Lighthouses of the United States Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands of the United States is a former Danish colony, the Danish West Indies, purchased by the United States from Denmark in 1917. The territory includes three principal islands, St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, plus a large number of islets and cays. The population is about 110,000.

Shortly before the change in sovereignty Denmark built two lighthouses in the colony. These two lights are among the most endangered of all U.S. lighthouses today.

The U.S. installed a third light at Fort Louise Augusta near Christiansted, St. Croix, and the photo below by Shawn and Kris McCourt proves that this lighthouse still stands (special thanks to Shawn's father, George McCourt, for sending this photo).

A fourth light was at Muhlenfeldt Point, the southeastern entrance to the harbor of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Nothing remains of this light station.

Special note: St. Thomas and St. John were devastated by Hurricane Irma in September 2017, and St. John suffered heavy damage from Hurricane Maria only a few days later. Structural damage was widespread on all of the islands.

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 Volume III of the U.S. Coast Guard Light List, and U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Virgin Islands West and East
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Lights of St. Thomas and St. John are on the West page and lights of St. Croix are on the East page.
World of Lighthouses - U.S. Virgin Islands
Photos by various photographers available from
Lighthouses in the Caribbean
Aerial photos posted by
Leuchttürme Mittelamerikas und der Karibik auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.
NOAA Chart 25641 - Virgin Islands
Navigation chart for the islands.
U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center: Light Lists
The USCG Light List can be downloaded in pdf format.

Buck Island Light, St. Thomas, August 2011
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by pirata_cofresi

St. Thomas Lighthouses
Savana Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 300 ft (91 m); white flash every 4 s. Described by USCG only as a "white tower," no tower height given. Google's indistinct satellite view appears to show a square skeletal tower perhaps as much as 65 ft (20 m) tall. Savana is an rugged island about 1 mi (1.6 km ) long and about 3 miles (5 km) off the eastern tip of St. Thomas. Located nearVirgin Point, the southwestern tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty J5610; USCG 3-31690; NGA 14604.
Buck Island (1)
1913. Inactive since the mid 1990s. 25 ft (8 m) square steel tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small service room. The lighthouse was painted white and the lantern black, although nearly all the paint has weathered off the rusty building. A photo is at the top of this page, Jeff Johnson has a 2009 closeup photo, Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo, a 2007 view from the sea is available, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse was built by the Danish government shortly before the islands became a U.S. territory in 1917. Critically endangered, the lighthouse was added to the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List in April 2004. Located at the highest point of Buck Island, about 3 mi (5 km) south of St. Thomas. The island has been a wildlife refuge since 1969. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Site manager: Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge. ARLHS VIR-002.
Buck Island (2)
1990s. Active; focal plane 139 ft (42 m); white flash every 4 s. Approx. 40 ft (12 m) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower. A photo is at the top of this page, Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo and a 2007 view from the sea is available. Located adjacent to the historic lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J5628; USCG 3-32565; NGA 14632.

St. Croix Lighthouses
Hams Bluff (1)
1915. Inactive since about 2010. Approx. 35 ft (10.5 m) cast iron tower. Two 1-story concrete keeper's houses are now owned by the U.S. Navy. A photo is at right, Aaron Paden has a 2009 photo, has an aerial photo, a distant view is available, the Coast Guard also has a historic photo, and Google has a 2016 street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse was built by the Danish government shortly before the islands became a U.S. territory in 1917. Critically endangered by lack of maintenance, the lighthouse was added to the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List in April 2004. The Coast Guard Historian site says the lighthouse was deactivated in the mid 1990s, but Stanley Sneed has a 2007 photo showing the lighthouse still in service. Located on the northwestern coast of St. Croix, marking the approach to the harbor of Fredericksted. Site open, tower closed (although land access was previously closed to the public, it appears from Google's street views that the lighthouse is now accessible by hiking the service road from the end of Hams Bluff Road). Site manager: U.S. Navy. ARLHS VIR-001.
Hams Bluff (2)
2010 (?). Active; focal plane 394 ft (120 m); two white flashes, separated by 10 s, every 30 s. Approx. 30 ft (9 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower. The new tower is behind the old one in the photo at right. Located adjacent to the historic lighthouse. Admiralty J5640; USCG 3-32845; NGA 14656.

Hams Bluff Light, St. Croix, March 2014
Wikipedia Creative Commons photo by Eoghanacht
* Fort Louise Augusta (Christiansted Entrance Range Front) (1)
1919 (station established 1857). Inactive since 1931. 1-story concrete keeper's house, formerly with a lantern mounted at one end. Building painted white with a red corrugated metal roof. The active range light (focal plane 45 ft (13.5 m); quick-flashing white light) is mounted on a 17 ft (5 m) square skeletal tower next to the house. Shawn and Kris McCourt contributed the photo at right, Don Wiss has posted a panorama of Christiansted harbor in which the active lighthouse appears at the far right, and Google has a sea view and a satellite view. The rear light is on a skeletal mast of unknown height seen in a second Google satellite view. The original light here was shown from a mast on the fort. Located on a promontory at the north end of Christiansted harbor. Accessible by road; the McCourts report the site is not easy to find, so local assistance is suggested. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: unknown. ARLHS VIR-006; Admiralty J5642; USCG 3-32870; NGA 14664.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Berg Hill Range Front (?-?), Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. This light has been replaced by a small skeletal tower; Trabas has a photo. USCG 3-32575; Admiralty J5618; NGA 14624.
  • Muhlenfeldt Point (1844-?), St. Thomas. Huelse has a postcard view of the second (1912) lighthouse. The site of this lighthouse is occupied now by a Marriott beach resort. ARLHS VIR-005.

Notable faux lighthouses:

  • Christiansted Watchtower (ca. 1679), St. Croix. This historic tower on the Christiansted waterfront is often mistaken for a lighthouse. As far as is known it never carried a navigation light. Antonio Rainier has a street view, and Google has a satellite view.
Fort Louise Augusta Lighthouse
Fort Louise Augusta Light, St. Croix, April 2008
photo copyright Shawn and Kris McCourt; used by permission

Adjoining pages: East: British Virgin Islands | West: Puerto Rico

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Created May 2002. Checked and revised January 5, 2019. Lighthouses: 6. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.