Lighthouses in the state of Virginia as identified by the United States Coast Guard. There are nine active lights in the state as well as three automated caissons and eleven skeleton towers replacing previously manned lights.
The first lighthouse in the state was erected in 1792 (the first Cape Henry Light) and it is the oldest surviving structure; the last, Chesapeake Light, was built in 1965 (ignoring automated towers erected later). The tallest extant tower is that at Cape Charles Light.
If not otherwise noted, focal height and coordinates are taken from the United States Coast Guard Light List, while location and dates of activation, automation, and deactivation are taken from the United States Coast Guard Historical information site for lighthouses. Locations of demolished lights have been estimated using National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) navigational charts.
Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations of Virginia (Images of America)
Created as navigational tools, lighthouses are of interest to more than mariners; the ruggedly romantic nature of the beacons delights and enthralls thousand of admirers. Lights along the Virginia coast are no exception, from the richly historic Old Cape Henry Light, authorized by President George Washington in 1789, to the candy-striped Assateague Light on the state’s Eastern Shore. Of equal interest are the tales of the men of the United States Life-Saving Service, the forerunner of today’s Coast Guard. Spaced along the shore, they aided navigation by responding selflessly to ships in distress, often at their own peril. Many of their quaint, beach cottage–style stations are lost, others preserved.