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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

065-0071 The Cape Charles Light Station

The Cape Charles Light Station
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

NPS property number 03000569

The Cape Charles Light Station was constructed in 1894 on Smith Island to replace an earlier 1864 structure. The octagonal pyramidal exoskeleton cast-iron light station 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 tower 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. The tower at Cape Charles is exceptionally significant in being the only onshore U.S. first-order, cast-iron, skeletal-type lighthouse tower.


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

Updated April 4, 2018