Deepwater Shoals Light

July 23, 2019

Deepwater Shoals Light, James River upstream from Newport News, Virginia


Lighthouse Name: Deepwater Shoals Light
Location: James River, on the shoal on the starboard side of the channel, above Mulberry Island Point and below Lyon’s Creek, providing improved navigation on the river; nearest town/city is Fort Eustis, Virginia
Date Built: Built in 1855
Type of Structure: Small one story cottage structure, white with red roof on screw pile
Height: Focal plane approximately 27’ above mean high water.
Lens: large pressed-glass masthead lenses suspended in the lantern room of the house replaced in 1868 sixth order Fresnel lens.
Characteristics: Fixed white
Foghorn: Yes
Status: No longer standing

Historical Information:

  • In 1856 the light suffered severe damage from ice floes; an entirely new superstructure had to be built in 1857.
  • On January 20, 1867 the structure was again so severely damaged that the Light House Board rebuilt it. Reconstruction was completed on January 15, 1868 built on wooden pilings.
  • 1862 the lighthouse was lighted after being snuffed out by the rebels; the Light House Board removed the lighting apparatus from the lighthouses and stored them at Ft. Monroe.
  • The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1936 and torn down in 1966.
  • There is an automated steel tower where the lighthouse once stood.

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