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Name: Cape Henry Light (old)  

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Nearest Town or City:
Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States

Location: Entrance to Chesapeake Bay

Click to enlarge: Photo   
Photo: Larry Nohe
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Managing Organization:
Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities

Telephone: 757-422-9421


This was the first lighthouse to be authorized and built by the federal government. It is one of the best preserved towers of the 18th century and is a National Historic Landmark.

Tower Height: 90

Description of Tower: Octagonal sandstone tower with brick lining.

This light is not operational

Date Established: 1792

Date Present Tower Built: 1792

Date Deactivated: 1881

Optics: 1857: First order Fresnel lens.

Fog Signal: 1857: Fog bell.

Current Use: Historic landmark.

Open To Public? Yes.

This lighthouse is located within Fort Story, off Route 60, in Virginia Beach. The lighthouse is open to the public April 1 through October 31 every day. There is a small admission fee. Bill Edwards reports on 9/1/02: "I was there just a few weeks ago... For both the old & new Cape Henry Light you must go through two security checkpoints upon entering the Ft. Story Base. It only took 5-10 minutes; they will ask for ID (driver's license for adults; nothing was asked for the minors), run a check on the ID's as well as you car's license plates; where are you going/what is you reason for entering (going to the lighthouse was sufficient for us); & they will run the mirror under your car, checking for items that shouldn't be there. It was NOT a major hassle, the guards/soldiers were polite & professional." Ava Boczko-Pan writes in October 2002: "I was surprised to find MP's at Cape Story in Virginia Beach, but after some ID check we were welcomed onto the site and freely drove all over the base and photograph not only the lighthouses but even the military vehicles and such. It was tough to get both lights in without any modern light poles or wires - but it was well worth it to see and photograph them."

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

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