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What is a lighthouse?

A lighthouse is loosely defined as a tower or other structure used to display a light for the guidance of ships to either avoid a dangerous area (shoals, etc.) or to identify a safe harbor.

Random Lighthouse Photo
The lighthouse from the rocks.Port Dalhousie Front Range Lighthouse
The lighthouse from the rocks.
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What draws people to lighthouses?

There are many factors that draw people to lighthouses. Some like the remoteness, some like the scenic locations, and others like the romance associated with lighthouses. Perhaps some are drawn to the symbolism – a helpful light reaching out in the darkness. Others might like the idea of service – helping others. There are too many reasons to list.

I think the first time I came across a lighthouse, I was around 5 years old. I was watching Pete’s Dragon and remember how cool it was seeing the lighthouse and Pete climbing the tower. I watched that movie every time it was on TV.

At some point I forgot about the movie, but then, shortly after moving to North Carolina in 1997, I came across Bodie Island on a trip to the Outer Banks. Soon thereafter, I made an effort to visit most of the lighthouses in North Carolina.

After that, my wife and I started making trips to neighboring states, visiting lighthouses in Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia. After moving back to New York in 1999, we started visiting lights in and around New York, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even Ontario.

Why are a bunch of lighthouses missing from this site?

A lot of people e-mail me asking why I am missing certain lighthouses. It's not that I don't like them or anything like that. I just haven’t had an opportunity to visit and photograph it yet.

Although we have visited several hundred lighthouses over the years, and others have contributed pictures of many more, I haven’t visited every lighthouse in the United States. And I probably never will. This website is a hobby, not a job. Every expense for this site, comes out of my own pocket. So when I occasionally travel, I try to visit as many lighthouses as I can.

With that, I hope you enjoy this website. I am continually updating it, trying to make it more user friendly, update the histories of the lighthouses, and including new pictures.

Website News!

What's new in the last 30 days.

July 26, 2017

Oneida Lake, the largest body of water located entirely within the boundaries of New York State, is marked by three identical lighthouses. At the extreme western end of Oneida Lake stands the Brewerton Rear Range Lighthouse, marking the entrance to the Oneida River. Read the history of the Brewerton Rear Range Lighthouse now.

July 15, 2017

When Light Vessel Number 50, also known as the Columbia River Lightship, was towed to its location five miles west of the mouth of the Columbia River in 1892, it became the first lightship to serve on the West Coast. WLV-604 was the final Columbia Lightship, serving from 1951 to 1979. Read the history of the Columbia River Lightship now.

July 10, 2017

The construction of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse in Oregon was probably one of the most difficult and dangerous engineering projects ever attempted in the late 1800s. The story of its construction is truly one of man versus nature. The workers had to endure hurricane force winds and massive waves threatening to sweep them in the raging Pacific Ocean. From reading the story, it's easy to see why Tillamook Rock was nicknamed "Terrible Tilly." Read the history of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse now.

July 5, 2017

Oregon's rugged Pacific Coast has many unique features, none more so than Cape Blanco, Oregon's westernmost point. Atop the 200-foot-tall chalky-white cliff stands the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. Read the history of the Cape Blanco Lighthouse now.

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All photographs and information on this site is copyright © 2016 Bryan Penberthy unless otherwise specified. No content may be used without written permission. Any questions or comments, please email me.