Cape Charles Light Station

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


Cape Charles Light Station was constructed in 1894 on Smith Island in Northampton County, replacing an earlier 1864 structure. The Light Station is positioned on the southern tip of the Delmarva peninsula where it marks the east side of the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. The octagonal pyramidal exoskeleton cast-iron tower stands 191 feet tall and continues to serve the maritime community as a signal beacon today. This height makes it the tallest skeletal tower in the country. The Cape Charles Light Station is topped with a cylindrical room housing the spiral staircase, which gives access to the main service gallery and the lantern room. In addition to the light station, the original brick oil house and brick workshop have been retained on the property. The tower at Cape Charles is exceptionally significant in being the only onshore U.S. first-order, cast-iron, skeletal-type lighthouse tower.  The Cape Charles Light Station was listed in the registers under the Light Stations of the United States Multiple Property Document.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

For additional information Read

Nomination Form


Cape Charles Rosenwald School

Northampton (County)



Northampton (County)



Northampton (County)