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10 Abandoned Lighthouses Around The World

Interest November 1, 2017 By Vincent

Towering constructions along coastal areas designed to be giant, shining beacons that signal to ships they are close to land or rocks so as to stop them from running aground. However, with greater technology and the advent of flight, fewer and fewer lighthouses are in use, with many being taken down or put to other use.

Some, however, are abandoned and remain as crumbling monuments to a bygone age where commerce and trade came via the seas and had to be protected at all costs. Here we look at some of these lighthouses from across the globe.

1. Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse - Denmark

In Northern Denmark, the town of Rudbjerg sits on the coast of the North Sea and the lighthouse sits on the sandy beach of this town. Built in 1899, the lighthouse was operational right up until August 1968 until it was deemed no longer necessary. The buildings of the lighthouse were then latterly used as a museum and a coffee shop.

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Alas, shifting sands and coastal erosion are a problem in the area and the buildings had to be abandoned in 2002 and then taken down in 2009 leaving only the tower of the lighthouse which, itself, is expected fall into the sea by 2023.

2. Kiipsaare Lighthouse - Estonia

Built in 1933, the Kiipsaare lighthouse was intended to warn mariners in the Baltic sea about the dangers in the terrain and was originally built just 100 meters from the coastline but changes to the land have seen the lighthouse become further away from it and it now stands in sea waters. 

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As this supporting ground has eroded or shifted away, storms and sea waves have battered the tower causing it to lean rather dramatically and yet, from 1992 to 2009, the lighthouse functioned as a daymark but this is no longer the case.

3. Lighthouse in Klein Curacao - Curacao

Klein Curacao is a tiny island that belongs to the Carribean nation of Curacao and is a very popular spot with divers and snorkelers looking for the natural treasures of the surrounding oceans but the island itself houses a 66ft-tall lighthouse that was put there in 1879, destroyed by a hurricane, and rebuilt in 1913.

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Once again in disrepair, the lighthouse remains along with its buildings that were abandoned many decades ago but, due to the wonder of new technologies, solar panels keep the beacon glowing.

4. Lighthouse of Ponta dos Capelinhos - Azores

On the island of Faial in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, the lighthouse sits where it always has since being built in 1894 but when, in 1957, the nearby Capelinhos volcano erupted the lighthouse was abandoned as the volcano kept spewing dangerous ash and lava for a whole year destroying the surrounding buildings.

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The first floor of the lighthouse remains covered in ash and the area and landscape have been preserved with a visitor center opening in 2008.

5. Southerness Lighthouse - Scotland

Along the rugged, and sometimes perilous, coastline of Western Scotland, the Southerness Lighthouse is the second oldest lighthouse in Scotland and was built 55-feet tall in 1749 to serve as a beacon for shipping in the Solway Firth but didn't have a light until1800.

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Serving the coastline for over 100 years, it was decommissioned in 1936 but now is recognized as a historic landmark.

6. Talacre Point of Ayr Lighthouse - Wales

Another lighthouse from Britain, this lighthouse in Wales was built in 1776 with a dual purpose. The first light of the lighthouse was aimed at shipping out to sea and warned ships of the sandbanks in the region and acted as a bearing for the great port of Liverpool to the northeast.  The other illuminated the mouth of the River Dee.

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Decommissioned in 1844, the lighthouse remains a popular landmark but has been put up for sale in recent years but a lack of offers may come from the fact that locals believe it to be haunted, with eerie lights and a figure dressed in old lighthouse keeper clothes has been sighted.

7. Tillamook Rock Light - Oregon, USA

A mile off of the Oregon coast, the Tillamook Rock light was the most expensive West Coast lighthouse ever built at the time of its construction in 1881 but being constantly slammed by the waves of the sea, 20 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River did it no good and in 1934, a storm in sent basalt fragments weighing 100 pounds crashing through the tower glass.

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As such, it was deemed too expensive and too dangerous to operate and thus decommissioned and replaced by a whistle buoy in 1957. In the 1980s, it briefly operated as a columbarium for public display of the ashes of the deceased but it was shut down by the state board as the owners had not kept accurate records.

8. Waugoshance Light - Michigan, USA

Built in 1850 on the Great Lakes of Michigan, this lighthouse stands on the approach to the Straits of Mackinac marking out a dangerously shallow area of water. With walls five and a half feet thick and a birdcage lantern, it was extremely impressive in its heyday.

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It was eventually replaced by the White Shoals lighthouse in 1912 and has stood dormant ever since.

9. Malmok Lighthouse - Bonaire

Bonaire is an island municipality of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean and at its Northernmost point sits the Malmok Lighthouse which was built in 1906 with a dual purpose in mind as it also acted as a meteorological station. The light, however, was never lit as it was deemed too close to the sea.

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The Seru Bentana, located nearby was built to replace it and struck by lightning during a storm in 1954, the Malmok lighthouse burned down leaving it in ruins.

10. Great Isaac Cay Lighthouse - Bahamas

Built for the Great London Exposition of 1862, the lighthouse was then shipped, brick by brick to a tangled nightmare of inlets, islets, shoals and reefs where coral sits just below the surface of the water and so the lighthouse went on to prove incredibly useful, especially since traffic between Florida and the islands was fairly regular.

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Fully operational, it was manned right up until 1969 when its last two lighthouse keepers vanished without a trace with many speculating they had become the victim of a hurricane that swept through the area. Now automated, parts of it are in disrepair.

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