National Lighthouse Day
National Lighthouse Day is a holiday celebrated on August 7th every year and has been observed for over 231 years. This day allows people to honor the light source that has safely guided countless ships to shore.
The lighthouse is a tower with a bright light source on top, used as a signal beacon for over two thousand years and in North America since 1716. However, it was on this day in 1789 that the U.S. Congress officially approved the act that allowed for the construction and maintenance of lighthouses along the United States coastline.
The History of National Lighthouse Day
Although the first lighthouse in colonial America was officially built in 1716, it wasn’t until the United States became an independent nation and passed the Lighthouse Act of 1789 that their construction, maintenance, and upkeep were codified into law.
This act enabled the United States to establish a network of lighthouses that significantly improved the safety of trade along the coastline and on rivers, inlets, and harbors. It was such a significant act that two hundred years later, on August 7th, 1989, the U.S. Congress officially designated this date as National Lighthouse Day.
Interesting Facts About Lighthouses
While some may view lighthouses as simply elegant towers with lights, their historical significance is well-documented. Not only were they crucial, but they were also fascinating structures. Here are some interesting facts about lighthouses that we hope will encourage more people to appreciate these magnificent constructions.
The First Lighthouse Was The Lighthouse Of Alexandria
The first known lighthouse ever created was the Pharos of Alexandria—also known as the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Constructed by Ptolemy I and his son Ptolemy II between 300 and 280 B.C., this lighthouse stood 450 feet tall and was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It suffered damage from three successive earthquakes between 956 and 1323 and eventually became an abandoned ruin. Its remnants were later used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay on the same site.
The Oldest Lighthouse Still Standing Is In Spain
The oldest lighthouse still in existence is La Coruña in Spain. Built by the Romans in 20 B.C., it is known as the Tower of Hercules or Torre de Hercules in Spanish and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009.
Celebrating National Lighthouse Day
The best way to celebrate National Lighthouse Day is by visiting some of the lighthouses that are still operational. In the U.S., you can find lighthouses such as Boon Island Light, Sakonnet Light, New London Harbor Light, and Whipple Point Light.
It’s also an excellent opportunity to learn more about lighthouses by watching a documentary or reading a book on the topic. And if you capture a great photo of a lighthouse on this day, consider sharing it on social media using the hashtag #NationalLighthouseDay.