The tower of the old Cape Henry Lighthouse still stands, gaunt and silent, perched atop a dominating sand dune at the edge of the sea at the junction of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Though its light is gone and repairs would be helpful, it continues as a noted, familiar and ancient landmark. Such it has been since its construction was begun in 1791.
A lone tower surrounded by water and rip rap, the lighthouse at New Point Comfort has weathered a constantly shifting shoreline as well as occupation by enemy troops in two wars. That the tower has survived for nearly two centuries is truly remarkable. The tenth oldest intact lighthouse in our nation, it was once part of an onshore station first lit in 1805.
The town of Cape Charles was a busy seaport in the 19th century. On May 18, 1826, Congress appropriated $40,000 to construct a lighthouse on Smith Island, just off Cape Charles, VA. This island marks the northern side of the entrance into Chesapeake Bay. The light station was named Cape Charles.