Back River Light

Back River Light

Infobox Lighthouse

caption = Undated photograph of Back River Light, Virginia (USCG)
location = convert|1|nmi|km|abbr=on south of the mouth of the Back River on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay
coordinates = coord|37.0872|N|76.2698|W|type:landmark
yearlit = 1829
automated = 1915
yeardeactivated = 1936
construction = brick/masonry
shape = conical tower
height = convert|30|ft|m|abbr=on
lens =
currentlens =
range =
characteristic =

The Back River Light was a lighthouse south of the mouth of the Back River on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, several miles north of Fort Monroe near Hampton, Virginia. Plagued by erosion for most of its existence, it was destroyed in 1956 by Hurricane Flossy.


This light was constructed in 1829, a conical masonry tower similar to others further up the bay. A hint of its coming travails was given by the need for a convert|144|ft|m|sing=on long footbridge to carry the keeper over the marshy land between the tower and his house.

The light was damaged by confederate raiders in 1862, but was back in action the following year. But the remainder of the century saw a continuing battle against erosion, and riprap was laid around the base of the tower several times between 1868 and 1888. In 1894 a second story was added to the keeper's house, but this served only until 1914, when the house was demolished, with the light being automated the following year. It was discontinued in 1936; twenty years later, the tower was destroyed by Hurricane Flossie, leaving only a pile of rubble to mark the spot.


*cite book|title=The Lighthouses of the Chesapeake
last=de Gast|first=Robert
publisher=Johns Hopkins University Press
* [ Virginia Light Stations] from United States Coast Guard website

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