Lighthouse Information

What are some interesting facts about lighthouses?

  • First Lighthouse - Boston, MA (1716)

  • Oldest Lighthouse in Service - Sandy Hook, NJ (1764)
  • Newest Shoreside Lighthouse - Charleston, SC (1962)
  • Tallest Lighthouse - Cape Hatteras, NC (191 ft)
  • Highest Lighthouse (above sea level) - Cape Mendocino, CA (515 ft)
  • First American-built West Coast Lighthouse - Alcatraz Lighthouse (1854)
  • First lighthouse to use electricity - Statue of Liberty (1886)
  • First Great Lakes lighthouses - Buffalo, NY & Erie, PA (1818)
  • Most expensive lighthouse (adjusted cost) - St. George¹s Reef, CA (1891)

Glossary of Lighthouse Terms

  • ARGAND LAMP A hollow wick oil lamp. (see wick)

  • AEROBEACON A modern-day type of light presently used in many lighthouses to 
    produce a characteristic.

  • ASTRAGAL Metal bar (running vertically or diagonally) dividing the lantern room 
    glass into sections.

  • BULLSEYE A convex lens used to concentrate (refract) light.
  • CHARACTERISTIC Individual flashing pattern of each light.
  • DAYMARK Unique color scheme and/or pattern that identifies a specific lighthouse 
    during daylight hours.

  • FIXED LIGHT A steady non-flashing beam.
  • FOG SIGNAL A device (such as a whistle, bell, canon, horn, siren, etc.) which provides 
    a specific loud noise as an aid to navigation in dense fog.

  • FRESNEL LENS A type of optic consisting of a convex lens and many prisms of glass 
    which focus and intensify the light through reflection and refraction.
  • FUEL A material that is burned to produce light (fuels used for lighthouses included 
    wood, lard, whale oil, tallow, kerosene.) Today, besides electricity and acetylene gas, 
    solar power is also used.

  • GALLERY On a lighthouse tower, a platform or walkway or BALCONY located outside 
    the watchroom (main gallery) and/or lantern room (lantern gallery.)

  • KEEPER The person who takes care of the light in the lighthouse. (The Head Keeper is 
    responsible for the operation of a light station.) 

  • LAMP The lighting apparatus inside a lens.

  • LANTERN ROOM Glassed-in housing at the top of a lighthouse tower containing the lamp and lens.

  • LENS A curved piece of glass for bringing together or spreading rays of light passing through it.

  • LIGHTHOUSE A lighted beacon of major importance in navigation.

  • LIGHT STATION A complex containing the lighthouse tower and all of the outbuildings, i.e. 
    the keeper¹s living quarters, fuelhouse, boathouse, fog-signaling building, etc.

  • LOG A book for maintaining records, similar to a diary.

  • NAVIGATION Travel over water.

  • ORDER Size of the Fresnel lens which determines the brightness and distance
    the light will travel.

  • PARABOLIC A bowl-like metal device, silver plated, REFLECTOR with a small
    oil lamp in the center.

  • PHAROLOGIST One who studies or is interested in lighthouses.

  • PRISM A transparent piece of glass that refracts or disperses light.

  • REFLECT Bend or throw back light.

  • REFRACT Bend or slant rays of light.

  • REVOLVING LIGHT One that produces a flash or characteristic.

  • SPIDER LAMP Shallow brass pan containing oil and several solid wicks.

  • STAG LIGHT A lighthouse with no family living in it, i.e. inhabited by men only.

  • TOWER Structure supporting the lantern room of the lighthouse.

  • WATCH ROOM A room immediately below the lantern room or SERVICE ROOM where
    fuel and other supplies were kept where the keeper prepared the lanterns for
    the night and often stood watch. The clockworks (for rotating lenses) were
    also located there.

  • WICK SOLID - A solid cord used in spider lamps that draws fuel up to the
    flame by capillary action.

  • HOLLOW - A concentric cotton wick used in Argand and other lamps.

  • "WICKIE" A nickname given to lighthouse keepers derived from the task of
    trimming the wick of the lamps.

Lighthouses You Can Stay In

Here is a list of lighthouses you can actually stay in. We do not know any of the owners. This is a 
complimentary list and in no way is an endorsement nor do we certify the accuracy of the information. 
BECAUSE it could change at any time. WE SUGGESTED YOU CALL AHEAD. If the phone number 
has changed try writing for information *(remember to call information. as many area codes have recently 
changed). Remember chances are the lighthouse has not moved. Keep in mind advance reservations 
are almost always a must. Hint:
you can also call the area Chamber or State for new phone numbers.

  • Amelia Island replica- Amelia Island, FL 904-261-5878 (few miles from original)

  • Big Bay Point- Big Bay, MI 906-345-9957
    Jeff & Linda Gamble, Keepers, #3 Lighthouse Road , Big Bay, MI 49808 , (906) 345-9957

  • Chesapeake Bay Light bed and breakfast- Annapolis, MD 410-757-0248 (replica of Thomas Point)

  • East Brother Light- Richmond, CA 510-233-2385
    117 Park Place , Point Richmond, CA 95801, (510) 233-2385 

  • Fargo Blanca Marine Resort- Marathon , FL 305-743-9018 (private navigation aid)

  • Pigeon Point Lighthouse- Pescadaro, CA 415-879-0633
    Pigeon Point Road/Hwy 1, Pescadero, CA 94060, (650) 879-0633

  • Point Arena- Point Arena, CA 707-882-2777
    Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers, Inc, PO Box 11 , Point Arena, CA 95468, Voice (707) 882-2777, Fax (707) 882-2609 

  • Point Montara Lighthouse- Montara CA 415-728-7177
    16th Street/Hwy 1, Montara, CA 94037 , (415)728-7177

  • Popham Beach bed & breakfast-HC 31 Box 430 Popham Beach Phippsburg, ME 04562, Popham Beach US Coast Guard Station Phippsburg Maine

  • Rose Island- Newport, RI 401-847-4242
    Charlotte Johnson, Executive Director, Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation, PO Box 1419 , Newport, RI 02840-1419, (401) 847-4242 

  • Sands Hill- Ahmeek, MI PO BOX 414 Ahmeek, MI 49901
    Keeper Bill Frabotta, 5 Mile Point Road , P.O. Box 414 , Ahmeek, MI, 49901-0414, (906) 337-1744

  • Saugerties Light- Saugerties, NY 914-247-0656
    Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy, PO Box 634 , Saugerties, NY, 12477-0634, (914) 246-4380 

  • Selkirk Light- Pulaski, NY 315-298-6688, 6 Lake Road Extension, P.O. Box 228 , Pulaski, NY 13142-0228, Tel. 315-298-6688, 6699, FAX 315-298-6685 
    Internet e-mail to:

  • Smithfield Light- Smithfield VA 804-874-7700
    Lighthouse Valleyview Bed & Breakfast Inn A unique country inn with spectacular views from the Lighthouse

  • The Keepers House- Isle au Haut, ME 207-367-2261
    Jeff & Judi Burke, The Keeper's House, PO Box 26, Isle Au Haut, ME 04645, (207) 367-2261 

  • The Lighthouse Inn- West Dennis, MA 508-398-2244 (1850 Bass River Light)

  • Tibbetts Point- Cape Vincent, NY 315-654-3450
    Tibbetts Point Lighthouse, RR 1 Po Box 330, Cape Vincent, NY 13618, May 13 thru September 15, (313) 654-3430 

  • West Point Light- Prince Edward Island CON IVO Canada 902-859-3605, 902-859-3117, Carol Livingstone, Manager, O'Leary RR2, Prince Edward Island, Canada C0B 1V0, 1 - (800) 764-6854, (902) 859-3605 June to September, (902) 839-3117 September to May, Fax (902) 859-3117

  • New Dungeness Lighthouse
    PO Box 1283, Sequim, WA 98382-1283, (360) 693-9166 

  • Bass River
    One Lighthouse Inn Road, Box 128, West Dennis, MA 02670, (508) 398-2244 

  • Cape Ann
    Thacher Island Association
    P.O. Box 36, Rockport, MA 01966, (508) 546-2326 - After May 1, and after 6:00 PM

  • Monomoy Point Lighthouse
    The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
    PO Box 1710, 869 Route 6A, Brewster, MA 02631, (508) 896-3867 

  • Rose Island
    Charlotte Johnson, Executive Director, Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation, PO Box 1419, Newport, RI 02840-1419
    (401) 847-4242, Lighthouse Valleyview Bed & Breakfast Inn A unique country inn with spectacular views from the Lighthouse

  • Lakehouse Bed and Breakfast with Lighthouse Views