The Cape Henlopen Lighthouse

The Cape Henlopen Lighthouse (HM1I24)

Location: Lewes, DE 19958 Sussex County
Buy Delaware State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 38° 46.633', W 75° 5.2'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites

Beacon in the Night

For more than 150 years, the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse guided ships into Delaware Bay on their way to the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia.

The Cape Henlopen Lighthouse had its beginnings in 1761. Philadelphia merchants and ship owners were concerned by the frequent loss of lives, ships, and cargos in the treacherous waters at the mouth of Delaware Bay. They started a lottery to raise funds to build a lighthouse at Cape Henlopen. Later, the Pennsylvania General Assembly authorized a tax on Philadelphia-bound cargos to finance the project. Completed in 1765, the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse stood for 161 years.

Until it closure in 1924, the beacon atop the stone tower was the main navigational guide for this busy waterway. The lighthouse was abandoned after shoreline erosion undermined its foundation. On April 13, 1926, the lighthouse collapsed into the sea.

Things to know about the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse

· The lighthouse was a 69-foot tall whitewashed stone tower standing on a 46-foot high sand hill, one-quarter of a mile from the Atlantic shore.
· It was built of granite brought from Wilmington.
· The base of the tower was 26 feet in diameter.
· The walls were six feet thick at the base, tapering to just over 3 feet at the top.
· Inside, a spiral stairway led to the light.
· The lamps first used whale oil, then mineral oil, and finally, vaporized kerosene.
· Originally a single lamp, by 1840 the light was a cluster of 18 lamps, each backed with a 21-inch reflector. This created very bright light, but it could not cast a beam of light out in any direction, as lighthouses do today.
· After the lighthouse was fitted with a new lens in 1855, its central reflector was surrounded by prisms and glass rings to boost the output of light. This addition made the lighthouses capable of aiming a single column of light in any direction.

HM NumberHM1I24
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, November 28th, 2014 at 9:03pm PST -08:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 492471 N 4292058
Decimal Degrees38.77721667, -75.08666667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 46.633', W 75° 5.2'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 46' 37.98" N, 75° 5' 12" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)302
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Post Ln, Lewes DE 19958, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  10. This marker needs at least one picture.
  11. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  12. Is the marker in the median?