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Port Penn Range, DE  Lighthouse destroyed.   

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Port Penn Range Lighthouse

1875 – Liston's Tree ranges, Delaware Bay, Delaware.—By act approved March 3, 1875, an appropriation of $55,000 was made for two sets of range-lights at or near Liston's Tree, Delaware Bay. As the proper location for these ranges could only be determined by a careful survey, the Superintendent of the Coast Survey was requested to make it. As soon as it is completed steps will be taken to procure sites and erect the light-houses at as early a day as practicable.

1876 – Liston's Tree Ranges, Delaware.—At the date of last report the survey necessary to locate these ranges had not been made. It was, however, completed last season, and the points indicated for two sets of ranges. One, which marked the channel in the reach from Ship John Shoal to near Reedy Island, was located about 1 ½ miles below Port Penn. The other set, marking the reach passing Baker Shoal and Reedy Island, was located on the Delaware side above Liston's Point. The purchase of a site for the front light of this last range (which is on unreclaimed swamp, of little or no value) could not be effected, as the owner of the land demanded a price that the board considered exorbitant. It was found on further examination that this range could be placed on Finn's Point, on the New Jersey side. All the title-papers have been prepared and the titles approved by the Attorney-General. The designs for the four structures have been approved, and they are now under construction. The rear lights are to be iron structures 100 and 120 feet high, with keepers' dwellings attached. It is expected that both ranges can be lighted before winter.

1877 – On the Delaware side of the river, about 1 ¾ statute miles below Port Penn, distant from each other 1 ¾ miles. Lighted: April 2, 1877.

1877 – Liston’s Tree range-lights, Delaware Bay, Port Penn, Delaware, and Finn's Point, New Jersey. At the date of the last annual reports the erection of these lights was in progress. The front structures and keepers' dwellings were completed by the middle of December. The completion of the iron towers for the rear-lights was greatly delayed by the cold weather, and they were not finished until near the end of March. The lights were first exhibited on the night of April 2, 1877. Both the front lights are on land reclaimed from the tide, the one below Port Penn being upon the upper portion of a large reclaimed tract. A short lateral bank has been built to render the site independent of the long bank inclosing the entire marsh.

1879 – Port Penn Range-beacon (front), Delaware Bay, Delaware.—The embankment protecting the site has been repaired and raised higher and the outside slope pitched with stone, and the buildings and grounds that were damaged by the storm of October 23, 1878, repaired. The front part of the roof was painted red to make it a more conspicuous day-mark.

1880 – Port Penn Range-beacon (front), Delaware Bay, Delaware.—The top and inside slope of the river bank was paved with banking-stone, to protect it from the wash of the sea. The river fronts of the tower and lantern painted a bright red, to serve as a more prominent daymark.

1881 – Port Penn Range-beacon (front), below Port Penn, Delaware River, Delaware.— Repairs were made to the river-bank, a new- pump was placed in the cistern, and slight repairs were made to the doors.

1881 – Port Penn Range beacon (rear), below Port Penn, Delaware River Delaware.—The roadway at the station was repaired. The dwelling will be painted inside and out, and other necessary repairs will be attended to during the present season.

1883 – Port Penn Range-Beacon, (rear,) Delaware River, Delaware.—The iron tower was painted with coal-tar on the outside and various minor repairs were made.

1883 – Port Perm Range-Beacon, (front,) Delaware River, Delaware.— The boundaries of the site were marked with stone monuments, and various minor repairs were made.

1888 – Port Penn range-beacon (front), Delaware River, below Port Penn, Del.—A 4-inch well, 145 feet deep, was driven and furnished with a pump for supplying the station with water, and a new frame barn was built; the sluice and ditches were repaired and cleaned, a wire fence to keep out cattle was erected, and a new ground connection supplied to the lightning conductor.

1891 – Port Penn Range (rear), below Port Penn, Delaware River, Delaware.—Minor repairs were made to the drain, cistern, and dwelling and to the base of the tower. The frame barn was rebuilt.

1895 – Port Penn range (front), below Port Penn, Delaware River, Delaware.—The characteristic of the light was changed in February, 1895, from fixed white to fixed white during periods of 2 seconds, separated by eclipses of 1 second's duration. Minor repairs were made.

1895 – Port Penn range (rear), below Port Penn, Delaware River, Delaware.—New fences were built on the boundary line of the reservation.

1896 – Port Penn Range (front), Delaware River, Delaware.—About 300 running feet of the river bank was repaired and strengthened and various repairs were made.

1897 – Port Penn Range (front), below Port Penn, Delaware River, Delaware.—The attached kitchen was raised, releveled, and its foundation strengthened. The grounds around the house and barn were graded up to above storm-tide overflow, and the outbuildings were arranged in accordance. The oil was moved into a rough, detached shed, which is to be used until a fireproof structure can be provided.

1897 – Port Penn Range (rear), Delaware River, Delaware.—The dwelling was thoroughly overhauled. A kitchen and porch were added, a well, furnishing a full supply of good water, was sunk, house drains were dug, 180 feet of brick walks were laid, 350 feet of wire fence were erected around the house lot, barn entrances were provided, and road culverts were repaired. A detatched brick oil house was erected.

1898 – Port Penn Range (front), below Port Penn, Delaware River Delaware.—Plans and specifications were prepared and contract was made for erecting an addition and making repairs to the light-house. A detached brick oil house was built. Repairs were made.

1898 – Port Penn Range (rear), Delaware River, Delaware.—About 350 feet of division fence were built. Repairs were made.

1900 – Port Penn range (front), below Port Penn, Delaware River, Delaware.—The kitchen and dining-room addition to the light-house having settled, was raised to its original level and properly blocked up. Various minor repairs were made.

1900 – Port Penn range (rear), Delaware River, Delaware.—A double white-oak culvert was put under the road leading over the right of way to the station, and the adjacent roadbed was regraded. Various minor repairs were made.

1901 – Port Penn range, Delaware River, Delaware.—A survey of the shore end of the range was made. Various repairs were made. Congress, by the act approved June 6, 1900, authorized the reestablishment of this and the Reedy Island and Finns Point ranges at a cost not exceeding $90,000, and by the act approved March 3, 1901, appropriated $60,000 for this purpose. The Board now recommends that an appropriation of $30,000 be made for completing the reestablishment of these ranges

1902 – Port Penn Front, Delaware River, Delaware.—By act approved on June 28, 1902, an appropriation of $30,000 was made in addition to that appropriated by the act approved on March 3, 1901, for reestablishing this and the Reedy Island and Finns Point ranges on new sites. Negotiations were in progress for the purchase of a new reservation and right of way. Various repairs were made.

1902 – Port Penn Rear, Delaware River, Delaware.—The act approved on June 28, 1902 appropriated $30,000, in addition to that appropriated by the act approved on March 3,1901, for reestablishing this and the Reedy Island and Finns Point ranges on new sites. Negotiations were in progress with the land owners for the purchase of a new site and right of way. The culvert on the right of way to the station was replaced.

1903 — New Port Penn range front, Delaware River, Delaware.— Plans and specifications for an offshore station at the intersection of the New Finns Point and Port Penn ranges were prepared. A new reservation was purchased. Its boundaries were staked out and platted.

1905 — Port Penn, front, Delaware River, Delaware.—This light was discontinued on October 25, 1904, the date on which the Listons temporary range lights were first exhibited.

1905 — Port Penn, rear, Delaware River, Delaware.—This light was discontinued on October 25, 1904, the date on which the new Listons range lights were first exhibited.

1909 – Port Penn Rear Range Lighthouse was sold at auction from the steps of the Central Hotel, Delaware City on March 3, 1909 to John B. Craven of West Chester for $760. There was only one bidder for the property.

1911 – Port Penn Front Range Lighthouse sold at public auction on April 20, 1911.

Keepers:

  • Front: Henry C. Walter (1876 – 1885), George W. Duncan (1855 – 1904).
  • Rear: Benjamin Denny (1876 – 1889), Joseph H. Denny (1889 – 1904), Daniel Bailey (1904).

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