Lighthouses of the United States: Southeastern Pennsylvania

The U.S. state of Pennsylvania has 4 lighthouses, 3 active, on its Lake Erie shoreline in the northwestern corner of the state. These lighthouses are described on the Northwestern Pennsylvania page. Diagonally across the state, at the southeastern corner, the Delaware River estuary brings ships to the historic port of Philadelphia. There are no longer any traditional lighthouses on the Delaware River, but there is a former light station in Chester and an interesting example of a privately-built beacon on the Schuylkill River, a tributary of the Delaware.

Navigational aids in the United States are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases. Delaware River lights are the responsibility of the Coast Guard's Fifth District.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from Volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. USCG numbers are from Vol. II of the U.S. Coast Guard Light List.

General Sources
Lighthouses of Pennsylvania
Excellent photographs from LighthouseFriends.com.
Online List of Lights - New Jersey and Pennsylvania
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lost Lighthouses of Pennsylvania
An interesting June 2003 Lighthouse Digest article by Bob Trapani.
Lighthouses in Pennsylvania
Photos available from Wikimedia.
Coast Guard Lighthouses - Pennsylvania
Historic photos and notes, posted by the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's office.
Leuchttürme USA auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images of U.S. lighthouses posted by Klaus Huelse.


Turtle Rock Light, Philadelphia, May 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Leena Jaffer

Philadelphia (Schuylkill River) Lighthouses
* Turtle Rock
1887. Generally inactive, but a decorative light is displayed on special occasions. Approx. 30 ft (9 m) round cylindrical brick tower with hexagonal lantern and gallery, mounted atop a 1-story wing of a 2-story brick clubhouse. The tower is unpainted red brick, lantern and gallery painted white. Anderson has an excellent page with fine photos, Wikimedia has a 1972 photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has an aerial view and an excellent street view. The lighthouse was originally built by the Fairmount Park Commissioners to guide steamboat traffic. Restored by members of the Sedgeley Club in 1990. Located on the north bank of the river at the upstream end of Boathouse Row (15 Kelly Drive), downstream from the Girard Avenue Bridge (US 30) in Philadelphia. The Schuylkill River Trail bikeway also passes the lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Sedgeley Club. ARLHS USA-1088.
Schuylkill River Entrance Range Rear (3?)
Date unknown (station established 1879). Active; focal plane 64 ft (19.5 m); green light visible only on the range line, 2 s on, 2 s off. 59 ft (18 m) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower. Trabas has a photo, and Google has an aerial view and a distant street view. The front light is on a 33 ft (10 m) skeletal tower. Located on the east side of the Schuylkill about 0.4 mi (600 m) from the mouth, near the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Site status unknown. ARLHS USA-1207; Admiralty J1322.1; USCG 2-3420.
Delaware County Lighthouses
Chester (Schooner Ledge) Range Rear (3)
2001 (station established 1880). Active; focal plane 110 ft (33.5 m); continuous green light visible only on the range line. 105 ft (32 m) triangular cylindrical steel skeletal tower. Trabas has a photo, and Google has an aerial view. The 1880 lighthouse, a pyramidal skeletal cast iron tower, was replaced by an automated skeletal tower in 1918. The 1880 lighthouse was held in storage and then relocated to Michigan Island, Northern Wisconsin in 1929. The keeper's house survived until it burned in 1947. Located in a heavy industrial area in Eddystone, on the Delaware River just west of downtown Chester. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-741; Admiralty J1315.1; USCG 2-3235.
Chester (Schooner Ledge) Range Front (4?)
2001 (station established 1880). Active; focal plane 62 ft (19 m); green light visible only on the range line, 1 s on, 1 s off. 59 ft (18 m) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower. Trabas has a photo, and Google has an aerial view. The original light was atop a wooden tower. It was replaced (and apparently demolished) in 1909, when a change in the channel required a new light on a different location. Located on the riverfront in a heavy industrial area on the Delaware River just west of downtown Chester. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-169; Admiralty J1315; USCG 2-3230.

Notable faux lighthouses:

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: New Jersey | South: Delaware

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Posted December 9, 2001. Checked and revised May 3, 2014. Lighthouses: 4. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.