Old and New Cape Henry Lighthouses, Virginia Beach, Virginia
My Facebook friend, Florence 'Flo' Womacks, shared this photograph of the old and 'new' Cape Henry Lighthouses in Virginia Beach, Virginia. They mark the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay.
We have a painting of these lighthouses in our family room and this image reminds me of my walks on the beach when we lived on the Virginia Beach oceanfront for 18 years.
The first work of the new U.S. Federal government, the first Cape Henry lighthouse was built of Aquia and Rappahannock sandstone by John McComb, Jr. and was completed in October, 1792. McComb was one of the architects involved in the construction of New York City Hall and would design other lighthouses. The lighthouse's design was based on the 1767 Cape Henlopen Light. The lighthouse was damaged by Confederate forces during the American Civil War, but was repaired by Union forces in 1863, who depended on the light for navigation. In the 1870s, concerns about the condition and safety of the old Lighthouse at Cape Henry following a lightning strike that caused large cracks in the structure led to the construction of a new, taller, lighthouse at Cape Henry (pictured to the right) in 1881, which stands 350 feet to the northeast of the original tower. The old tower remained standing, used as a daymark and as a basis for triangulation. The lighthouse was fully automated in 1983 and remains in use today.
In 1798, Benjamin Latrobe visited Cape Henry Lighthouse and described it as "an octangular truncated pyramid of eight sides, rising 90 feet to the light..." The Old Cape Henry Lighthouse is 26 feet in diameter at its base, and 16 feet at its top. It was built with Aquia Creek sandstone from the same source as the White House.
Photograph by Florence 'Flo' Womacks
Old and New Cape Henry Lighthouses, Fort Story, Virginia Beach, Virginia USA
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs
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