National Lighthouse Day

National Lighthouse Day Quick Facts - CA

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2022 DateAugust 7, 2022
2023 DateAugust 7, 2023
National Lighthouse Day

National Lighthouse Day History

National Lighthouse Day commemorates the 1789 act that approved the establishment of lighthouses. Lighthouses are towers that use circulating lights to guide ships safely at sea. They also use fog signals such as horns, bells, or cannons that sound in order to assist boats in avoiding hazards at sea. This observance was created by former Senator of Rhode Island, John Hubbard Chafee in 1988.

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National Lighthouse Day Facts

  • The first lighthouse to be built in the world is believed to be the Pharos of Alexandria. According to howstuffworks, it is thought to have been constructed around 270 B.C in ancient Egypt. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and is believed to have been the tallest structure on the planet at the time, 450 feet (137.16 meters) tall.
  • The oldest and still functioning lighthouse in the world is the Tower of Hercules. It was built by the Romans in northern Spain during the 1st century A.D.
  • The US Congress passed an act in 1789 that provided for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and public piers. By 1900 the US had built more than 1,000 lighthouses. National Lighthouse Day was established in 1989 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of this act. It was also the day of the first federally commissioned lighthouse. National Lighthouse Day would again be recognized in 2013 but only as an unofficial holiday.
  • The US National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 detailed a process in which the coast guard can transfer decommissioned lighthouses to nonprofit groups and other organizations. This method allows the history and aesthetics of lighthouses in the US to be preserved. If no organizations claim the lighthouse, it goes up for auction to the public.

National Lighthouse Day Top Events and Things to Do

  • Visit a lighthouse. Some of the most notable are the Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, Massachusetts, and the Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. Another notable lighthouse is the St. George Reef in Crescent City, California. It is one of the most expensive lighthouses ever built in the US ($700,000).
  • Watch a special edition video from the US Lighthouse Society. The video looks at Congress' act of 1789 which established lighthouses. It also celebrates National Lighthouse Day.
  • Watch a movie about lighthouses and the struggles that come from maintaining one. Here are our suggestions:
    The Lighthouse (2019)
    The Vanishing (2018)
    The Light Between Oceans (2016)

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