Lighthouses have guided ships and boats safely to shore since the late 1690’s. If you’ve ever had the privilege of visiting a lighthouse, you’ll understand the sense of serenity and stability they bring to viewers on land — now imagine the hope that would fill a traveler lost as sea upon catching a glimpse of the beacon of light. While lighthouse technology has evolved over the centuries, these structures were once widely used to mark dangerous reefs, shorelines, or harbors. Lighthouses were so pivotal to maritime travel that in 1789, the U.S. Congress passed an act that secured the maintenance and protection of all U.S. lighthouses under federal support. On the 200th anniversary of the act, Senator John H. Chafee of Rhode Island sponsored a resolution to designate August 7 as National Lighthouse Day. On National Lighthouse Day, we celebrate how these scenic, historic establishments have comforted travelers throughout the centuries.
When is National Lighthouse Day 2019?
National Lighthouse Day is celebrated on August 7, 2018.
National Lighthouse Day Activities
1. Visit your local lighthouse
As part of the resolution, National Lighthouse Day calls for lighthouses, when possible, to be open to the public. If you're within driving distance to a coast, today's the day to make a trip to one of these beautiful structures.
2. Help preserve a lighthouse
The American Lighthouse Organization is dedicated to preserving and protecting these historic structures. If you visit a lighthouse, consider making a small donation to its operating organization in order to continue public access.
3. Paint a lighthouse
Lighthouses are beautiful, and they sure make for great artwork. Paint or photograph a lighthouse, and give it to that relative who has a collection of lighthouse postcards.
Why We Love National Lighthouse Day
A. They've been a beacon of light even before electricity
Originally, burning coal or even fires were used as the "lamp" or the source of light in a lighthouse. They evolved to oil-burning lamps, and then finally electric lamps in 1875.
B. The structures have stood the test of time
Located on coasts and cliffs, lighthouses are subject to storms, high winds, and other extreme conditions. Yet, many are still standing strong even today. The oldest operational lighthouse, the Tower of Hercules in Spain, was built in the 2nd century!
C. Lighthouses are beautiful
The cylindrical shape, coupled with the scenery of the surrounding coast or bay, makes lighthouses a popular photography destination. It's no surprise — there's a quiet comfort in seeing a lighthouse standing tall on the edge of the ocean.