Lighthouses of the United States: Southeastern Pennsylvania
The U.S. state of Pennsylvania has 4 lighthouses, 3 active, on its Lake
Erie shoreline in the northwestern corner of the state. These lighthouses
are described on the Northwestern Pennsylvania page.
Diagonally across the state, at the southeastern corner, the Delaware
River estuary brings ships to the historic port of Philadelphia. There
are no longer any traditional lighthouses on Pennsylvania's portion of the Delaware River, but there
is a former light station in Chester and an interesting example of a privately-built
beacon on the Schuylkill River, a tributary of the Delaware.
Navigational aids in the United States are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases. Delaware River lights are the responsibility of the Coast Guard's Fifth District.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from Volume J of the
Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. USCG numbers are
from Vol. II of the U.S. Coast Guard Light List.
- General Sources
- Historical accounts and excellent photographs from Kraig Anderson at LighthouseFriends.com.
- Online List of Lights - New Jersey and Pennsylvania
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouses of Pennsylvania
- An interesting June 2003 Lighthouse Digest article by Bob
- Lighthouses in Pennsylvania
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
USA auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images of U.S. lighthouses posted by Klaus Huelse.
- NOAA Nautical Chart On-Line Viewer: Mid Atlantic
- Nautical charts for the coast can be viewed online.
- U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center: Light Lists
- The USCG Light List can be downloaded in pdf format.
Turtle Rock Light, Philadelphia, May 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Leena Jaffer
- Philadelphia Lighthouses
- 1887. Generally inactive, but a decorative light is displayed on special
occasions. Approx. 30 ft (9 m) round cylindrical brick tower with hexagonal
lantern and gallery, mounted atop a 1-story wing of a 2-story brick clubhouse.
The tower is unpainted red brick, lantern and gallery painted white. Anderson
has an excellent page with fine photos,
Wikimedia has a 1972 photo, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The lighthouse was originally built by the Fairmount Park Commissioners
to guide steamboat traffic. Restored by members of the Sedgeley Club in 1990.
Located on the north bank of the river at the upstream end of Boathouse Row
(15 Kelly Drive), downstream from the Girard Avenue Bridge (US 30) in Philadelphia.
The Schuylkill River Trail
bikeway also passes the lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager:
Club. ARLHS USA-1088.
River Entrance Range Rear (6?)
- Date unknown (station established 1875). Active; focal plane 64 ft (19.5
m); green light visible only on the range line, 2 s on, 2 s off. 59 ft (18
m) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower. Trabas has a photo, and Google has
view and a distant street view. The front light is on a 33 ft (10 m) skeletal tower. Located on
the east side of the Schuylkill about 0.4 mi (600 m) from the mouth, near the
Philadelphia Navy Yard. Site status unknown. ARLHS USA-1207; Admiralty J1322.1;
- Eagle Point (Horseshoe West Group Lower) Range Rear (2?)
- 1920 (?) (station established 1881). Active; focal plane 50 ft (15 m); continuous green light. Approx. 40 ft (12 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower painted white and mounted on a square 1-story white concrete equipment shelter. Dan Berger's photo is at right, Trabas has a photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. The front light is on a short skeletal tower. The original lighthouse, a tall wood skeletal tower with a 2-story keeper's house, was deactivated in 1920. Located on the west side of the Schuylkill River entrance. Site and tower closed (private property). ARLHS USA-385; Admiralty J1323.1;
Delaware County Lighthouses
(Schooner Ledge) Range Rear (3)
- 2001 (station established 1880). Active; focal plane 110 ft (33.5 m); continuous
green light visible only on the range line. 105 ft (32 m) triangular cylindrical
steel skeletal tower. Trabas has a photo, there is a distant street view from PA 291, and Google has a satellite
view. The 1880 lighthouse, a pyramidal skeletal cast iron tower, was replaced by an automated
skeletal tower in 1918. The 1880 lighthouse was held in storage and then relocated
to Michigan Island, Northern Wisconsin in 1929. The keeper's house
survived until it burned in 1947. Located in a heavy industrial area in Eddystone,
on the Delaware River just west of downtown Chester. Site and tower closed.
Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-741; Admiralty J1315.1; USCG
(Schooner Ledge) Range Front (4?)
- 2001 (station established 1880). Active; focal plane 62 ft (19 m); green
light visible only on the range line, 1 s on, 1 s off. 59 ft (18 m) square
cylindrical steel skeletal tower. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original light was
atop a wooden tower. It was replaced (and apparently demolished) in 1909,
when a change in the channel required a new light on a different location.
Located on the riverfront in a heavy industrial area on the Delaware River
just west of downtown Chester. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager:
U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-169; Admiralty J1315; USCG 2-3230.
Eagle Point Range Rear Light, Philadelphia, March 2018
photo copyright Dan Berger; used by permission
Notable faux lighthouses:
- Hershey (1929), close to the theme park in Hershey, was originally part of a public recreation and swimming facility. The city restored the lighthouse in 2005. Google has a satellite view.
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: East: New Jersey | South: Delaware
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Posted December 9, 2001. Checked and revised June 3, 2018. Lighthouses: 5. Site copyright
2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.