Go With a Purpose.
A blog about connecting through places that matter.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Celebrate America’s Historic Lighthouses on National Lighthouse Day

National Lighthouse Day is tomorrow, Aug.7. This year celebrates the 220th anniversary of the signing of an act by Congress that recognizes the great importance of lighthouses to the safety of ships at sea. The 1789 act basically provides that expenses for the building and upkeep of lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers “shall be defrayed out of the treasury of the United States.”

National Lighthouse Day was established in 1988, when Sen. John H. Chafee (R-R.I.) sponsored a joint resolution that designated Aug. 7, 1989, as National Lighthouse Day. The resolution, passed and signed into law in 1988, “calls for lighthouse grounds, where feasible, to be open to the public.”

Many historic lighthouses have fallen into disrepair over the years, and organizations such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Lighthouse Foundation work tirelessly to restore and preserve them for future generations to use and enjoy. Many of these beacons of heritage remain in operation today and are also open to the public, shedding light on the important role they played in U.S. maritime history.

During National Lighthouse Day several lighthouses are holding special events. Here are a few that you may be interested in visiting this weekend to celebrate these towers of American history:

•Take a tour (a haunted moonlight tour) of the St. Augustine Lighthouse in America’s oldest port, St. Augustine, Florida.

•On Aug. 8, take a special guided tour of the Point Cabrillo Light Station near Mendocino, California, for a unique opportunity to visit its lantern room — offered only four times per year.

•Visit the Cape May Lighthouse in Cape May, New Jersey, for free on National Lighthouse Day and enjoy special programs and performances.

•Join the celebration on Aug. 8 at the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse in South Carolina, the last lighthouse to be built in the United States.

Fenwick Island Lighthouse in Fenwick Island, Delaware, will celebrate with extended visiting hours on National Lighthouse Day.

What are your favorite lighthouses? Tell us about it in the comments section below.


Kari Rippetoe is the Marketing Manager at Heritage Travel, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Photo Credit:
Photo of the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse in Fort Story, Virginia by
Carol Highsmith.

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