Thanks to Dr. Douglas Cameron, a retired professor from the University of Akron, for these photos of the lighthouse at Cape Horn, the southernmost point of the Americas. Dr. Cameron visited the cape in 2004 as part of a tour of Patagonia and Antarctica. The photos show the lighthouse as it appeared before 2006, when it was riased in height and attached to a new station building.
During the days of sail, when clipper ships beat their way around Cape Horn on their way to California or China, there was no light to help them avoid one of the world's most dangerous headlands. The light station we see here was built by the Chilean Navy in 1991. Although the tower was short, only 7 meters (23 feet) tall, the light was displayed 57 meters (187 feet) above the sea. (Since 2006, the tower has been 11 m (36 ft) tall, and the light is now displayed at 61.5 m (202 ft).) The station is staffed by rotating crews of naval personnel. If it is like the Faro Isla Guafo, visited by Adam Zaricki, the usual tour of duty would be four months.
The lighthouse stands in latitude 55º 57.9' south. There are aids to navigation even farther south--even in Antarctica--but this is the southernmost traditional lighthouse in the world.
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Posted March 12, 2004. Checked and revised May 26, 2017. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.