August 7th

National Lighthouse Day -

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Every year on August 7th, we celebrate National Lighthouse Day. This day is designated to acknowledge the significant role that these maritime symbols have executed across history. It’s a day where we appreciate the safety and direction provided to sailors and their vessels over the years by these tall structures. The day also offers an opportunity to marvel at the architectural prowess involved in creating these towering marvels.

From guiding seafarers on their path to symbolising picturesque landmarks, lighthouses have forever captivated history buffs and maritime enthusiasts. Hence, National Lighthouse Day is a tribute to their lasting importance.

History of National Lighthouse Day

The genesis of National Lighthouse Day can be traced back to 1789 when the US Congress approved an act to create and support lighthouses, buoys, beacons, and public piers. This was the first time such an act was sanctioned under the Constitution. On the same day, the US Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, was appointed to supervise these operations. Over time, the architecture, lighting equipment, and fuel types of lighthouses have seen considerable evolutions.

Lighthouses developed into essential navigational aids in the 19th and early 20th centuries, guiding sailors away from dangers and towards safe ports. They were often placed in the most isolated and perilous locations, symbolizing their role as providers of security and guidance in challenging situations.

Although, in the modern era, technological advancements have led to a decline in their use, lighthouses still stand tall as historical monuments and continue to be significant in marine safety.

The concept of designating a day to honor these structures came from the United States Lighthouse Society, a society committed to preserving the lighthouse heritage in the US. On the bicentenary of the Lighthouse Act in 1989, Congress passed a resolution to declare August 7th as National Lighthouse Day.

Presently, this day is celebrated with numerous events organized at lighthouses and by lighthouse preservation societies nationwide. These typically include guided tours, voluntary clean-up drives, and other educational activities, aiming to enlighten the public about the rich history and enduring importance of lighthouses.

National Lighthouse Day Timeline

Pharos of Alexandria

One of the most famous lighthouses in the ancient world, the Pharos of Alexandria was built around 280 BC in ancient Egypt.

Tower of Hercules

The Ancient Romans were among the first to build large lighthouse structures, including the Tower of Hercules in Spain.

First Lighthouse in America

The first lighthouse in America was built in Boston, Massachusetts. It was known as Boston Light.

United States Establishes Federal Control Over Lighthouses

The U.S. Congress passed an act for the establishment and support of lighthouse, beacons, buoys, and public piers.

Eddystone Lighthouse

The fourth lighthouse was built on the Eddystone rocks in England. It showcased the pinnacle of stone lighthouse design.

Congress Designates National Lighthouse Day

The Congress passes a resolution designating August 7th as National Lighthouse Day.

Ideas to Celebrate National Lighthouse Day

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Visit a Local Lighthouse

Look online for your nearest lighthouse and arrange a visit. Some lighthouses are open for tours, where you can learn more about their history, purpose, and engineering. This provides a unique and educational outing.

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Create Lighthouse Crafts

Get crafty by making your own lighthouse using materials like paper, small jars or even Lego. This can be a fun and educational activity for kids.

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Lighthouse Photo Contest

Organize a photo contest among your friends or community. Encourage participants to visit nearby lighthouses and capture them in their best light. The winner could receive a prize related to photography or lighthouses.

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Donate to a Lighthouse Preservation Group

Consider making a donation to a local or national lighthouse preservation group. Many of these organizations are non-profits relying on the generosity of individuals to maintain and restore these iconic landmarks.

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Watch a Lighthouse Documentary or Movie

Spend the day learning more about lighthouses by watching documentaries or movies like 'The Lighthouse', 'The Light Between Oceans', or the documentary 'Lighthouses of New England'.

8 Interesting Facts About Lighthouses


Oldest Operating Lighthouse: Hook Lighthouse

Located in County Wexford, Ireland, Hook Lighthouse is considered to be the oldest operating lighthouse in the world, dating back to the 13th century.


Tallest Lighthouse

The Île Vierge Lighthouse in France is the tallest lighthouse in the world, standing at 271 feet (83 m). It is made of stone (granite) and was built in 1902.


First U.S. Lighthouse: Boston Light

Built in 1716 on Little Brewster Island, the Boston Light was the first lighthouse erected in the United States. Despite being destroyed during the American Revolutionary War, it was rebuilt in 1783 and still operates to this day.


Automated Lighthouses

The majority of lighthouses today are automated, meaning they no longer need a permanent lighthouse keeper to operate. The transition began in the 20th century with advancements in technology.


Most Expensive Lighthouse

Located off the coast of California, St. George Reef Lighthouse is considered the most expensive lighthouse ever built in the U.S., costing over $700,000 in the 1880s.


Lighthouse with Fresnel Lens: First Order Fresnel Lens

The first order Fresnel lens is the largest type of Fresnel lens used in lighthouses. The lens itself is a remarkable piece of engineering, enabling the light to be seen from greater distances.


Floating Lighthouse: Lightships

Before the advent of modern navigation technology, floating lighthouses known as lightships were used to warn ships of dangerous waters. These vessels were equipped with bright lights hoisted on masts.


Long Reach of Lighthouse Beams: Visibility Range

The light beams from lighthouses can reach distances of up to 27 miles (43 kilometers), depending on the height of the tower and the size of the lens used.

National Lighthouse Day FAQs

Next National Lighthouse Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 August 7th Monday
2024 August 7th Wednesday
2025 August 7th Thursday
2026 August 7th Friday
2027 August 7th Saturday
What is the pattern? Every August 7th

National Lighthouse Day Word Search

  • Lighthouse
  • Beacon
  • Coast
  • Navigation
  • Signal
  • Maritime