Beacon in the NightFor more than 150 years, the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse guided ships into Delaware Bay on their way to the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia.
The Cape Henlopen Lighthouse had its beginnings in 1761. Philadelphia merchants and ship owners were concerned by the frequent loss of lives, ships, and cargos in the treacherous waters at the mouth of Delaware Bay. They started a lottery to raise funds to build a lighthouse at Cape Henlopen. Later, the Pennsylvania General Assembly authorized a tax on Philadelphia-bound cargos to finance the project. Completed in 1765, the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse stood for 161 years.
Until it closure in 1924, the beacon atop the stone tower was the main navigational guide for this busy waterway. The lighthouse was abandoned after shoreline erosion undermined its foundation. On April 13, 1926, the lighthouse collapsed into the sea.
Things to know about the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse
· The lighthouse was a 69-foot tall whitewashed stone tower standing on a 46-foot high sand hill, one-quarter of a mile from the Atlantic shore.
· It was built of granite brought from Wilmington.
· The base of the tower was 26 feet in diameter.
· The walls were six feet thick at the base, tapering to just over 3 feet at the top.
· Inside, a spiral stairway led to the light.
· The lamps first used whale oil, then mineral oil, and finally, vaporized kerosene.
· Originally a single lamp, by 1840 the light was a cluster of 18 lamps, each backed with a 21-inch reflector. This created very bright light, but it could not cast a beam of light out in any direction, as lighthouses do today.
· After the lighthouse was fitted with a new lens in 1855, its central reflector was surrounded by prisms and glass rings to boost the output of light. This addition made the lighthouses capable of aiming a single column of light in any direction.
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Friday, November 28th, 2014 at 9:03pm PST -08:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||18S E 492471 N 4292058|
|Decimal Degrees||38.77721667, -75.08666667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 38° 46.633', W 75° 5.2'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||38° 46' 37.98" N, 75° 5' 12" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near Post Ln, Lewes DE 19958, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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