MAHON RIVER LIGHTHOUSE: original caption: "Mahon River Lt. Sta. Looking Westerly Shows dwelling, lantern & barn [;] July 24 -- 1930 by J. L. S. [;] 77."


MARCUS HOOK REAR RANGE LIGHT

Location: Delaware River Channel near Bellefonte, Delaware
Station Established: 1915
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1920
Operational: Yes
Automated:
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials: Concrete
Construction Materials: Reinforced concrete
Tower Shape: Square
Markings/Pattern: Natural
Characteristic: Flashing white (till replaced by fixed red DCB-24 lens sometime in the early 1980s)
Relationship to Other Structure: Separate
Original Lens: Fourth Order Fresnel

Historical Information: 

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.

Photographs

MARCUS HOOK REAR RANGE LIGHT


MISPILLION LIGHT (OLD)

Location: On the west side of the mouth of the Mispillion River on the Delaware Bay near Milford, Delaware. 
Station Established: 1831
Year Current/Last Tower(s) First Lit: 1873
Operational: No
Automated: 1926
Deactivated: 1929
Foundation Materials: Natural emplaced
Construction Materials: Wood Frame
Tower Shape: Square
Markings/Pattern: White wood tower on carpenter gothic house
Characteristic: Flashing white every 3 seconds, flash duration 0.3 seconds, with a red sector from 301° to 308°
Relationship to Other Structure: Integral
Original Lens: Sixth Order, Fresnel
Fog Signal: None

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.

Photographs

MISPILLION LIGHTHOUSE


NEW CASTLE RANGE LIGHTS

Location: Delaware River near New Castle, Delaware
Station Established: 1876
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: Front-1964, Rear-1953
Operational: Yes
Automated: Front-1964; Rear-1953
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials: Unknown
Construction Materials: Steel
Tower Shape: Skeletal
Markings/Pattern: White
Characteristic: Front-occulting white; Rear-flashing white
Relationship to Other Structure: Separate
Original Lens: Unknown
Fog Signal: None

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.

Photographs

NEW CASTLE FRONT RANGE TOWER; original caption: "NEWCASTLE RANGE FRONT, DEL. [;] FOURTH NAVAL DISTRICT (PHILA) [;] Taken Jan. 1933 -- R. C. Smith."

NEW CASTLE REAR RANGE TOWER; original caption: "NEWCASTLE RANGE REAR, DEL. [;] FOURTH NAVAL DISTRICT (PHILA) [;] Taken Jan. 1933 -- R. C. Smith."


OLD REEDY ISLAND LIGHT

Location: South end of Reedy Island on the Delaware River, Near Port Penn, Delaware
Station Established: 1839
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1839, 1879
Operational: No
Automated: N/A
Deactivated: 1950
Foundation Materials: Unknown
Construction Materials: Unknown
Tower Shape: Square tower on top of original dwelling
Markings/Pattern: White
Characteristic: Flashing white with red sector
Relationship to Other Structure: Integral
Original Lens: Fourth Order, Fresnel
Fog Signal: Bell, 1 stroke every 15 seconds

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.

Photographs

OLD REEDY ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE; original caption: "OLD REEDY ISLAND LIGHT, DEL. [;] FOURTH NAVAL DISTRICT (PHILA) [;] Taken Jan. 1933 -- R. C. Smith."


REEDY ISLAND RANGE REAR LIGHT

DELAWARE RIVER MOUTH 
Station Established: 1839 
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1910 
Operational? YES 
Automated? YES – mid 1930s
Deactivated: N/A 
Foundation Materials: 9 CONCRETE PIERS 
Construction Materials: CAST IRON 
Tower Shape: SKELETAL 
Markings/Pattern: BLACK 
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPARATE 
Original Lens: FIFTH ORDER RANGE 1910

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Anne Puppa, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Photographs

REEDY ISLAND REAR RANGE LIGHT


REEDY ISLAND RANGE FRONT LIGHT 

Location: N edge of marsh on W bank of Delaware River between mouth of Appoquinimink Blackbird Rivers, 3-1/3 miles S by W 1/8 W from Old Reedy Id. Lighthouse, 2-3/8 mi S by E of Liston Range front light & on S prolongation of axis of 38' dredged channel 
Station Established: 1904
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1904
Operational? 
Automated? 
Deactivated: N/A 
Foundation Materials: Lantern is on dwelling
Construction Materials: CAST IRON 
Tower Shape: Lantern is on dwelling 
Markings/Pattern: Lighthouse is white, lead colored trimmings, brown roof. 
Relationship to Other Structure: Integral
Original Lens: 4th order (Henry LePaute)
Characteristic: fixed white 2 secs eclipse 1 sec.

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Anne Puppa, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Photograph Not Available


SHIP JOHN SHOAL LIGHT

Location: In 8' water on Ship John Shoal, NJ E'ly side of main channel in upper part of Delaware Bay
Station Established: 1877
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1877
Operational? YES
Automated? 1973
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials: Cast iron caisson, which rests on piles protected by riprap (penetration of piles not known)
Construction Materials: Iron - wood lined inside
Tower Shape: no tower - watchroom is polygonal
Height: Height of focal plane above mean high tide is 50’
Markings/Pattern: brown with black lantern
Relationship to Other Structure: Integral
Original Lens: 4th order lens
Characteristic: Fixed white 10 sec, eclipse 5 sec, to W'd of 324 degrees 30' true (NNW 9/16 W mag) & 138 degrees 00' true (SE 1/8 S mag) fixed red 10 sec, eclipse 5 sec, throughout remaining sectors. Red sector to E'd of 324 degrees 30' true (NNW 9/16 W mag) & 138 degrees 00' true (SE 1/8 S mag)
Fog Signal: Yes - Bell struck by machinery, triple blow every 45 seconds. Machinery made by Geo. M. Stevens - Boston Mass. Fog bell is supported on roof of lighthouse just outside of watchroom

Historical Information:

Researched and written by Anne Puppa, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Photographs

SHIP JOHN SHOAL LIGHTHOUSE


Last Modified 11/17/2014