Cape Henlopen Light

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Cape Henlopen Light
Cape Henlopen Light.jpg
Cape Henlopen Light is located in Delaware
Cape Henlopen Light
Location Cape Henlopen, Delaware
Coordinates 38°46′42″N 75°05′04″W / 38.778259°N 75.084493°W / 38.778259; -75.084493Coordinates: 38°46′42″N 75°05′04″W / 38.778259°N 75.084493°W / 38.778259; -75.084493
Year first constructed 1767
Year first lit 1769
Deactivated 1924; tower collapsed due to erosion in 1926
Height 69 ft
Original lens First order Fresnel lens
Characteristic Flashing white with red sector

Cape Henlopen Light was a lighthouse near Lewes, in present-day Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware, United States. The lighthouse was on the north side of the Great Dune on Cape Henlopen, Delaware.[1] It was the sixth lighthouse built in the colonies.[2]


Cape Henlopen Lighthouse was constructed on the north side of the Great Dune to obtain additional height. It was completed in 1767 and first lit in 1769. In 1777, during the American Revolution, the lighthouse was almost completely destroyed by the British. The wardens repaired the damage and it was relit by 1784. In 1897, the sand dune surrounding the tower was reported to be steadily blowing away at a rate of 3 to 5 feet (0.91 to 1.52 m) a year. In 1905, several tons of brush were placed about the tower and oil house to prevent the foundations and brick walls from being undermined by the drifting away of the sand.

Before the collapse, though, the tower had been discontinued as a lighthouse. Earlier in 1924, the lens was removed from the light for refurbishing and to be placed on display. With the building of the Brandywine Light, waiting areas were no longer needed behind the breakwaters, so the light was disabled.[3] All measures to protect the tower failed and in April 1926, a storm undermined the tower, causing it to fall seaward.

Another light also once stood on Cape Henlopen. In 1824, the Cape Henlopen Beacon was constructed on a 45-foot (14 m) tower about a mile north of the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse.

A replica of Cape Henlopen Light was built in 2004 in the middle of the roundabout on Delaware Route 1A (Rehoboth Avenue) entering Rehoboth Beach.[4]


  1. ^ Trapani, Bob (2007). Delaware Lights: A History of Lighthouses in the First State. The History Press. p. 13. ISBN 1-59629-021-8. 
  2. ^ "Cape Henlopen Lighthouse". New England Lighthouse Wallpaper Guide. Archived from the original on 30 May 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Cape Henlopen Lighthouse
  4. ^ "Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebrates the Completion of the Rehoboth Avenue Streetscape Project". Delaware Department of Transportation. June 16, 2006. Retrieved February 6, 2013.