Windmill Point Light (Virginia)

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Windmill Point Light
Windmill point light VA.PNG
1928 photograph of Windmill Point Light (USCG)
Windmill Point Light (Virginia) is located in Virginia
Windmill Point Light (Virginia)
Location Mouth of the Rappahannock River east of Windmill Point
Coordinates 37°35′48″N 76°14′09″W / 37.5968°N 76.2359°W / 37.5968; -76.2359Coordinates: 37°35′48″N 76°14′09″W / 37.5968°N 76.2359°W / 37.5968; -76.2359
Year first lit 1869
Deactivated 1965
Foundation screw-pile
Construction cast-iron/wood
Tower shape hexagonal house
Height 36 feet (11 m)
Original lens sixth-order Fresnel lens
Range 7.8 nautical miles; 14 kilometres (9 mi)
Characteristic Flashing 6 sec

The Windmill Point Light was a lighthouse located at the mouth of the Rappahannock River.


This light was erected in 1869 to replace the last of three lightships stationed at this location to mark the end of the Rappahannock Spit, a shoal extending east from Windmill Point itself. These lightships were stationed beginning in 1839, the first being seized by the Confederates in the Civil War. As was typical of such an exposed location, ice was a serious threat, and the light was badly damaged in the winter of 1917–1918, with repairs not completed until 1921.

Automation came in 1954, and the house was removed in favor of a skeleton tower in 1965. As with the nearby Stingray Point Light, a private party, one Dr William Atwood, purchased portions of the house in hopes of reassembling it on shore. As with the other light, however, Dr Atwood was unable to complete his plan. The tower and original foundation remain in service.

As of the 2007–2008 winter, the old girder works of the original lighthouse were removed and replaced by a single concrete-filled caisson with superstructure tower and light and placards. Note the rip rap of the original light surrounds the new structure, which is right at sea level and sometimes not visible. The lighthouse should not be approached within a 100-foot radius; on Sunday 25 May 2008 a sailboat went aground on these rocks and required USCG and Sea Tow assistance to be towed off.