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Home > About the Chesapeake > Exploring the Bay > Chesapeake Bay Lighthouses > Lighthouses Today > Cape Charles
Cape Charles
Year Built:1895 (Current)
Description:Cape CharlesA series of three lighted navigation aids have been located on Smiths Island, north side of the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. Original tower (1828) was destroyed by Confederate Army during the Civil war; brick tower built in 1864 was undermined by severe shore erosion. The current octagonal, 191-foot skeleton tower was erected in 1895 and equipped with a first order Fresnel lens. Separate keeper’s cottage was lost in a fire in 2000. Still operational; automated 1963. Owned by Coast Guard (Coast Guard Group Hampton Roads). Eligible for listing on National Register of Historic Places
Type of Structure:Cast-Iron octagonal skeleton tower. Upper half is black, lower half is white.
Purpose:Marks the north side of the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay
Interesting Facts:The original first order lens is on display at the Mariners' Museum in Newport News. Tallest skeleton tower in the United States.
Photo(s):Cape Charles
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