Scenic USA - Delaware

Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse

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Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse - Lewes, Delaware

Photo by Marty Straub
Marty Straub Photography

     No Longer suitable for larger Navy ships, Cape Henlopen's harbor breakwater was extended another 8000 feet into the Atlantic. This new safe harbor was appropriately named the National Harbor of Refuge. Marked with temporary navigational lights in 1902, a permanent lighthouse was built in 1908. Storms and a wayward ship took their toll on the lighthouse, calling for a replacement in 1926. The stout, cast-iron tower was soon to be tested, taking on a gale in 1929. Subsequent storms and a hurricane shook the tower, smashed its second story windows and flooded the lighthouse.
     The Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse survives to this day and continues to operated. The lighthouse was updated with a Vega VRB-25, a back-up lantern, and a FA 1232 fog signal, all operating on solar power. In April, 2002, the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation took on the task of managing the structure. A regular schedule of summer tours make their way out to the offshore lighthouse. The lighthouse received a major renovation in 1999, and the breakwater is now slated for stabilization and repair. The harbor of Refuge Lighthouse is one of two breakwater lights at Cape Henlopen State Park, with the Delaware Breakwater Lighthouse just offshore.

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