The Cape Henry Lighthouse silently guards the entry way into the Chesapeake Bay. Standing near the "First Landing" site of the Jamestown settlers where in 1607, Captain Newport raised a cross to offer thanks for their safe crossing of the Atlantic, the Lighthouse has stood sentinel since it was completed in 1792.
Authorized by George Washington and overseen by Alexander Hamilton, the construction of the Cape Henry Lighthouse was one of the first acts of the newly formed Federal government. The octagonal sandstone lighthouse was designed by New York architect John McComb and was in active use for nearly a century before being replaced by a new cast iron lighthouse still standing nearby. It is one of the oldest surviving lighthouses in the United States.
Preservation Virginia acquired the Cape Henry Lighthouse in 1930 whe.n Congress deeded the lighthouse and 1.77 acres of land to the organization in order to preserve it and make it accessible to the public. Over the years it has restored the lighthouse and its surroundings including repairing the lantern after damage from Hurricane Barbara in 1953, repairing the damaged original Aquia sandstone, and restoring the surrounding dunes.
Today visitors to the Cape Henry Lighthouse can climb to the top of the tower to enjoy spectacular views of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. They can also enjoy a quided walking tour of the area as well as a visit to our museum shop.