Lighthouse Fun Facts You Never Knew Before

  • Do you know everything there is to know about lighthouses?

We see lighthouses everywhere but what do we really know about them? Here are all the lighthouse fun facts that you never knew.


  • All the lighthouses in America are automated.
  • The reflector system and Fresnel system used either fixed steady light or revolving flashing systems. This type of signal is called the characteristic. 
  • Other lighthouse characteristics are occulting, group flashing, quick flashing, and equal interval.
  • Some lighthouses have a green, red, or white light with a green or red sector, created by substituting a colored “window” for a clear one. Did you know this as one of the lighthouse fun facts?
  • Boston Light is the oldest station in the United States and because of this, Congress has stated that this lighthouse always has to be a staffed station. 
  • There are many lighthouses around the United States with people living in them, though they aren’t keepers. 
  • One to five keepers manned the light stations. 
  • There were 80 female lighthouse keepers. Most of these women obtained keeper positions through their husbands and only after they died or became incapacitated.
  • Keepers were paid a lower middle class wage. The first keeper, George Worthylake, received about $250.00 a year. (Equivalent to about $16,000.00 per year.) Head keepers during the 19th century made from $250 to $600 but others were paid less. 
  • During the gold rush, keepers were paid $1,000.00 in the west. What do you think of this as one of the lighthouse fun facts?
  • The most powerful optic lighthouse light produces a light that is seen 25 miles out to sea. With the reflection of the clouds, some aircraft have reported “picking up” lighthouse light as far as 40 or 50 miles out. 
  • Keepers were not in uniform until 1884.
  • Michigan is the state with the most lighthouses, coming in with a grand total of 124. (Though the definition of a lighthouse may differ and in that case there may be more like 130 lighthouses in Michigan. 
  • A daymark is a tower given a special painted pattern like diamonds, stripes, spirals or sometimes colors. The patterns are known as daymarks. 
  • The first American lighthouse was Alcatraz Island in 1854.
  • The tallest lighthouse is in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The lighthouse stands 196 feet tall and was built in 1872. This is one of the best lighthouse fun facts?
  • The oldest Great Lakes lighthouse is the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse and it dates back to 1808. It’s located on the Toronto Islands in Toronto, Canada. 
  • The oldest existing lighthouse in the world is the La Coruna in Spain. This lighthouse dates back to 20 B.C. 
  • There’s a Roman lighthouse located on the Cliffs of Dover in the UK that was constructed in 40 A.D.
  • The United States is home to more lighthouses than any other country.
  • The most expensive lighthouse in America is located at St. George Reef, near Crescent City, California. It took 10 years to build and cost $715,000.00.
  • Though there haven’t been so many women lighthouse keepers, this job was the first U.S government job available to women. 
  • Even with advances in technology, lighthouses are still considered aids to navigate by the U.S. Coast Guard. 
  • The definition of a lighthouse is a structure, usually with a tower, built onshore or on the seabed to serve as an aid to maritime coastal navigation, warning mariners of hazards, establishing their position, and guiding them to their destinations. 

Did you know all these lighthouse fun facts? What was your favorite new lighthouse fact you learned?


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