Middle Ground Lighthouse
Located in the harbor of Hampton Roads
offshore from the City of Newport News
This lighthouse is often called the Middle Ground Light. The Middle Ground is an "L" shaped shoal in the middle of the harbor. Hampton Roads is one of the busiest harbors in the world serving both international commercial cargo ships and the U.S. Navy. Completed in 1891, this red 52-foot conical tower sits on a caisson and has a three story keeper's quarters. It was hit by a ship in 1979 which knocked out some of the first-level decking and caused the caisson foundation to leak. Major and minor repairs were made in the early 1980's, but the caisson still has its problems. Automated in October 1954, it had a 6 second equal interval white light with a fourth-order Fresnel lens. In 2000, after being extinguised for a few years, it received a brighter red light thus continuing this lighthouse's service as an active aid to navigation. Its concrete-filled caisson is 26 feet in diameter. The Coast Guard has auctioned off some of Virginia's lighthouses in 2005. This lighthouse was sold at auction to Bob Gonsoulin of Williamsburg, Virginia for $31,000. Although it is now in private hands, the USCG will continue to maintain the light apparatus.
New photos courtesy of LCDR Richard Condit, USCG Group Hampton Roads
HOW TO SEE IT
If you don't have access to a boat, it can be viewed at a distance from Monitor-Merrimack Overlook Park on 16th Street near downtown Newport News.
A great view of the light is from the Monitor-Merrimac (I-664) Bridge-Tunnel as you drive north. But please keep in mind that you are not supposed to stop except for emergencies.
1994 USGS Satellite image of the Middle Ground Lighthouse
courtesy of Microsoft TerraServer