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Wolf Trap Light

Off Wolf Trap Spit, south of the Rappahannock River, VA, cir. 1894
Wolf Trap Light This location apparently gained its name when Her Majesties 350 ton ship Wolfe ran aground on the shoals there in 1691. Beginning in 1821 light ships were stationed at the shoals and these, in turn, were replaced by a screwpile lighthouse in 1870. That lighthouse was destroyed by ice in 1893. The current structure was built the following year and the fourth order lens, visible 11 miles, was lit in September 1894. The lighthouse gained its distinctive red coat of paint in either the late 1920s or early 30s. Since it was used as a radio calibration station, it remained manned until 1971, which in part accounts for its excellent condition. In 2005 it was put up for auction under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act and purchased by a private citizen. It changed hands again in 2007 and a new roof was installed. The US Coast Guard still maintains the lamp as an active aid to navigation.


Location: 3723'24" N, 7611'24" W
Date Built: Commissioned 1856
Type of Structure: Caisson with octagonal brick dwelling / tower
Height: 52 feet
Characteristics: Flashing white light
Foghorn: Yes
Appropriation: $70,000
Range: 14 miles
Status: Standing, but Decommissioned
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