For centuries, lighthouses have been the guiding light that have helped weary travelers find the way home. Standing steadfast at the edge of turbulent waters, these lighthouses have been a beacon of hope since ancient times. The US coastline is dotted with more than 1000 lighthouses – starting with the Boston Light in 1716, which still sits on a rocky island 10 miles out in the Boston Harbor.

These lighthouses were instrumental in building the nation – the colonies built lighthouses along the coast to make navigating their shores safer for maritime sailors. They also played an important role during the Revolutionary Wars, as a result of which in 1789, The First Federal Congress passed the Lighthouse Act which was the nation’s first public works program. The US Lighthouse Board, established in 1847, was the second agency of the US Federal Government. The list below shows lighthouses from Maine to Michigan.

These lighthouses became the guiding light which guided the settlers to new lands across the vast expanse of this nation’s coastlines and lake shores.

The Hook Lighthouse in Ireland as been guiding sailors for over 800 years.

The oldest working lighthouse in the world is the Hook Lighthouse which was built around 1210. It was built by the monks who had lived in a monastery there since the 5th century, and had a practice of lighting a warning beacon at Hook Head. This tradition of warning sailors and fishermen continued for centuries until a lighthouse was built around 1210.  

St. Augustine Lighthouse: the oldest lighthouse in Florida

The 1868 Lighthouse Board Report included this statement, “Nothing indicates the liberality, prosperity or intelligence of a nation more clearly than the facilities which it affords for the safe approach of the mariner to its shores.” With these lighthouses that dotted the coastline, the United States has always kept the light on at night, making sure its people find their way home safely.