Bowlers Rock Lighthouse

July 10, 2019

Bowlers Rock Lighthouse, Rappahannock River 30 miles upriver from the Chesapeake Bay between Bowlers Landing and Suggetts Point, Virginia

Built in 1868.


Lighthouse Name: Bowlers Rock Light
Location: Only lighthouse built on the Rappahannock River between Bowlers Landing and Suggetts Point; nearest town/city is Bowler Landing, Virginia
Date Built: Built in 1868
Type of Structure: Wooden rectangular cottage-style lighthouse on a screw pile; two additional fender piles set one on each of the ebb and flow sides of the structure, for additional stability against the ice.
Status: No longer standing.

Historical Information:

  • Two Lightships marked this location the first in 1835 until destroyed by rebels in 1861 the second Lightship was stationed in 1864 until 1868.
  • The Lighthouse Board noted in the 1895 annual report that the iron foundation had “suffered from the impact of the ice during the past winter. Its age and position render doubtful its ability to withstand without protection another similar experience.” The board requested that heavy riprap stone be place on the axis of the current to act as icebreakers.
  • Destroyed by ice around 1918, deactivated in 1920, and in 1921 an acetylene light and automatic fog bell operated by carbon dioxide gas were built on a caisson structure to replace the iron-pile lighthouse.
  • The lighthouse was replaced by a small automatic light near the original site.

The above was researched and drafted by Catherine (Kitty) Price, a Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society volunteer.