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 lighthouse later.
  • 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 require reconstruction.
Alabama
xxx Sand Island
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.

Connecticut
x
Avery Point
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.

Hawaii
xxx Ka'ena Point (1)
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.

Florida
xxx Cape St. George
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.

Louisiana
xxx Pass a l'Outre
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 Manchac
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 Pass
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 Shoal
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: very poor.
xxx West Rigolets
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.

Maine
xx Halfway Rock
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 River
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 Island
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 Harbor Point
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: good.

Maryland
xxx Fishing Battery
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 Carroll
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 poor.
xxx Sharps Island
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.

Massachusetts

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 Head
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 Island
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: uncertain.
 

Michigan

xxx Charity Island
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 Mile Point
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. Prognosis: uncertain.
xxx Gull Rock
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 Island
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 Island
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.

Minnesota
Y Minnesota Point
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 $50,000 grant was received. Prognosis: upgraded to good.

New Jersey

xx Lightship 79 Barnegat
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 Island
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 Meadows
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 Brother Island
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 Island
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 hopeful.

North Carolina
x Bodie Island
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.

Puerto Rico
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, but hopeful.
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 de Mona
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 Ferro
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.

Ohio
Y Green Island
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 Island
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: uncertain.

Rhode Island
xx Dutch Island
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. Prognosis: good.

South Carolina
xxx Morris Island
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.

Virginia
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.

Virgin Islands
xx Buck Island
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 Bluff
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.

Wisconsin
xxx
Baileys Harbor
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 Island]
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 Tail Point
1849. Inactive since 1859. Ruined stone tower. About 2/3 of the tower remains. No preservation plan. Prognosis: very poor.
xx Outer Island
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: good.
x Pilot Island
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: uncertain.
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 Island WI
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: excellent.

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Checked and revised August 3, 2005. Site copyright 2005 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.