The earliest "lighthouses" around the world were merely bonfires on beaches or cliffs.
The first recorded lighthouse was first lit in Alexandria in 285 B.C.
In America, the first lighthouse was Boston Light. Prior to the construction and lighting of Boston Light, the beacons that were used were just lanterns on poles. One of the earliest was a beacon at Point Allerton in Hull in 1673.1
D'Entremont, Jeremy. "Boston Light History" [Online] Available http://www.lighthouse.cc/boston/history.html, February 18, 2005.
PBS. "Legendary Lighthouses" [Online] Available http://www.pbs.org/legendarylighthouses/index.html, March 3, 2005.