Buck Island Light, U.S. Virgin Islands

The Buck Island lighthouse is located on an island 2 miles southwest of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The lighthouse has been inactive and abandoned for a number of years, replaced by a steel skeletal tower. In late 2003 the Coast Guard was in the process of nominating the site for the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, the Coast Guard has declared the light station to be excess property, and the General Services Administration is in the process of transferring it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which owns the rest of the island as the Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge.

For a long time there were no photos of this light station on the Internet. I'd like to thank Joost Keesing for his long-distance photo at right and Kebby Kelley of the USCG Environmental Management Division for the closeup photo at the bottom of the page, which was taken in September 2003. Based on the latter photo, Lighthouse Digest added Buck Island Light to its Doomsday List in April 2004.


Photo copyright Joost Keesing. Used by permission.

U.S. Coast Guard Historian photo, undated

Ms. Kelley has also provided the following historical information:

The Buck Island Light Station in St. Thomas was built in Danish Colonial style in 1913. It is a twenty-five foot high truncated square steel tower located on Buck Island, which is about two miles off the western coast of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, near the port of Charlotte Amalie. It is the older of two towers situated on a 0.92-acre site located at the top of a high plateau on the northeast corner of the Island. It was owned by Denmark at the time of the transfer of the Danish West Indies to the United States in 1919. The lighthouse and improvements were conveyed to the United States from the Harbor Board of St. Thomas on July 29, 1919. The light was in use until the mid 1990s when a modern tower was built near the property. The original Buck Island Light was then deactivated. A new steel light tower, built in the mid-1990s, stands approximately 50 feet NW of the older light.

Finally, here's what the site looks like today:


USCG photo, September 2003, courtesy of Kebby Kelley

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Revised and updated November 30, 2016. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.