Skip to main content

10 things we didn't know about lighthouses

By Henry Hanks and Katie Hawkins-Gaar, CNN
updated 2:23 PM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
Lighthouse photography is a pastime for many people, as we learned when we asked for lighthouses on CNN iReport. We quickly received well over 150 submissions of photos from around the world. This one from <a href='http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-805523'>Tony Alex</a> shows Portland Head Light in Maine, and it's something of the classic lighthouse shot. Click through the gallery to see our other top picks. Lighthouse photography is a pastime for many people, as we learned when we asked for lighthouses on CNN iReport. We quickly received well over 150 submissions of photos from around the world. This one from Tony Alex shows Portland Head Light in Maine, and it's something of the classic lighthouse shot. Click through the gallery to see our other top picks.
HIDE CAPTION
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
The lure of lighthouses
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In the U.S., August 7 is National Lighthouse Day
  • There are more lighthouses in the U.S. than any other country
  • iReporter Deb Della Reese: "It's amazing ... how important their singular purpose remains!"
  • Share your best lighthouse photos with CNN iReport

(CNN) -- In honor of National Lighthouse Day, we invited you to share your best lighthouse photos with CNN iReport. As dozens of images started pouring in, we were reminded of a near-universal fact: People love lighthouses. The beacons of light are popular travel destinations across the world.

Here are 10 other lesser-known lighthouse facts:

1. The first lighthouse was Egypt's Pharos of Alexandria, built in the third century BC. The lighthouse of Alexandria was made from a fire on a platform to signal the port entrance.

2. The United States is home to more lighthouses than any other country.

3. The first keeper in America, George Worthylake, met an untimely death: He drowned, along with his wife and daughter, when returning to the Little Brewster Island lighthouse in 1718.

4. With more than 115 lighthouses along the Great Lakes, Michigan boasts the most lighthouses of any U.S. state.

5. Many enthusiasts yearn to experience the life of a lighthouse keeper. Ohio woman Sheila Consaul paid $71,010 for Lake Erie's Fairport Harbor West Breakwall Lighthouse in 2011 and has been fixing it up ever since. If you're not looking to buy, there are lots of opportunities to stay in a lighthouse for a night or two.

6. The world's oldest existing lighthouse is considered to be Tower of Hercules, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that marks the entrance of Spain's La Coruña harbor. The lighthouse, which was erected in the first century, is still operational.

7. The most expensive lighthouse built in America is St. George Reef, near Crescent City, California. It took 10 years to construct and cost $715,000.

8. Lighthouse keeping was one of the first U.S. government jobs available to women, going back to the 19th century.

9. Despite advances in technology, lighthouses are still considered aids to navigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.

10. Towers are given different colors and patterns -- diamonds, spirals and stripes, for example -- to distinguish them from each other.

Got any lighthouse trivia? Share your tidbits in the comments below and upload your best shots to CNN iReport.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Can you feel the change of seasons in the air?
updated 5:54 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
"I was immersed in green. Everything was green. And the air -- the air was crisp and clean and just seemed to have more oxygen in it."
updated 7:17 AM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014
With a little patience and the right equipment, beautiful underwater photos can be captured anywhere.
updated 1:40 PM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
Travel around the world and see the wild, majestic, and impossibly cute.
updated 9:33 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Each day we choose a great reader photo to showcase. Check them out and share your best shots.
updated 11:53 AM EST, Wed February 12, 2014
Are abandoned buildings urban blight or historic relics? Photographers love them, in either case.
updated 2:09 PM EST, Sat February 22, 2014
They're almost unbelievable. Impossible blues, electric greens, depths as clear as glass -- all bathed in blinding sunshine.
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
In the 1930s, neon was everywhere in America. Today is a very different story.
updated 9:56 AM EDT, Wed April 9, 2014
Kenji Croman has broken bones, dislocated his shoulder and elbow, endured concussions and nearly drowned several times.
updated 12:00 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
The lush Emerald Isle is easy on the eyes.
updated 2:55 PM EDT, Wed May 28, 2014
What will the cities of tomorrow look like?
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
Travelers share their favorite national parks outside the United States.
updated 3:38 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Jason Hullinger, a computer security architect in Los Angeles, went to Joshua Tree National Park in December to catch the Geminid meteor shower.
CNN iReporters from across the globe share their incredible images of the skies above us.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Photographers, architecture aficionados and book lovers share their most favorite libraries.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
It's the land of Pope John Paul II, Frederic Chopin and really good cheese. Click through your 25 favorite things about Poland.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT