Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Visit to the Cape Henry Lighthouses

Someone told me that I had to go visit the Cape Henry Lighthouse.  I was actually planning to go see it anyway but that kind of confirmed it.
 Cape Henry is located at the southern part of the entrance to Chesapeake Bay.   Like many harbor entrances, it is dangerous and it is important to alert ships to that presence.  As such it was the first lighthouse authorized by the new US Government in 1792.  It was also the first construction process authorized under the Constitution.
Despite being the first authorized by the Government, it is the third oldest lighthouse in the United States.  The other two were built under colonial administration.  It was built from sandstone and designed by John McComb, Jr.  The lighthouse was damaged in 1863 by Confederate forces but later repaired by Union Forces.
 The first lighthouse was replaced in 1881 after the first lighthouse was damaged by a lightning strike.  This one was built out of cast and wrought iron.  It is also equipped with a more powered first order fresnel lens.
 The tower is 157 feet tall.
 The old tower is 90 feet tall but it stands on a hill.
 In 1983, the new lighthouse was fully automated and is still used today.
 You can go up into the old lighthouse and it makes for a fantastic view.  Both lights were designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
You get a pretty good view of the tower from the old tower.
 I saw this ship the night before, but I don't remember her name.
 I'll have to say that this makes for some pretty cool views.
 One more shot of the other tower from the old tower.
 If you go down the road a couple blocks from the lighthouses, there is a little park you can stop at.  In that park is a statue of Admiral de Grasse.  He was in charge of the French fleet that defeated the British fleet that was going to resupply the British Army at Yorktown.  This enabled General Washington to defeat Cornwallis there.  General Cornwallis refused to surrender to Washington, so he sent an aide.  Washington offended by the slight, sent his aide to accept the surrender.
 A monument depicting the battle.
 This is also near the spot where James Smith first landed on the shores of Virginia.
 Another shot of the new tower.
 Both towers.
 Cape Henry is on the property of the Joint Expeditionary Base and this is a tower to control operations there.
 A helicopter passed by.
 Another shot of the new tower.
 I'm not sure what kind of vehicle this is.
One more shot of the old tower.

If you want to visit these lighthouses, you have to actually get a pass to get on the base.  This will involve a few questions and a search of your vehicle but it is worth it.

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