Another chapter in Delaware lighthouse history was etched on September 30, 2004, as the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation (DRBLHF) took ownership of Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse from the U.S. Department of Interior under the provisions of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. Harbor of Refuge Light became the 19th lighthouse transferred in the country by the Department of Interior since U.S. Congress passed the Act in 2000.
“Thank God we have groups like the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation to take on this enormous responsibility,” said Dan Smith of the National Park Service. Like other groups that have taken over these
lighthouses, the DRBLHF has shown its
commitment to preserving and maintaining this structure. But what is really outstanding in their proposal is what they have already done with education – it’s absolutely marvelous that school groups have already been out to the lighthouse and that is continuing. That’s what really made this application step forward.”
The Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse transfer was the climactic event to what was the State of Delaware’s most historic celebration of its lighthouse heritage in the modern automation age. Another highlight of the ceremony included Chief Warrant Officer Sean McGarigal of U.S. Coast Guard Group Atlantic City and members of Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Captain May
presenting the DRBLHF with the “key” to Harbor of Refuge. Other aspects of the four-part ceremony included the formal announcement of a new partnership between the DRBLHF and the Delaware River & Bay Authority, who operates the Cape May-Lewes Ferry to preserve the Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse and open the historic beacon to the public in 2005. In addition, State Senator Gary Simpson dedicated a
historic marker for Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse and State Representative Joseph Booth dedicated a similar historic marker for Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse.
· Located in Lewes Harbor, Delaware Bay, Delaware
· Established 1902
· Current Tower built in 1926
· Automated in 1973
This story appeared in the
November 2004 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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