Did you know August 7 is National Lighthouse Day? Even though historic lighthouses aren’t as important for marine navigation as they were in the past, they’re still beautiful and important historical buildings.
For thousands of years, lighthouses were the only way to keep boats safe near shore. One of the earliest, and most famous light houses in history was The Lighthouse of Alexandria. It was constructed around 280 B.C. on the island of Pharos. Its purpose was to guide sailors to port, but it was also a monument that represented the city and was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Its height was between 393 and 450 feet tall—the tallest man-made structure on earth for its time. More info…
On August 7, 1789, control of creation and maintenance for lighthouses was centralized to the federal government. National Lighthouse Day grew out of this as a way of celebrating the role that lighthouses have played in American history.
Modern light houses are fully automated and are often placed in areas that are impossible for people to access—such as in the ocean itself. When modern navigation and automated lighthouses took over, historic lighthouses in the United States began to fall out of use. Of course this meant that many fell into disrepair and that no one taking care of them.
Part of the purpose of National Lighthouse Day was to create a solid reminder of the importance of these buildings. Not only their beauty, but their symbolism of safety and security, and to protect them as such.
Many people envision New England when they think of lighthouses, but California has many beautiful lighthouses. Some located as close as Los Angeles or Long Beach! For more information on the lighthouses you can visit in California check out Lighthouse Friends.