This very first federally funded lighthouse was constructed in 1772 on the Atlantic shoreline near Fort Story. Very near to the ‘first landing spot’ of English settlers in 1607, the still standing sentinel brick lighthouse is a shining beacon in the sea of American history.
Located on the army base of Fort Story, George Washington commissioned this lighthouse in 1772 and it has since lived on to provide a century of guiding light to merchant and government boats travelling through the Chesapeake to larger ports such as Norfolk, Baltimore, and Washington. After being condemned as unusable for cracks in the wall and lantern oil soaked steps, a new Cape Henry Lighthouse was built across from it, this time made of iron. Still in commission today by the U.S. Coast Guard, this lighthouse is private, but a great view of it can be seen from the windows of the original lighthouse.
Views of the army base, the forest on which it sits, and the beautiful Virginia Beach oceanfront are all accessible from this well preserved piece of history, as well as an educational opportunity that dates back to America’s roots.