A Legendary Beacon Turns 150

by Dave on October 15, 2009

“Notice is hereby given that a new tower at Fenwicks Island, Delaware, is finished and that a light will be exhibited therefrom for the first time at sunset on the evening of Monday, the first day of August next, and will be kept burning during the night, and every night thereafter, from sunset to sunrise.” – from a message posted inside the Fenwick Lighthouse dated December 29, 1858.

And so began the life of a beacon that will be the centerpiece of a celebration of all things Fenwick Island over the first week of August, highlighted by the 150th anniversary of that lighting on Sunday, August 1st and ending with National Lighthouse Day on August 7th and a Festival in the Park on August 8th.

The lighthouse itself located at the corner of 146th street & Lighthouse Avenue, will be feted on Saturday, where various historians, artists and authors will gather to share art and stories about the lighthouse.

Fenwick Island Town Manager Win Abbott says the town is robust with activity leading up to the event.

“Many people have brought their personal photo collections and mementos to the Town Hall for display,” says Abbott. “Others have offered to have their houses be a part of the ‘walking tour’ of historic homes and businesses.”

On Saturday August 8th, Mayor Audrey Serio will kick-off festivities in the Town Park at 10am. Live music and refreshments in the park will be complimented by “Living History” in the adjacent Town Hall. Mary Pat Kyle will be on-hand to sign copies of her book “Fenwick Island, Delaware: A Brief History”. Lt. Colonel “Sonny” Long, Fenwick’s first lifeguard, will be telling stories about the early days at noon. Former Councilman Harry Haon will be sharing stories about Fenwick Island’s Colonel Schultz from the South Pacific during World War II. And the day will conclude with a raffle drawing for a unique framed collage of historical photos from Fenwick Island.

For a full rundown of the activities, click here to visit FenwickIslandLighthouse.org. Or stop by the Fenwick Island Lighthouse on Saturday for the festivities.

This article first appeared in Coastal Sussex Weekly, July 30, 2009.

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