Dead Sentinels: 10 Stunning Abandoned Lighthouses

MJG Featured Story, Lighthouses, World Ruins 9 Comments

Lighthouses are the sentinels of globalization; for thousands of years they have stood on barren shores the world over and guided the spreading hands of global trade, keeping unknown seafarers and their precious cargoes safe in the night. Now they are dying, as modern technology renders them obsolete. Without people to maintain them, they slowly come to pieces: their lights no longer shine, their bodies crumble and decay. They are curios and museum pieces for tourists to explore. Here are 10 from around the world. 1. Rubjerg-Knude lighthouse, Denmark Construction of the Rubjerg-Knude lighthouse in Jutland, Denmark straddled the last …

Abandoned Lighthouses 10. Fish Fluke Point

MJG Canada, Lighthouses, World Ruins 3 Comments

The Grand Harbor Lighthouse on Fish Fluke Point, Ross Island Canada, was built in 1879, a square wooden tower 32-feet tall with the Keeper’s dwelling attached. Its fixed-white catoptric light was visible for 11 miles in clear weather. It was closed in 1963 when a replacement lighthouse went up on the nearby Ingalls Head breakwater, then smashed hard by the Groundhog Day Gale in 1976. It has not been repaired since, prompting calls by locals and lighthouse aficionados for ownership to be transferred to a more dutiful custodian. Looking out over the Bay, white wooden boards battered grey. Image from …

Abandoned Lighthouses 9. Ship John Shoal

MJG Lighthouses, USA, World Ruins 1 Comment

Construction of the Ship John Shoal Lighthouse in Delaware Bay took 27 years, from a decision by the US Congress in 1850 that a light was needed, through various incarnations of caisson-foundations, screw-pile roots, 2000 tons of rip-rap, and a temporary anchored lightship, to placement of the completed iron tower in 1877. The lighthouse went unmanned in 1973, and as recently as last month (June 2011) it was declared no longer necessary by the Coast Guard and made available for public sale. Ship John Shoal sitting on a heap of concrete and rip-rap. Image by Nick Zelinski. The Shoal upon …

Abandoned Lighthouses 8. Aniva Rock

MJG Lighthouses, Russia, World Ruins 19 Comments

The Aniva lighthouse was built by the Japanese in 1939, on a chunk of rock off the southern coast of Sakhalin, a thin 950 km long island situated just east of Russia, between the sea of Japan and Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk. The island was largely uninhabited until the 1800’s, when both Japan and Russia became interested in annexing it; the Russians for use as a penal colony. Almost a fairy-tale castle on the water. That led to years of conflict, retrenchment, and buildup of military forces, with both nations agreeing to split the island across the 50th parallel. A …

Abandoned Lighthouses 7. Capo d’Otranto

MJG Italy, Lighthouses, World Ruins 3 Comments

The Capo d’Otranto lighthouse was built in 1867, situated at Italy’s most eastern point, marking the point where the Ionian and Adriatic Seas meet. It was abandoned in the 1970’s, but restored and reopened to tourists in 2008, where it hosts the Centre on Environment and Health of the Mediterranean ecosystems and a multimedia museum of the sea. Prior to restoration, in crumbling and colorless condition. Italy’s easternmost point. The 32 m (105 ft) tall round stone lighthouse rises from a 2-story keeper’s house, the tip of which requires advance booking on New Year’s eve, when many Italians flood to …

Abandoned Lighthouses 6. Klein Curacao

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The Klein Curacao (‘Little Curacao’) lighthouse was first built in 1850, on a tiny spit of land 11km off the southeastern tip of Curacao in the Caribbean Sea. It’s exactly the kind of place that Jack Sparrow would have pranced around. Now it is hollowed out, crumbling rapidly, and nominated for endangered status, despite being rebuilt once in 1879 and again in 1913. White masonry tower, red brick keeper’s dwellings. Image from Philip Stevenson Located on a barren flat of rock and low scrub.? Image from Luciano Gollini The 20m (66ft) tall lighthouse tower is abandoned, along with the two …

Abandoned Lighthouses 5. Grand Isaac Cay

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The lighthouse on Great Isaac Cay, a small island in the Bahamas around 20 miles north-east of the Bimini Islands, was built in 1859 to guide trade-ships carrying exports of sun-dried sea salt from Inagua, rum from Nassau, and aragonite lime-stone to markets in the US. The lighthouse, though scoured by the sea and surrounded by the tumbledown buildings of the keeper’s house, is actually still in operation as an unmanned light. A tiny island not even visible on Google maps. Local lore tells of ghostly noises swelling about the lighthouse during a full moon- apparently the spectres of a …

Abandoned Lighthouses 4. Mogadishu

MJG Lighthouses, Somalia, World Ruins 2 Comments

The crumbling Italian lighthouse perched on the edge of Mogadishu’s Old Harbor was built over a century ago, and abandoned some 20 years ago as trade dried up and the failed state of Somalia descended into a home for extreme jihad and piracy. Now it stands as a reminder of the spectacular city Mogadishu once was, a bullet-pocked shell left to rot as a haven for homeless fishermen and qat-junkies. A view across Mogadishu’s Old Harbor to the Indian Ocean. Image from “[The lighthouse’s] spiral staircase is in a state of mid-collapse. Its hollowed-out rooms smell of sea rot and …

Abandoned Lighthouses 3. Tillamook Rock

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The Tillamook Rock Light was built in 1881 on a rock off Oregon coast called Tillamook Head. It was born in blood; with its grand opening overshadowed by a nearby shipwreck just days before its guardian gas-light was lit. 16 people died when the barque Lupatia wrecked on the rocks in a storm, proving the necessity of a lighthouse there. Tillamok Rock. Image from Wikipedia. Due to the extensive surveying and blasting necessary to build a lighthouse on the Tillamook sea-crag, combined with the erratic weather conditions, it was the most expensive West Coast lighthouse ever built. It soon became …

Abandoned Lighthouses 2. Talacre Beach

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The ‘Point of Ayr’ lighthouse has stood on Talacre Beach in Wales in various incarnations since 1776, watching over ships make the trek across Liverpool Bay from the Welsh town of Lllandudno. Abandoned since 1840, it has lived through numerous cycles of disrepair and refurbishment, with the latest reconstruction in 1994, leaving it a cheery red and white candy-pole on the beach, framed by the nearby offshore wind-farm. Point of Ayr on Talacre Beach, North Wales. Image from Richard John Linnett. White and red in the distance. Beginning another cycle of decay; the white paint peels away. Image from Adrian …