Chris J LeBlanc Photography - Lighthouses
- Date Built: Built in 1774; present tower built in 1802 built by Elzy Burroughs
- Type of Structure: White octagonal pyramidal sandstone tower with four large windows providing light to the spiral stone steps that lead to an iron ladder and trap door to the entrance to the lens chamber and a separate Keeper’s house
- Height: 58 feet, height of focal point is 54 feet
- Characteristics: Two red flasher every 12 seconds
- Lens: Eleven oil lantern with eleven fourteen-inch red and green reflector lanterns visible for fourteen miles on a clear day was replaced in 1857 with fourth order Fresnel lens and was automated in 1972
- Foghorn: 1855 a fog bell tower was built with a fog bell, 40 inches in diameter and 36 inches in height and audible for 3 miles was added to the station with an appropriation of $6,000
- Status: Still operational
- Second oldest lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay.
- It is suggested that Indians used wood fires on the point to act as navigational aids for Spanish ships during the 16th Century.
- It is known that in 1775 John Dams received the sum of 20 pound annually for showing a light there.
- During the War of 1812 the British captured the fort and used the lighthouse as an observation post.
- Keeper’s house was built in 1823; in 1891 a new keeper’s dwelling was built to replace the house.
- Lighthouse is owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard; the Keeper’s house is owned and maintained by the U.S. Army and is residence for Fort Monroe’s Command Sergeant Major.
- Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Old Point Comfort Lighthouse marks the entrance to historic Hampton Roads, an important harbor situated at the mouths of the James, Nansemond and Elizabeth Rivers, and stands on ground which has seen many a fort constructed nearby to defend this import waterway. The tower’s present neighbor, the Civil-War era Fort Monroe, was preceded by colonial Fort George, which in turn was probably preceded by an even earlier fortification. A navigational beacon on Old Point Comfort was active as early as 1775 when John Dams, caretaker of the ruins at Fort George, was paid an annual supplement of 20 pounds to tend a light there.
While most east coast lighthouses were damaged, destroyed or at least put out of commission during the Civil War, the tower at Old Point Comfort remained undisturbed during the conflict as Fort Monroe remained under Union control throughout the war. President Lincoln once landed at the wharf to Fort Monroe; he had come to witness the Union troops take Norfolk. The legendary battle of the first ironclads, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia, occurred just offshore in Hampton Roads. Finally at the end of the war Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned in an artillery room behind the light station.
Historic Postcard of the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse from 1918
Chris J LeBlanc Photography - Lighthouses
Providing details and historical information of lighthouse pictures taken during my travels
Bush Point Lighthouse
Bush Point, Washington
© 2012 - Chris J LeBlanc Photographer
Location: Located at Bush Point south of Admiralty Head on Whidbey Island.
Latitude: N 48.03087
Longitude: W 122.60697
Year Constructed: 1933. Active
Tower Height: 20 feet Focal Plane: 25 feet
Square pyramidal concrete tower with gallery, painted white with blue trim; no lantern. The lighthouse replaced a private light installed by the Farmer family.
The passage between Bush Point on Whidbey Island and Marrowstone Island is the narrowest one in North Puget Sound and was first marked by a private light maintained by the Farmer family, early settlers of Bush Point. Each night, the Farmers would hang a kerosene lamp from a wooden gallows to aid mariners. A post light, which employed a tubular-lantern light, was established at Bush Point by the Lighthouse Board on May 10, 1894.
In 1921, the Bureau of Lighthouses requested $46,000 for the establishment of a light and fog signal station at or near Bush Point on Puget Sound, noting the following: This is a low point, and the currents in the vicinity are strong and irregular. Several serious collisions have occurred between Bush Point and Point No Point through inbound and outbound vessels following the shore of Marrowstone Island during foggy weather on account of the echo which can be obtained from it. This aid was petitioned for by the Shipmasters' Association of America during September, 1918, and was considered by that association as the second most important aid required for Puget Sound.
The Bureau repeated its request several times, until $10,000 was allotted in 1930 for an automatic acetylene light at Bush Point. The project was expected to be completed in 1931, but the twenty-foot, pyramidal tower, built of reinforced concrete, was not finished until 1933. Operated by commercial electric power, the semiautomatic light and fog signal were controlled from the residence of a caretaker.
Bush Point Lighthouse Links