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The oldest lighthouse officially recognized by the United States federal government is the Cape Henry Lighthouse. This lighthouse (actually two lighthouses, and Old and a New) is situated in Virginia Beach in the state of Virginia. The Cape Henry Lighthouse was the first lighthouse authorized by the US government in 1792, as it was the first federal construction project.

The Cape Henry Lighthouses have been indispensable structures for ocean traffic and safety for centuries. The Old Lighthouse guided many oceangoing ships and small vessels in and out of the Chesapeake Bay. Concerns about the Old Lighthouse?s structural safety led to the construction of the New Cape Henry Lighthouse in 1881. This black-and-white patterned lighthouse is still in use today. The old lighthouse was acquired by Preservation Virginia in 1930. It was declared a National Historic Landmark on January 29, 1964.
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