The original lighthouse
site was first lit on October 28, 1850.
The lighthouse replaced a lightship that had marked
the shoal since
1823. The 1850 lighthouse the first screwpile
lighthouse to be
constructed in the United States. In 1914 it was
replaced by the
current caisson type lighthouse. The light was
automated in 1974.
Within the last couple of years it has been converted
to solar power.
Brandywine Shoal Lightship
Early government records refer to this lightship as
Floating Light #1
or Lightboat #1. It was stationed on Brandywine Shoal from
and was replaced by the Brandywine Shoal Lighthouse. The
anchored about 1 mile west of the Brandywine Shoal and
eastern edge of the channel. Lightship "N" was the only
vessel to be
stationed there. She was built in 1823 in New York,
probably by Henry
Eckford, and was 72' long with a 20' beam and of about 120
She had two masts, and displayed at fixed white light on
at 42' and on the mainmast at 45'. She had a hand operated
drawings of her have yet been found.
An 1838 report by William D. Porter, Lieutenant, U.S.N.,
Fifteen years old; very much out of
thorough repairs. The cause of rot in our lightvessels can
attributed to the following causes: want of care and
ventilation, and the mephitic vapor arising from
bilgewater. All the
caused can be obviated by the use of the common windsail
(or tin or
copper ventilators) and the inverted bellows, as used on
vessels of the Navy, which has proved of decided benefit
the noxious vapors arising in a ship's hold."
After her service at Brandywine Shoal, the vessel was
Minots Ledge in Massachusetts for four years. Her next
station was at
Cross Rip, Massachusetts, after which she served a short
stint on Five
Fathom Bank (1855). She was retired in 1859.