NATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE DAY
Observed annually on August 7, National Lighthouse Day honors the beacon of light that for hundreds of years symbolized safety and security for ships and boats at sea. At one time, the beacon of light could be found across almost all of America’s shorelines.
A lighthouse is described as a tower, building or any other type of structure that is designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.
- Mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals, reefs, safe entries to harbors.
- Assist in aerial navigation.
- Have declined due to the expense of maintenance and replacement by modern electronic navigational systems.
- Has a source of light called a “lamp” (may be electric or oil fueled).
- Were originally lit by open fire and then candles.
- Differ depending on the location and purpose but have standard components.
- Has a lantern room which is a glassed-in housing at the top of a lighthouse tower.
- Has a Watch Room or Service Room beneath the lantern room.
- Has an open gallery outside the Watch Room or Lantern Room.
- Development accelerated in the 17th century with Britain’s Trinity House constructing its first in 1609.
- Earliest in North America was in St. Augustine, Florida. Printed on a 1791 map, it had been built by Menendez after his landing in 1586.
- America’s next lighthouse was Boston Light on Little Brewster Island in 1716.
- The oldest existing lighthouse in the United States is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey. Built in 1764, this lighthouse is still in operation.
- At the end of the 19th century, the United States had the most lighthouses of any nation.
- The 9th Act of the first Congress created the US Bureau of Lighthouses in 1789, which placed lighthouses under federal control.
- The United States Coast Guard took over on July 7, 1939.
- Visiting and photographing lighthouses has become a popular hobby as well as collecting ceramic replicas.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Visit a lighthouse if possible. Share your photos of lighthouses and use #NationalLighthouseDay to post on social media.
On August 7, 1789, the United States Congress approved an act for the “establishment and support of Lighthouse, Beacons, Buoys, and Public Piers.” It was two hundred years later that Congress designated August 7 as National Lighthouse Day.
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