August 7th Designated National Lighthouse Day

Montauk Lighthouse. 2012 photo by Candace Clifford

Montauk Lighthouse. 2012 photo by Candace Clifford


1st Session

S. RES. 204

Designating August 7, 2013, as ‘National Lighthouse and Lighthouse Preservation Day’.


July 30, 2013

Mr. KING (for himself and Ms. COLLINS) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to


Designating August 7, 2013, as ‘National Lighthouse and Lighthouse Preservation Day’.

Whereas August 7, 2013, marks the 224th anniversary of the signing by President George Washington of the Act entitled ‘An Act for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and public piers’, approved August 7, 1789 (commonly known as the ‘Lighthouse Act of 1789’) (1 Stat. 53, chapter 9);

Whereas that Act, the ninth act of the 1st Congress, established a Federal role in the support, maintenance, and repair of all lighthouses, beacon buoys, and public piers necessary for safe navigation, commissioned the first Federal lighthouse, and represents the first public works act in the young United States;

Whereas the establishment of the United States system of navigational aids set the United States on a path to the forefront of international maritime prominence and established lighthouses that played an integral role in the rich maritime history of the United States, as that history spread from the Atlantic coast, through the Great Lakes and the Gulf coast, to the Pacific States;

Whereas those iconic structures, standing at land’s end through 2 centuries, have symbolized safety, security, heroism, duty, and faithfulness;

Whereas architects, designers, engineers, builders, and keepers devoted, and in some cases jeopardized, their lives for the safety of others during centuries of light tending by the United States Lighthouse Service and the United States Coast Guard;

Whereas the automation of the light system exposed the historic lighthouse towers to the ravages of time and vandalism and yet, at the same time, opened an opportunity for citizen involvement in efforts to save and restore those beacons that mark the evolving maritime history of the United States and its coastal communities;

Whereas the national lighthouse preservation movement has gained momentum over the past half century and is making major contributions to the preservation of maritime history and heritage and, through the development and enhancement of cultural tourism, to the economies of coastal communities in the United States;

Whereas the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-355; 114 Stat. 1385), enacted on October 24, 2000, and with the aid of the lighthouse preservation community, provides an effective process administered by the General Services Administration and the National Park Service for transferring lighthouses to the best possible stewardship groups;

Whereas, for the past several decades, regional and national groups have formed within the lighthouse preservation community to promote lighthouse heritage through research, education, tourism, and publications;

Whereas the earliest and largest regional preservation group, the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, headquartered in Michigan, marks its 30th anniversary in 2013, and the largest and oldest national group, the United States Lighthouse Society, which relocated from San Francisco, California, to the State of Washington in 2008, marks its 30th anniversary in 2014;

Whereas other groups have also been formed to promote lighthouse preservation and history, many with regional chapters, including–

(1) a national leadership council and forum named the American Lighthouse Council (formerly the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee), currently headquartered in Illinois;

(2) the American Lighthouse Foundation in Maine;

(3) the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance and Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy;

(4) the Maine Lights Program;

(5) the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society in North Carolina;

(6) the New Jersey Lighthouse Society;

(7) the Florida Lighthouse Association; and

(8) the Lighthouse Preservation Society in Massachusetts;

Whereas major lighthouse publications, including the United States Lighthouse Society’s Keeper’s Log and the Lighthouse Digest, contribute greatly to the promotion of lighthouse heritage and preservation;

Whereas single-lighthouse preservation efforts by individuals or organizations, including historical societies and governments, have even longer histories, including preservation efforts in–

(1) Grosse Point, Illinois, established in 1935;

(2) Buffalo, New York, established in 1962;

(3) Navesink Twin Lights, New Jersey, established in 1962;

(4) Point Fermin, California, established in 1970;

(5) Charlotte-Genesse near Rochester, New York, established in 1965;

(6) Key West, Florida, established in 1969;

(7) Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota, established in 1971;

(8) Ponce de Leon Inlet, Florida, established in 1972;

(9) St. Augustine, Florida, established in 1981; and

(10) Fire Island, New York, established in 1982;

Whereas, despite progress, many lighthouses in the United States remain threatened by erosion, neglect, vandalism, and deterioration by the elements;

Whereas Congress passed, and President Ronald Reagan signed, a Joint Resolution entitled ‘Joint Resolution designating the day of August 7, 1989, as ‘National Lighthouse Day’, approved November 5, 1988 (Public Law 100-622; 102 Stat. 3201), in honor of the bicentennial of the United States Lighthouse Service; and

Whereas the many completed, ongoing, or planned private and public efforts to preserve lighthouses demonstrate the public support for those historic structures: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate–

(1) designates August 7, 2013, as ‘National Lighthouse and Lighthouse Preservation Day’;

(2) encourages lighthouse grounds to be made open to the general public to the extent feasible; and

(3) encourages the people of the United States to observe National Lighthouse and Lighthouse Preservation Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

Leave a Reply