Assateague Lighthouse is approximately 1/4 mile away from Chincoteague
Island and visitors can drive there from Chincoteague in about 5 minutes.
You can ride a bicycle or walk on the trail that leads
from Chincoteague over to Assateague Island. The trail is maintained
by the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service at Assateague
Island. Visitors to the Maryland side of Assateague can drive to this
area in about an hour. The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is
home of the lighthouse.The original lighthouse was constructed here in 1833 at a
cost of approximately $55,000. In 1860, construction on a taller, more powerfully illuminated brick lighthouse began, but was delayed by the Civil War. After the war, work resumed and the lighthouse was completed in 1867. Assateague's lighthouse has twin rotating lights that flash
one after the other from a height of 154 feet above sea level. The
lights can be seen 19 miles out to sea. The Assateague Lighthouse
stands 142 feet high, its base over 27 feet in diameter.
Assateague Lighthouse is an active navigational aid and is in the National Register
of Historic places. In 1933 the lighthouse was converted to be electrically operated,
and its first light was a candle lantern. The Assateague Lighthouse has warned
passing ships and local waterman of the shallow waters off Assateague for many
years. Approximately 1,182 people traveled through this historic lighthouse at
Assateague Island during Wildlife Refuge Week 2000 and visitors continually visit this special part of Virginia to see the lighthouse.
The National Wildlife Refuge System reached
its 100th Anniversary in 2003. The
National Wildlife Refuge at Assateague is an excellent place for birdwatching and
outdoor activities after you
visit the lighthouse. The Wildlife Refuge provides a great place to learn about history and increase understanding of the ever changing environment. When the Assateague lighthouse was first built, it was on the southern most end of Assateague Island. The land now south of the lighthouse is actually new land, that has grown out about 2 miles since the lighthouse was first built.