For more than two centuries, lighthouses have helped sailors find their way through treacherous waters, guiding them home or taking them safely through passages on their way to adventure. These historic towers and houses form a sparkling chain of lights along our coasts, a reminder of the past echoing with adventure and mystery, a lure for travelers looking for a glimpse into a romantic past.
Completely revised and updated, American Lighthouses offers more than just a tour of 450 beautiful and historic navigational beacons dotting the coasts and lakes of the United States. This fully illustrated, one-of-a-kind handbook details their history and architecture and provides full information on visiting or viewing them. Included are many endangered lights, threatened by erosion or lack of funding, as well as “ghost lights,” which are no longer standing.
Lighthouses of the Mid-Atlantic Coast: Your Guide to the Lighthouses of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia
Interest in the history and preservation of lighthouses has never been stronger. Lighthouses of the Mid-Atlantic Coast details the history of lighthouses and much more, and shows why these structures continue to fascinate us. Discover what life for lighthouse keepers was really like. Learn about the history of U.S. colonial lighthouses and the role lighthouses have played in several wars. Meet the brave, nefarious, and colorful characters who served as lighthouse keepers and government overseers. Learn about lighthouse technology and architecture and find out how these treasures are being preserved.
“Combin[es] matters of biography, science, engineering, technology, art, history, economics and politics seemingly effortlessly and definitely seamlessly. An excellent book and a joy to read.”—Henry Petroski, Wall Street JournalAugustin Fresnel (1788–1827) shocked the scientific elite with his unique understanding of the physics of light. The lens he invented was a brilliant feat of engineering that made lighthouses blaze many times brighter, farther, and more efficiently. Battling the establishment, his own poor health, and the limited technology of the time, Fresnel was able to achieve his goal of illuminating the entire French coast. At first, the British sought to outdo the new Fresnel-equipped lighthouses as a matter of national pride. Americans, too, resisted abandoning their primitive lamps, but the superiority of the Fresnel lens could not be denied for long. Soon, from Dunkirk to Saigon, shores were brightened with it. The Fresnel legacy played an important role in geopolitical events, including the American Civil War. No sooner were Fresnel lenses finally installed along U.S. shores than they were drafted: the Union blockaded the Confederate coast; the Confederacy set about thwarting it by dismantling and hiding or destroying the powerful new lights.
Levitt’s scientific and historical account, rich in anecdote and personality, brings to life the fascinating untold story of Augustin Fresnel and his powerful invention.