As we enter the summer season, I thought it might be fun to share some lighthouse trivia with you.
What are lighthouses made of? Brick, iron, and reinforced concrete are the most common construction materials.
How many lighthouses are in America? The best estimate is between 660 – 680.
Do all states have lighthouses? No, only thirty-seven states have them.
Which state has the most lighthouses? Michigan has the most with more than 120 lighthouses!
Why don’t all lighthouses look alike? Lighthouses were built differently according to their purposes, such as being a harbor light or a range light. They may be short or tall, round or octagonal or Texas tower style. For example, a lighthouse on top of a cliff does not have to be as tall as a harbor light that is on an island or beach. They are built using different materials depending on where they are located, which determines what conditions they must endure and what type of lighthouse is most needed. They are painted different designs to make them easily identifiable as daymarkers. They can be differentiated at night by their light patterns, such as a white light seen every fifteen seconds or flashing every seven seconds.
Where is the tallest lighthouse in America? That would be North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Cape Hatteras is 193 feet tall.
Which lighthouse is the brightest? The last lighthouse built in America was Oak Island Lighthouse. For that reason, technology was available to create the most powerful beacon. Oak Island Lighthouse shines 14 million candlepower, which means it can be seen almost twenty-five miles out to sea!
Are all lighthouses automated nowadays? No, there is one lighthouse that still has a keeper. Boston Light on Little Brewster Island (pictured here) is still manned, although it is more for nostalgia and tourism than necessity.
So as you head to the coast on summer vacation, you will surely see one or two lighthouses. Be sure to take a little time to appreciate them, perhaps even climb to the top. Not only do they chronicle our maritime history, but they serve as architectural and engineering monuments. Many were manmade–no heavy machinery was used. Some were built in perilous locations, upon high cliffs or on remote islands. All are reminders of a bygone era, yet they remain, having survived erosion, hurricanes, earthquakes, and more.
For more information about lighthouses, visit www.us-lighthouses.com.