National Lighthouse Day

August 7th is national lighthouse day

An act for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers was approved on August 7th, 1789 by Congress.  On the 200th anniversary of the acts’ signing. National Lighthouse Day was established, August 7, 1989 by Congress.

In 1926 the Cape Henlopen lighthouse, located on what is now known as the great dune, collapsed into the ocean. There are some houses today around Lewes that still have fireplaces and hearths made of the bricks, collected by people after the collapse. Building materials at the time were expensive, this was one way to get free bricks.

Sometimes we find pieces of old bricks washed up on the beaches after storms. I like to think they are a part of the old lighthouse. I have a few I use for paperweights. Now we surf fish below the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse’s old location on naval crossing beach.

cape henlopen lighthouse, great dune, point of capes, the point, delaware surf fishing, hagley museum, fort miles, cape henlopen state park, naval crossing
Hagley Museum … Cape Henlopen Light from our digital archives. These were taken as part of an aerial survey in 1925, a year after it was shuttered. The lighthouse collapsed into the sea in 1926 after its sandy foundation eroded away.

An Act for the Establishment and support of Lighthouse, Beacons, Buoys, and Public Piers …

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all expenses which shall accrue from and after the fifteenth day of August one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, in the necessary support, maintenance and repairs of all lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers erected, placed, or sunk before the passing of this act, at the entrance of, or within any bay, inlet, harbor, or port of the United States, for rendering the navigation thereof easy and safe, shall be defrayed out of the treasury of the United States: Provided nevertheless, That none of the said expenses shall continue to be so defrayed by the United States, after the expiration of one year from the day aforesaid, unless such lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers, shall in the mean time be ceded to and vested in the United States, by the state or states respectively in which the same may be, together with the lands and tenements thereunto belonging, and together with the jurisdiction of the same.

cape henlopen lighthouse, great dune, point of capes, the point, delaware surf fishing, hagley museum, fort miles, cape henlopen state park, naval crossing
Hagley Museum … Cape Henlopen Light from our digital archives. These were taken as part of an aerial survey in 1925, a year after it was shuttered. The lighthouse collapsed into the sea in 1926 after its sandy foundation eroded away.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That a lighthouse shall be erected near the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay, at such place, when ceded to the United States in manner aforesaid, as the President of the United States shall direct.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to provide by contracts, which shall be approved by the President of the United States, for building a lighthouse near the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay, and for rebuilding when necessary, and keeping in good repair, the lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and public piers in the several States, and for furnishing the same with all necessary supplies; and also to agree for the salaries, wages, or hire of the person or persons appointed by the President, for the superintendence and care of the same.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That all pilots in the bays, inlets, rivers, harbors and ports of the United States, shall continue to be regulated in conformity with the existing laws of the States respectively wherein such pilots may be, or with such laws as the States may respectively hereafter enact for the purpose, until further legislative provision shall be made by Congress.  
Approved: August 7, 1789

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Read more about National Lighthouse day by the American Lighthouse Foundation

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