National Lighthouse Day is celebrated every year on August 7. Lighthouses are a symbol of safety, and this day celebrates the guiding light they have provided for centuries from our shorelines.
Lighthouses are structures that give off light from a system of lamps and lenses that are used to navigate those at sea or on inland waterways. According to the Lighthouse Directory, there are more than 18,600 lighthouses worldwide.
On August 7, 1789, the Federal Government recognized the importance of lighthouses in guiding ships at sea and took over the building and operating of the nation’s lighthouses. Legislation allowed the government control over the construction and maintenance of lighthouses.
Two hundred years later, Congress officially recognized August 7t as National Lighthouse Day.
While advances in technology have moved ahead of the lighthouse, these lovely light towers still stand as a universal symbol of safety and are still considered aids in navigation. About seventy-five percent of the lighthouses in the U.S. are still in operation. Lighthouses in Britain are now fully automated and monitored by a few central offices. Germany now keeps its lighthouses as historical buildings. Making trips to visit lighthouses, photographing them and collecting replicas of them has become a popular hobby among many.
Interesting Facts About Lighthouses:
- They were originally lit by open fire, then candles, then lanterns and electric lights.
- The first lighthouse was Egypt’s Pharos of Alexandria, built in the third century BC. The lighthouse of Alexandria was made from a fire on a platform to signal the port entrance.
- The earliest lighthouse in North America was in St. Augustine, Florida.
- The oldest existing lighthouse in the U.S. is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey. It was built in 1764.
- By the end of the 19th century, the United States had more lighthouses than any other nation.
- Michigan has the most lighthouses of any U.S. state with 115.
- Lighthouse keeping was one of the first U.S. government jobs available to women.
- Lighthouse towers are given different colors and patterns like diamonds and stripes to distinguish them from each other.
- Lighthouses located close to each other have different flash patterns.
Ways to celebrate National Lighthouse Day:
- Visit a lighthouse.
- Read a book on lighthouses. (Some suggestions? The United States Lighthouse Society offers several recommendations including books by Elinor De Wire. The LightKeepers’ Menagerie: Stories of Animals at Lighthouses has me particularly intrigued!)
- Learn more about local preservation of lighthouses.
- Share your photos of your favorite lighthouse or one you’ve visited with us.
Here at DutchCrafters, we’ve always had a lot of love for lighthouses. CEO Jim Miller enjoys time on his boat with family and friends and has a fondness for all things nautical.
Our series of lighthouses are made from wood or poly (recycled plastic). We offer many replicas of lighthouses that stand along the shores in the U.S. They are custom made in Amish country, and you can add the lighting and color options you’re looking for to go best with your outdoor decor.
Orders come in for lighthouses that are used as outdoor décor, many with special meaning for our customers who have a fondness for them and who have visited some.
Here are two special stories from DutchCrafters customers Sharon B. and Jan B.
I was so surprised that my father said he received the lighthouse yesterday. He secretly set it up in their backyard last night so when my mom opened the shades in the morning, she would see it. He videotaped her opening up the curtains this morning to see the brand-new lighthouse, and she was crying with joy. She loves it. Tonight, she will get to see how the solar lighting feature works. She can’t really walk outside for a closer look, but she sits at the table and looks out the window all day long. Tell the wood crafters we all appreciate the great job they did in making the lighthouse and shipping it so carefully.
Sharon B. from IN
We are Mel and Jan from Cocoa, FL known also as meljanventures – we both are artists and love lighthouses and the ocean! The lighthouse we purchased from you is perfect to greet our friends, neighbors and sometimes students coming to paint at our house. We recently painted our house and we sit on a lake, so the lighthouse is perfect on our “sand dune” at the front of our house. We have always loved lighthouses, visit them everywhere, and even got to stay at one in California. So, every time we go in and out of our house, your lighthouse helps us bring back wonderful memories. Also, the great solar light makes it shine for us at night! This is especially important because Mel has Alzheimer’s/dementia now and any memory he can bring back helps him! So, thank you for a beautiful and excellently constructed lighthouse that we hope for many years will bring us wonderful memories and at the same time, help Mel~~~ God bless you and all that work there!
Jan and Mel B from FL
The United States Lighthouse Society, devoted to restoring America’s lighthouses and preserving their history is a fantastic site to explore all things lighthouse. Facts, resources, history and ways you can help as a fellow lighthouse follower are all offered on their site, as well as a library of lighthouse books and poems. I thought I’d close with this one by Dick C Carey, Solomons, MD.
Ode to a Lighthouse Dick C. Carey, Solomons, MD.
I salute you, valiant lady
For you have known no peers
You have been a faithful servant
Thru all these many years.
When on the storm tossed waters
In Darkest noon or black of night
Just to spy, your winking eye
Was a satisfying sight.
And tho retired, you’re still admired
But time and tide don’t wait
For these same admiring people
But I, for one, stand by you
Whatever be your plight,
I sound the call, to one and all
We must save “Drum Point Light.”
(Drum Point Light is a lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. It’s a screw pile lighthouse, or a lighthouse that stands on piles that are screwed into sandy or muddy sea or river bottoms.)
We would love to hear about lighthouses you visited or how you use them as décor. Please share with us in the comments below and Happy National Lighthouse Day!