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Home > About the Chesapeake > Exploring the Bay > Chesapeake Bay Lighthouses > Lighthouses Today > Cape Henry (Old)
Cape Henry (Old)
Year Built:1792
Description:Cape Henry (Old)Sandstone, 90-foot tower at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. Original optics were 18 Argand lamps with reflectors. Eventually received a 1st order Fresnel lens (later removed). Deactivated in 1881 when cracks developed in the stone walls. Fog bell. The first light built by the U.S. Government, constructed by John McComb, Jr. A National Historic Landmark owned by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. Tower is accessible and open to public.
Type of Structure:Octagonal dark stone tower with iron lantern room (no light now). Iron is now greenish in color though listed as white.
Purpose:Marks the south side of the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay.
Interesting Facts:Lighthouse began as cooperative effort between Maryland and Virginia in 1774, but construction was interrupted by Revolutionary War. Construction problems persisted but finally light was completed in 1792. President George Washington appointed the first Keeper.
Photo(s):Cape Henry (Old)
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