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
- The number of lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance. Modern electric navigational systems are replacing them.
- Their light source is called a lamp (either electric or oil-fueled).
- Originally lit by an open fire and then candles.
- Differ depending on the location and purpose but have standard components
- The lantern room is a glassed-in housing at the top of a lighthouse tower
- Beneath the lantern room is the Watch Room or Service Room
- Next to the Watch room is an open gallery.
- Development accelerated in the 17th century with Britain’s Trinity House constructing its first in 1609.
- In North America, St. Augustine, Florida built the first lighthouse. Printed on a 1791 map, it had been built by Menendez after his landing in 1586.
- Boston Light built on little Brewster Island next 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.
- Hobbyists enjoy visiting and photographing lighthouses. They also collect ceramic replicas.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalLighthouseDay
Tour lighthouses near you. Take a road trip. With lighthouses on every coast and the great lakes, one or more is surely worth the trip! Share your photos of lighthouses and use #NationalLighthouseDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE DAY HISTORY
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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