Division’s museums now open for self-guided tours by appointment More Info
The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs recently completed painting and repair work at the Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse located on the inner breakwater in the harbor of Lewes, Del. The work, which began in the summer of 2020, included repair of a concrete pylon, restoration or replacement of windows including those in the light tower, removal of old paint and rust, and repainting the entire exterior of the structure including its iron work and concrete foundation.
About the Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse …
In 1825, Congress authorized the construction of a breakwater at the mouth of the Delaware Bay off Cape Henlopen in order to create a safe harbor for ships seeking refuge during storms. Begun in 1828 and completed in 1841, the Delaware Breakwater was a two-part structure comprised of a breakwater and an icebreaker pier. In 1897, the open space between these two sections was closed. Due to an increase in the size and number of ships seeking refuge in Breakwater Harbor, Congress authorized the construction of a 2nd breakwater approximately 1.25 miles to the northeast of the Delaware Breakwater on a shoal known as “The Shears.” Completed in 1901, this new, outer breakwater created a much larger and deeper safe harbor called the National Harbor of Refuge.
Located on the original inner breakwater, the Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse was completed in 1885. The red-brown conical structure is 22 feet in diameter at the base with a 45-foot-tall tower. It was decommissioned in 1996 and was formally conveyed by the United States government to the State of Delaware in 1999. It is as contributing resource of the Delaware Breakwaters and Lewes Harbor, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and the National Harbor of Refuge and Delaware Breakwater Harbor Historic District, listed in the National Register in 1989.