Trivia Questions about Lighthouses:
1. What state in America had the first lighthouse?
- New York
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
2. Who was the first lighthouse keeper in America?
- Richard ("Risky Ricky") Fresnel
- George Worthylake
- Samuel Danforth Peri
- Edgar Shoals
- Benjamin Franklin
3. Most lighthouses in early America were privately or state owned. When was the first federally funded lighthouse built?
- December 25, 1779
- June 12, 1785
- November 5, 1796
- July 4, 1826
(Answers at bottom of this page)
Answers to Trivia Questions about Lighthouses:
1. (d) Massachusetts
In 1716 the first lighthouse in America, "Boston Light," was erected in Boston Massachusetts on Little Brewster Island (or Beacon Island). In July 1775 when the British controlled Boston Harbor American troops burned the lighthouse tower, its flames "ascending up to Heaven, like grateful incense," as one eyewitness put it. Had the colonists not torched the tower, it would be the oldest lighthouse in America today. But since it was rebuilt in 1783, it became the second oldest. New Jersey's Sandy Hook Light, built in 1764, is the oldest.
2. (b) George Worthylake
The first lighthouse keeper was George Worthylake who died 286 years ago today on November 3,1718. Returning from a short trip to the mainland to collect his pay ($250/year--today's equivalent of $16,000) Worthylake and his family drowned when their sloop capsized not far from shore. They were laid to rest in a triple grave at Copp Hill which overlooks Boston Harbor. At the funeral a 12-year old local boy who had written a poem about the disaster called "The Lighthouse Tragedy," took part in the eulogy. The boy was Benjamin Franklin.
3. (a) November 5, 1796
The Lighthouses Act of 1789 signed into law by President Washington placed the responsibility for the nation's lighthouses in federal hands. On November 5, 1796, Montauk Point lighthouse on Long Island became the first lighthouse in America fully funded by the federal government.