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New Cape Henry Lighthouse

Fort Story, Virginia

New Cape Henry Lighthouse

Light Location: Fort Story, Virginia Beach, Virginia

First Built: 1879-1881

First Lit: 1881

Built By: BUILT BY

Current Tower Construction & Facts:

  • Year Built: 1879-1881
  • Tower Height: 164 feet
  • Focal Plane: 164 feet
  • Material: Cast iron plated inner and outer walls with a brick lining
  • Shape: Octagonal
  • Markings: Two rows of alternating vertical black and white stripes
  • Optic: First order Fresnel Lens installed early 1880s
    • Originally lit by oil lamps and reflectors
    • Now lit by Fresnel and 1000 watt 80,000 candlepower bulb
  • Characteristic: 20 second flashing
  • Electricity: 1923
  • Automated: 1984
  • Visibility: 15-19 miles due to bright city lights that overpower it

Fog Signal Facts:

  • Steam siren signal
  • Diaphone fog signal

Currently Owned By: US Coast Guard

Currently Managed By: US Coast Guard

Accessibility: Not open to the public, can be seen from the street and from Old Cape Henry lighthouse.

Special Facts:

  • Used as a radio beacon for the US Coast Guard
  • Is a ground site for the Global Positioning System
  • Is a harbor control tower for the Virginia Pilots Association and the Association of Maryland Pilots
  • Built because the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse was deemed dangerously unstable due to large cracks in its faces.

Other Buildings:

  • First assistant keepers quarters
  • Second assistant keepers quarters
  • Oil house

Involvement in Wars:

  • World War II - used as a battery commander's station with two 16-inch howitzers


  • Jay Edwards - 1st keeper


  1. Comeau, Lisa. "Cape Henry Lighthouse" [Online] Available, March 3, 2005.

  2. DeWire, Elinor. "Cape Henry Lighthouse" [Online] Available, March 3, 2005.

  3. Payette, Phil. "Cape Henry Lighthouse" [Online] Available, February 28, 2005.

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