5 Fun Facts About Lighthouses


Lighthouses intrigue us. The fact that they sit near the water guiding ships and boats toward land and their unique shape make them fascinating buildings like none other. 

Image Credit:  Emad Victor SHENOUDA

Fact #1 — When Was the Earliest Lighthouse Built?

In the third century BC, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was built on the island of Pharos in Egypt. It stood for 1,500 years, but it was damaged by repeated earthquakes. Some of the lighthouse remains under water, and divers can see it in the waters of Alexandria’s harbor.

The photo shows what this lighthouse may have looked like.

Source:  Wikipedia Lighthouse

Fact #2 — The First Lighthouse Built in the U.S.

The Boston Harbor Lighthouse was built in 1716. It stood 75 feet tall. That original lighthouse no longer stands. When the British withdrew its troops, they blew it up, which destroyed the lighthouse.

The lighthouse that you now see at Boston Harbor was built in 1783. When it was built, it was designed to match the previous lighthouse, but in 1856, it was expanded to 98 feet tall and included a new lantern room that held a 12-sided Fresnel lens.

Source:  Wikipedia Boston Light

Fact #3 — The Statue of Liberty Was a Lighthouse

The statue of liberty used to serve as a lighthouse. When the Statue of Liberty first opened, Lady Liberty served as a beacon to the New York Harbor. The lighthouse caretaker was the U.S. Light-House Board.

Because the lights in the Statue of Liberty were not strong enough, in 1902, she was no longer used for the purpose of guiding ships and boats.

Source:  Hudson Lights

Fact #4 — National Lighthouse Day

National Lighthouse Day is August 7 each year. The first National Lighthouse Day was 1789. This day also celebrates other nautical relics like beacons, public piers, and buoys.

Source:  American Lighthouse Foundation

Fact #5 — Who Maintains Lighthouses?

Each country maintains its own lighthouses:

  • Australia:  Australian Maritime Safety Authority
  • Canada:  Canadian Coast Guard
  • England and Wales:  Trinity House
  • Ireland:  Commissioners of Irish Lights
  • Scotland:  Northern Lighthouse Board
  • United States:  U.S. Coast Guard

Source:  Wikipedia Lighthouse