Featured Image Credit:Wikimedia Commons
By Eva Gruber
Relics of a by-gone era, lighthouse used to be crucial to sea-going mariners to warn them of impending land that might wreck their ship. Before the era of satellites and GPS, these lone towers stood like sentinels on rugged, wind-swept rocks around the world. Today, very few (if any) new lighthouses are being built, but we have hundreds around the world still standing as a testament to the passage of time. Many now stand as historical landmarks, visited by tourists and marveled at by people of all ages. Here are some of the most magnificent lighthouses on the planet.
Situated on a lone rock spire off the coast of the port city of Andros, this picturesque lighthouse was built in 1897. Sadly, it was destroyed during World War II – but! In 1996 a wealthy oil tycoon had it rebuilt to its former glory.
Portland Head Light, Maine
A classically-picturesque lighthouse constructed on a peninsula of ocean-swept rocks, this is one of the oldest lighthouses in America. Built in 1791, it is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. It was first built to give nearby landowners an early warning system for incoming raids-by-sea, which were becoming more common at that time. A house for the lighthouse keeper was constructed behind the lighthouse a century later, and it now operates as a maritime museum within Fort Williams Park. There are many more beautiful lighthouses in the great state of Maine, which is also known as the Lighthouse State.
Peggys Point Lighthouse, Canada
One of the most famous lighthouses in Canada, this lighthouse was first lit in 1915. It replaced an older, ramshackle wooden lighthouse which became converted to the lighthouse keeper’s dwelling. It was automated in 1958. It even used to house a Canadian Post Office which was active during the summer, but was closed in 1999 due to concerns from prolific mold growth.
Tower of Hercules, Spain
Built by the Roman Empire, this is the oldest lighthouse in the world, having been constructed sometime in the second century! It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and still functions to this day.
White Shoal Light, Michigan
This lighthouse is famous for a couple of reasons: it is the only lighthouse in the US that is painted like a “barber pole” (in red and white vertical stripes). It is also the only aluminum-topped lighthouse in the Great Lakes region. It was considered to be an engineering marvel when it was built, as the platform on which it stands was built in the water. To visit the lighthouse, tourists need to take a seaplane or boat. One of Michigan’s special license plates was used to fund its renovation and conservation.
Farallon Light, California
It might not be the prettiest in this list, but it is the oldest lighthouse on the west coast, having been built in 1855. It marks the Farallon Islands, a series of small granite islands jutting out of the Pacific seemingly out of nowhere, all within distance of San Francisco (on a clear day). It is automated now, but still lights up to this day.
Bodie Lighthouse, North Carolina
Often outshined by its cousin on Cape Hatteras, this 156-foot light was renovated just last year and is a must-see. In fact, a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to see the multitude of lighthouses is a pilgrimage everyone should undertake!