August 7th National Lighthouse Day

Thought most lighthouses have been retired today, these buildings once guided ships to ports and kept them safe from shallows and reefs. The signal light high above the ground had to be kept lit by the keepers that often lived isolated from the rest of the world on small islands or on the coasts where towns could not be built. By an act of Congress, the operation of lighthouses on, or near, American soil was taken over by the government on August 7th, 1789. There are numerous stories that go along with these structures now, haunting and stories of heroes and, of course, all those stairs to climb.

How to celebrate – Visit one of the many lighthouse’s in the US. Read about the history of the lighthouse. Climb to the top of a lighthouse and then imagine this is what a keeper had to do several times a day.

August 7th National Lighthouse Day

August 7th National Lighthouse Day

This is an official holiday decreed by Congress when they established the lighthouse service on August 7th, 1789. Though lighthouses are not in use today nearly as much as they were a century ago, their importance can never be denied. Most have become museums, some are tourist attractions but all have saved lives at one time or another.  The buildings themselves are monuments to the men and women who served them, keeping their beacons lit. it is impossible to know how many ships have been saved over the years by the guiding lights through fair weather and foul.

How to celebrate – Visit one of the coastal lighthouses. Imagine life as a lighthouse attendant. Read about the history of lighthouses.

August 7th National Lighthouse Day

Here in the United States the U.S. Congress took over the operations of all lighthouses on August 7th, 1789. Once operated by the Federal Government the lighthouses became standardized here in America and were literally lifesavers for those at sea. they normally mark where the ocean meets the land, or lake if that is the case, and mark tremulous areas that Captains of ships need to watch out for.

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Originally these lighthouses had to manned since the signal sent out was either a torch or lantern that had to be lit and watched over all night long. Many lighthouses had living quarters in the actual tower while others had houses connected to them where the lighthouse keeper could live.

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During the day light hours the lighthouse was useful as a beacon for navigation, at night they were a necessity for  mariners. As the years past and electricity replaced the torch or lantern, the lighthouse keeper became scarce since they were no longer required to light them, or watch them for fires.

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So today the lighthouse has become more of a museum to the past when they were required. With the invention of radar and GPS, most are not even lit anymore. They serve as wonder platforms for observation of the area, most having beautiful views of the surrounding area.

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How to celebrate – Visit a local lighthouse today. Stand in the middle of a very dark area and see if you can tell where the water and land meet.  Start your own miniature lighthouse collection.

August 7th National Lighthouse Day

August 7th National Lighthouse Day

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Over the years, it’s hard to imagine how many lives these beacons of light have saved. Built to warn of dangerous coast lines, hazardous shoals, and designate safe entry points to harbors, these lighthouses guide ships, and now planes, to safety.

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The first known lighthouse in America was in St. Augustine, built in 1586. The United States formed the US Bureau of Lighthouses in 1789, eventually giving over control to the Coast Guard.

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How to celebrate – Visit a lighthouse near you, Most lighthouses had caretakers that kept the light lit, study the history of those heroes of the seas. Build your own mini-lighthouse in your yard.