1. The first known lighthouse was the Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt. Ptolemy I and his son Ptolemy II constructed it between 300 and 280 B.C. It stood about 450 feet high. This lighthouse was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was destroyed in stages by invaders and earthquakes, being destroyed in the 1300s.
  2. The oldest existing lighthouse in the world is considered to be La Coruna in Spain that dates from ca. 20 B.C. A Roman lighthouse is located on the Cliffs of Dover in the UK that was constructed in 40 A.D.
  3. The first lighthouse in America was at Boston on Little Brewster Island (1716). The first keeper was George Worthylake who was drowned, along with his wife and daughter, when returning to the island in 1718. The original tower was destroyed by the British and eventually reconstructed in 1784.
  4. The oldest existing lighthouse in America (never rebuilt) is Sandy Hook, NJ (1764), which is still in operation. Part of the building of the lighthouse was paid for by the sale of lottery tickets and shipping interest in New York City paid for the rest.
  5. The first lighthouse built completely by the federal government was the Montauk Point Lighthouse in Montauk Point, NY in 1797.
  6. The newest lighthouse in America is the Shoreside Lighthouse on Sullivan Island in Charleston, South Carolina. It was built in 1962 and had the only elevator in a lighthouse.
  7. The Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes, being fully erected in 1822.
  8. The Charleston Light in Sullivan's Island, SC is one of the few lighthouses with a triangular shape. Its slim, triangular structure was built to withstand winds of 125 miles per hour.
  9. The number of lighthouses in the United States when it was founded in 1776 was only 12.
  10. Lighthouse keeping was one of the first U.S. government jobs available to women in the 19th century.
  11. The Egg Rock Light in Frenchman Bay is one of coastal Maine's architecturally unique lighthouses, with a square tower set right in the center of the keeper's house.
  12. The Portland Head Light is the most photographed lighthouse in America, and the oldest in Maine.
  13. The Block Island North Light was erected in 1829. After years of neglect, the lighthouse, along with two acres of land, was sold to New Shoreham in 1984 for $1 USD.
  14. The most expensive lighthouse built in America is the St. George Reef Lighthouse, off Crescent City, CA. It took ten years to construct (1882 - 1892) and cost $715,000.00. The Coast Guard abandoned it in 1972.
  15. The source of the light is called the "optic" (be it electric or fueled by oil); the magnification of the light is caused by the "lens." This is located in the "lantern" of the tower, and the windows are called storm panes.
  16. the first fog signal in America was at the Boston Lighthouse, and it was a cannon. Other fog signals have been whistles, sirens, reed trumpets, bells, diaphone horns and diaphragm horns.
  17. A valid concern of those who live in towns with lighthouses is the bright light keeping the town awake at night. To prevent this, often times a lighthouse will have a "shield" on the window panes facing the town, to ensure the light only shines to the sea and does not bother the inhabitants.
  18. The most powerful lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere is the Sullivan Island Light in Charleston, SC. It originally had 28 million candelas (candlepower) but the light was actually too dazzling and the power was lowered to 1.2 million candelas. It could still be seen from over 26 nautical miles (48 km; 30 mi) away
  19. Any given lighthouse usually had anywhere from one to five keepers manning the light stations.
  20. Keepers were paid a lower middle class wage. George Worthylake, the first keeper, received 50£ ($250) a year. By today's standards that would be the equivalent of $16,000. During the 19th century, the head keepers' pay ranged from $250 to $600; others were paid less. The exception to this was in the west, where keepers were paid $1,000 during the Gold Rush.
  21. The most powerful optics can produce a light seen from 25 miles at sea, although aircraft have reported "picking up" a light at 40 or 50 miles due to reflections off clouds.
  22. All lighthouses in the United States are automated, but because the Boston Light is the oldest station in the United States, Congress has declared that this lighthouse always be a staffed station. Boston Light is the only official lighthouse with a keeper. However, there are many other light stations around the United States that have people living at them, although they are not keepers.