Assateague Island Lighthouse

Assateague Island lighthouse is a familiar landmark to visitors and residents of Chincoteague and Assateague Islands in Virginia. The Lighthouse was originally built in 1833 to a height of 5 feet. Major reconstruction occurred in 1867, raising the structure to 142 feet high on a site 22 feet about sea level. The lighthouse was located near the southern tip of the island upon its initial construction but is now several miles away from the southern tip of Assateague.

The structure is one of the most attractive and recognizable lighthouses of the USA east coast. It is constructed of brick and was painted in the red and white pattern in 1968. The first keeper’s house built in 1867 and remodeled in 1892 included 3- 6 room apartments for the keeper and 2 assistant keepers. It was sold in 1934 and removed from the property. Another keeper’s house was built in 1910 for the 3rd assistant keeper and still remains on the island. The light has had a series of lamp upgrades over the years and presently displays (2) 1000 watt rotating beams that are visible up to 19 miles away. The Oyster and Maritime Museum in Chincoteague has the frensel lens on display which was used in the lighthouse from 1867-1961.

Ownership of the structure was transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004. The Chincoteague Natural History Association now maintains the structure although the lighthouse is still actively used by the United States Coast Guard as an aid to navigation. The keeper's quarters remains as well and houses refuge employees at times.

The Chincoteague Natural History Association provides tours and other fundraising efforts. The oil shed at the base of the lighthouse provides an excellent setting for cultural and artist's events throughout the season. Among the local artists that display work in the oil shed is Ron Hugo, whose website entitled Images By Nature, displays local art including photographs of Chincoteague and Assateague Island Virginia.

Historicial information for this article was contributed by Myrna Cherrix of Chincoteague Island Virginia.

For more images of the lighthouse, see our Assateague Lighthouse Gallery.


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Submitted by: cin