The Doomsday List
The Doomsday List is a list of endangered lighthouses created and maintained
by Lighthouse Digest magazine.
The list is a great tool for focusing public attention on threatened structures,
and its publication has led directly or indirectly to the start of a number
of preservation campaigns. The Doomsday List is updated monthly. A current
list is available from the Digest web site.
The list doesn't include all endangered U.S. lighthouses, in my opinion. The
Watch List includes additional sites of concern.
This page lists the U.S. lighthouses and lightships currently on
the Doomsday List with notes on their present status. (In addition to
these sites, the Doomsday List includes several Canadian
lighthouses.) The symbols preceding the entries are my highly
unofficial estimates of the degree of danger to the lighthouse. Here
is what the symbols mean:
- x The lighthouse is not in danger of
actual destruction at the present time, but it is increasingly dilapidated
and urgently needs restoration.
- xx The lighthouse is in danger of actual
destruction within ten years. Action is needed now to prevent loss of the
- xxx The lighthouse is in imminent danger
of destruction. Immediate action is needed to save the structure. The lighthouse
could be lost in less than a year.
- Y The lighthouse is in ruins. A significant
portion of the historic structure has already been lost, and restoration would
- xxx Sand
- 1873. Inactive since 1933. 131 ft brownstone tower. Keeper's quarters destroyed.
The island has dwindled to a sandbar and the tower suffers from years of neglect.
In October 2003, ownership was transferred to the town of Dauphin Island,
but in September 2004, Hurricane Ivan severely damaged the brickwork and foundation
of the tower. Preservation efforts are underway, but no one knows where
to find the huge sums needed to save this lighthouse. Prognosis: still poor.
- 1944. Inactive since 1967. 55 ft octagonal cylindrical concrete tower, built
as a monument to lighthouse keepers. No keeper's quarters. The lighthouse,
once critically endangered by neglect, is now under restoration. Work began
in late 2001 and should be completed soon. Prognosis: excellent.
- xxx Ka'ena
- 1920. Inactive since 1987. 65 ft pyramidal reinforced concrete tower. Undermined
by beach erosion, this lighthouse has fallen and lies across the beach. The
lighthouse is small enough that it could be moved to a museum setting, but
there is no restoration plan. Prognosis: very poor.
- xxx Cape
- 1852. Inactive since 1994. 70 ft brick tower. The "Leaning Tower of Florida"
has been one of the most critically endangered U.S. lighthouses in recent
years. In early 1999 it was actually off its foundation, sitting precariously
on the beach. It's back on its foundation now, thanks to grant-supported projects
in 1999-2000, but it is still in imminent danger of being toppled by the sea.
By early 2004 the lighthouse was once again standing in the water and frantic
efforts were underway to save it. Later in 2004 a new group, the St. George
Lighthouse Association, was formed to work for saving the lighthouse by moving
it inland. On the positive side, the lighthouse has stood through glancing
blows from several hurricanes in 2004-05. Prognosis: still poor.
- xxx Pass
- 1855. Inactive since 1930. 85 ft cast iron tower, now sunk in the mud, its
height reduced to about 50 ft. Abandoned and gravely endangered. The lighthouse
is at an inaccessible site in marshlands near the mouth of the Mississippi.
Prognosis: very poor.
- xxx Pass
- 1868. Inactive since 1987. 40 ft brick tower, formerly attached to keeper's
quarters (which have been demolished). The tower now stands in the water of
Pass Manchac, which connects Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain. It is endangered
by neglect and is leaning alarmingly. The state has taken ownership of the
tower. In 2002 the lantern broke in two while being removed for restoration.
Pilings were placed around the lighthouse, but this failed to stop the continuing
lean. By early 2004 the tower had largely collapsed. Prognosis: very poor.
- xx Sabine
- 1856. Inactive since 1952. 75 ft brick tower with six brick "buttresses"
giving the tower the appearance of an old-fashioned rocket. Keeper's quarters
burned in 1960s. Endangered by neglect, this unusual lighthouse has been conveyed
by its private owners to Cameron Parish. The Cameron Preservation Alliance
has begun fundraising to restore the light station as a historical museum.
In 2002, engineers advised that cracks and eroded mortar threaten the tower
with collapse and recommended that metal bands be used to hold it together
until it can be restored. Restoration effrots continue, but major funding
is needed. Prognosis: fair.
- xxx Ship
- 1859. Inactive since 1972. 117 ft octagonal pyramidal screwpile tower with
2-story cast iron keeper's quarters and central cylinder. Abandoned, rusting,
leaning, and endangered. The town of Berwick has a long-standing plan to move
this lighthouse to its Lighthouse Park, but there has been no progress toward
doing so. Prognosis: very poor.
- xxx Southwest Pass
- 1870. Inactive. Octagonal pyramidal tower with 2-story cast iron keeper's
quarters and central cylinder. Another of the derelict lights of the Mississippi
Delta. Abandoned, nearly inaccessible, and gravely endangered. Prognosis:
- xxx West
- 1855. Inactive since 1945. 30 ft square frame keeper's quarters on wood
pilings, surmounted by a small lantern. This privately owned lighthouse is
deteriorating rapidly. No restoration plan. Prognosis: very poor.
- xx Halfway
- 1871. Active. 76 ft wave-swept unpainted granite tower. Keeper's quarters
and rest of light station destroyed by various storms. In 2000, the light
tower was leased by the American
Lighthouse Foundation for preservation. Located on a bare, rocky island
in the middle of Casco Bay about 12 miles east of Portland. Prognosis: uncertain.
- x Little
- 1876. Inactive since 1975. 41 ft cylindrical cast iron tower (brick lined).
1-1/2 story Victorian frame keeper's quarters (1888) currently boarded up.
Endangered by neglect, the light station was leased for preservation in 2000
by the American Lighthouse
Foundation. The lantern has been restored and in 2001 the lighthouse was
relit. Work continues to restore the keeper's quarters. Prognosis: excellent.
- x Perkins
- 1898. Active. 23 ft octagonal frame tower. Original 2 story frame keeper's
house, pyramidal frame bell tower, and other buildings. The light station,
especially the keeper's house and bell tower, is in disrepair due to lack
of maintenance. In 2000 the American
Lighthouse Foundation leased the tower for preservation. The new ALF chapter,
Friends of Perkins
Island Lighthouse, hopes to restore the keeper's quarters and in 2000
local volunteers did restore the fog bell tower. The chapter hopes to work
also for restoration of the keeper's house. Prognosis: good.
- x Prospect
- 1891. Active. 38 ft shingled wood tower. 1-1/2 story frame farmhouse-style
keeper's house used as a U.S. Navy guesthouse. Tower reshingled and repainted
by the Coast Guard in 1999-2000. In 2000, the light tower was leased by the
American Lighthouse Foundation
for preservation. In fall 2001, work was underway to restore the stairway.
However, the tower is leaking and major restoration is needed. Prognosis:
- xxx Fishing
- 1853. Inactive since 1921. Ruined 2-story brick keeper's house with lantern
on the roof. The building, long neglected, is falling rapidly into ruins.
The Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy is interested in its restoration, but
so far no progress has been reported. Prognosis: poor.
- xxx Fort
- Inactive. Ruined square cylindrical tower mounted on the wall of Fort Carroll,
Baltimore. Immediate action is needed to save some of the original structure.
The Fort Carroll Preservation Trust works for the preservation of the historic
fort, but no plan is in place to restore the light tower. Prognosis: very
- xxx Sharps
- 1882. Active; focal plane 54 ft. 40 ft cast iron sparkplug tower, including
keeper's quarters, mounted on iron caisson. Ice in the winter of 1976-77 pushed
the tower over at a 15° angle. The Coast Guard would like to abandon
the tower, which is quite difficult to maintain. Prognosis: poor.
- xx Lightship
114 New Bedford
- 1930. 133 ft steel lightship with two masts. Although the ship is in poor
condition at present, the City of New Bedford has announced plans to restore
it. Prognosis: good.
- xx Sankaty
- 1850. Active. 70 ft brick and granite tower; original lantern removed but
replaced by an aluminum replica. The light station is critically endangered
by erosion of the cliff on which it stands. The 'Sconset Trust conducts fundraising
to move the light (at least $1 million needed). Prognosis: uncertain.
- x Straitsmouth
- 1896. Active. The lighthouse is in fairly good condition, but the 1-1/2
story Gothic frame keeper's quarters (1878) is boarded up and in disrepair.
The island is owned by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, which opposes public
access and has allowed the buildings to deteriorate. In 2001, the Lighthouse
Preservation Society proposed to relocate the keeper's house to Newburyport,
but nothing came of this idea. The building appears doomed; Audubon has invited
the Thatcher Island Association to remove elements of the structure to use
in restoration of the very similar keeper's house on Thatcher Island. Prognosis:
- xxx Charity
- 1857. Inactive since 1939. Brick tower attached to ruined 2-story frame
keeper's quarters. The tower is restorable, but the keeper's quarters has
collapsed and has been replaced by a private owner with a modern structure.
In September 2002, the Arenac County Historical Society formed the Charity
Island Preservation Committee to work for restoration of the light tower,
and in July 2003 the Society reached an agreement with the Nature Conservancy
and the Fish and Wildlife Service on carrying out the restoration. Funding
has been difficult to obtain, but in January 2005 the Committee announced
funds were in hand to proceed with the historical study needed before actual
restoration can begin. Prognosis: still poor, but improving.
- xx Fourteen
- 1894. Inactive since 1934. Square cylindrical brick tower attached to 2-story
brick keeper's quarters. Burned by vandals in 1984, the building has been
in ruins. In the early 1990s the property was purchased by Dan Hermanson,
of Keweenaw Video Productions in Houghton, and two friends; they have begun
restoration efforts but progress is very slow at best. Terry Pepper visited
the station in summer 2004 and found the lighthouse still a rickety shell.
- xxx Gull
- 1867. Active. 46 ft square cylindrical brick tower attached church-style
to 2-story brick keeper's quarters. The exterior of the lighthouse was recently
repainted and repaired by the Coast Guard. The interior, heavily damaged by
water before the roof was repaired, is in ruins. Lighthouse Digest
has an April 2002 feature
story on the lighthouse. In 2005, ownership was transferred to two preservation
groups, one of which, the newly organized Gull
Rock Lightkeepers, will begin the task of restoration. Prognosis: poor,
but there is new hope.
- xx Manitou
- 1861. Active; focal plane 81 ft. 80 ft square pyramidal skeletal tower with
central cylinder attached to 2-story frame keeper's quarters. Endangered by
beach erosion and poor maintenance. No restoration plan. Prognosis: uncertain.
- xxx Poverty
- 1874. Inactive since 1976. 60 ft ruined brick tower attached to 1-1/2 story
brick keeper's quarters. Abandoned and deteriorating rapidly. There is no
preservation effort at present. Prognosis: very poor.
- xxx Waugoshance
- 1851. Inactive since 1912. 76 ft ruined brick tower, formerly encased in
iron, on stone crib. Gravely endangered and deteriorating; previously used
for bombing and strafing practice. The Waugoshance
Lighthouse Preservation Society has begun working on the preservation
of the lighthouse; the first priority is raising funds to stabilize the building.
The Society hopes to secure a lease on the light station. Prognosis: uncertain.
- Y Minnesota
- 1856. Inactive since 1913. Ruined brick tower, truncated about halfway up.
The lighthouse is also endangered by beach erosion. No preservation plan.
Prognosis: very poor.
- New Hampshire
- xx Isles
of Shoals (White Island) NH
- 1865. Active. 58 ft cylindrical brick tower. Transferred to the state of
New Hampshire in 1994, the lighthouse was completely neglected. The tower
is in poor condition, riddled with cracks. A local school group, the Lighthouse
Kids, is drawing public attention to the plight of the lighthouse. In
2003, the Lighthouse Kids successfully lobbied the state legislature for $125,000
to repair the tower. In April 2003, a $250,000 federal grant for restoration
was announced. In May 2005, another
was received. Prognosis: upgraded to good.
- xx Lightship
- 1904. Decommissioned 1967. 2-masted steel lightship, length 116 ft. This
privately-owned lightship is resting on the mud at Pyne Poynt Marina in Camden,
NJ, where it is deteriorating. Prognosis: poor.
- New York
- xx Cedar
- 1868. Inactive since 1934. 2-1/2 story granite keeper's house incorporating
granite square cylindrical tower. The interior of the lighthouse was gutted
by fire in 1974. A support group, Friends
of Cedar Island Lighthouse, has been formed. No funding has been found
for restoration, but in March 2002 the Long Island Lighthouse Society and
Suffolk County Parks announced a joint effort to restore the lighthouse. In
spring 2003 some preliminary work was beginning in the lighthouse, and in
early 2004 the oil house was restored. Prognosis: uncertain but hopeful.
- x Esopus
- 1872. Inactive since 1965. 55 ft octagonal frame tower mounted on the roof
of 2-story mansard-style frame keeper's quarters. This lighthouse is built
in the middle of the Hudson River. Ice damage left it leaning dangerously.
A local preservation group group, the Save
Esopus Lighthouse Commission, has been working to restore the structure.
Engineering studies have been completed; the roof has been reshingled; and
emergency repairs have been made to the interior. In 2001, the lighthouse
was finally shored up and leveled, permitting the work of restoring the interior
of the building to begin. In November 2002, the state announced a grant of
$45,300 to continue work on the foundation. On May 31, 2003, the light was
returned to the tower from the skeletal tower where it had been displayed
since 1965. Prognosis: excellent.
- xxx North
- 1869. Inactive since 1953. Originally an octagonal frame tower rising from
1-story frame keeper's quarters. Now in ruins: the light tower has collapsed
and the rest of the building is decaying fast. Prognosis: probably hopeless.
- xx Plum
- 1870. Inactive since 1978. 55 ft square cylindrical granite tower rising
from 2-story granite keeper's quarters. Endangered by beach erosion and neglect.
To stabilize the bluff, the Corps of Engineers provided 20,000 tons of stone
removed from another Long Island location. An erosion control revetment was
built in 2004. East End Lighthouses
is working on restoration plans; first steps will be to restore the lantern
and bring electric power to the lighthouse. Ownership of the island was transferred
to the Dept. of Homeland Security in June 2003. Prognosis: uncertain, but
- x Bodie
- 1872. Active. 170 ft brick tower attached to brick oil house; original 1º
Fresnel lens still in use. Transferred in 2000 from the Coast Guard to the
National Park Service, the tower needs about $2 million in restoration work.
Smaller grants are funding short-term repairs and a restoration plan, and
major funds will be sought in fiscal 2007. Ownership of the 1° Fresnel
lens was transferred to the park service on April 25, 2005. Prognosis: good.
- xx Price's
Creek Range Front
- 1849. Inactive since the Civil War. 20 ft brick tower with no lantern. This
long-forgotten, privately-owned little lighthouse is beginning to receive
attention: the town of Southport is considering a plan to restore it or relocate
it into town as a tourist attraction. Prognosis: uncertain.
- xx Culebrita
- 1886. Inactive since 1959. 43 ft cylindrical stone tower rising from the
center of 1-story stone keeper's quarters. As of 2000, the building was in
ruins, severely damaged by vandals and by Hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Marilyn
(1995). The building is sealed and is reported to be hazardous inside. The
Culebra Foundation is managing a restoration effort. In 2003 ownership of
the light station was transferred from the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge
to the Municipality of Culebra. A commonwealth grant of $700,000 was available
for preliminary restoration, and architects had been hired to supervise the
work. Current information on these efforts is needed. Prognosis: still poor,
- Y Guanica
- 1893. Inactive since 1950. Octagonal cylindrical masonry tower mounted on
1-story masonry keeper's quarters. The building is in ruins. No restoration
plan. Prognosis: very poor.
- x Isla
Caja de Muertos
- 1887. Active. 63 ft cylindrical stone tower attached to 1-story stone keeper's
quarters. Poorly maintained, but certainly restorable. Prognosis: fair.
- xx Isla
- 1900. Inactive since 1976. 52 ft pyramidal skeletal cast iron tower with
central cylinder. 1-story steel and frame keeper's quarters. The lighthouse
is abandoned and appears to be in poor condition. Prognosis: poor.
- xxx Puerto
- 1896. Inactive since 1926. Octagonal cylindrical stone tower rising from
the center of 1-story stone keeper's quarters. Lantern removed. Endangered
by decay and lack of maintenance, this lighthouse is located in the former
U.S. military training area on Vieques. Prognosis: very poor.
- Y Green
- 1865. Inactive since 1939. Ruined square cylindrical limestone tower attached
church-style to 2-story limestone keeper's quarters. The lighthouse, gutted
by a fire set by vandals, is located in a wildlife refuge closed to the public.
There is no restoration plan. Prognosis: essentially hopeless.
- xxx Turtle
- 1831. Inactive since 1904. Ruined square cylindrical stone tower. The island
is now privately owned, and the owner states he will preserve the tower. Prognosis:
- xx Dutch
- 1857. Inactive since 1947. 42 ft square cylindrical brick tower. Keeper's
quarters, formerly attached, has been destroyed. This lighthouse is endangered
by neglect, vandalism, and decay. In 2000 the American Lighthouse Foundation
leased the lighthouse and helped start the Dutch
Island Lighthouse Society to work for restoration. Fundraising is in progress.
- xxx Morris
- 1876. Inactive since 1962. 161 ft brick tower. Keeper's house destroyed.
The tower is gravely endangered; rapid beach erosion has left it standing
in the open Atlantic northeast of Folly Beach. Fund raising for preservation
was kicked off in 1999 by a $500,000 appropriation from the South Carolina
legislature. Preservationists of Save
the Light, Inc. purchased the light from private owners in 1999, and in
2000 the state bought it for $1 and leased it back for preservation. In 2001,
following an engineering study, a preservation plan was adopted, calling for
stabilization of the existing foundation. In 2003, International Chimney Corporation
completed a plan for complete restoration. In September 2003 funding for the
initial work (some $2.6 million) was nearly complete and a construction start
was planned for July 2004. After several delays, the state approved the project
in January 2005, but in March the Corps of Engineers announced it had no funds
to start the project. The total project could cost as much as $6 million.
Meanwhile, the light is clearly vulnerable to hurricanes and might be overthrown
at any time. Prognosis: tense.
- xx New
Point Comfort VA
- 1806. Reactivated (inactive 1963-1999). 58 ft octagonal sandstone tower.
Keeper's house destroyed. The lighthouse is located on a very small, eroding
island in the Chesapeake. Renovated 1988, severely vandalized in 1994, then
fixed up a second time and relit December 12, 1999. Beach erosion is still
a major threat. A local group called the New
Point Lighthouse Preservation Task Force is working toward a complete
restoration of the structure; it is moldy from being long closed and the cast
iron is badly corroded. In 2002, the Virginia General Assembly budgeted $56,742
to develop a master plan for saving the lighthouse and opening it to the public.
In 2003 the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to include a study of protecting
the structure as part of a larger study of erosion problems on the Chesapeake.
In 2004 the county constructed a pier to provide access to the lighthouse.
Prognosis: still poor, but with with some fresh hope.
- xx Buck
- 1913. Inactive since the mid 1990s. 25 ft square steel tower with attached
service room. Recent photos show that the abandoned lighthouse is deteriorating
rapidly. There is no preservation effort at present. Prognosis: poor.
- xx Hams
- 1915. Active . 35 ft (?) cast iron tower. This lighthouse was built by the
Danish government shortly before the islands became a U.S. territory in 1917.
Clearly endangered by poor maintenance. Prognosis: uncertain.
- 1853. Inactive since 1869. 52 ft rubblestone tower with rare birdcage lantern.
Abandoned and endangered by decay; the lantern of this privately-owned lighthouse
is no longer supported and may fall at any time. Prognosis: poor.
- Y [Green
- 1863. Inactive since the 1930s(?). Ruins of 2-story stone keeper's quarters;
the light tower has collapsed. No restoration plan. Prognosis: very poor.
- Y Long
- 1849. Inactive since 1859. Ruined stone tower. About 2/3 of the tower remains.
No preservation plan. Prognosis: very poor.
- xx Outer
- 1874. Active; focal plane 129 ft. 90 ft brick tower attached to 2-story
brick keeper's quarters. The light station is endangered by shoreline erosion,
but Congress has now appropriated funds to build a protective seawall. Prognosis:
- x Pilot
- 1858. Active. 41 ft square cylindrical brick tower mounted on 2-story brick
keeper's quarters. A new group, Death's Door Watchstanders, has formed to
work for preservation of the Pilot Island and Plum Island lights, and in 2002
the Door County Maritime Museum was seeking
a management agreement for both stations. The site is currently abandoned
and overgrown. Located on a tiny island in the Porte des Morts (Death's Door)
Passage between Washington Island and the mainland of the peninsula. Prognosis:
- x Plum
Island Range Rear WI
- 1897. Active. 65 ft square pyramidal skeletal tower with central cylinder.
The keeper's quarters and Coast Guard station were listed among Wisconsin's
10 most endangered historic properties in April 2000. The island is to be
a national wildlife refuge, and the Door County Maritime Museum has agreed
with Fish and Wildlife to assume responsibility for the light station. A major
stumbling block is old fuel spills on the island; ; in 2004 the Coast Guard
completed an $863,000 project to clean these up. Prognosis: hopeful.
- x Raspberry
- 1863. Inactive since 1957. 35 ft square cylindrical frame tower rising from
2-story clapboard keeper's quarters. The light station was endangered by shoreline
erosion, but a project to stabilize the shoreline has been completed. Prognosis:
Return to the Lighthouse Directory index
Checked and revised August 3, 2005. Site copyright 2005 Russ
Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.