Digest>Archives> June 2002

New Chapter in Delaware Bay Lighthouse History

By Bob Trapani, Jr.


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Senior Chief Dennis Dever at the Harbor of Refuge ...
Photo by: Bob Trapani

On April 1, 2002, the pages to a new and exciting chapter in Delaware Bay lighthouse history were turned when the United States Coast Guard granted a twenty-year lease of Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse, Delaware, to the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation.

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The Harbor of Refuge Light in Delaware.
Photo by: Bob Trapani, Jr

The U.S. Coast Guard, who has developed a fine working relationship with the DRBLHF, is very excited about working with the group wherever possible. Senior Chief Dennis Dever, Officer in Charge of the Aids to Navigation Team, Cape May, NJ, states, “The lease on Harbor of Refuge Light is a great thing in that the DRBLHF can make positive restoration progress, possibly even recreate an old active Coast Guard light station. The Coast Guard today simply could not do this on our own with such limited resources. The DRBLHF, like other organizations who truly want to preserve a lighthouse, is stepping up to the plate and making it happen.”

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DRBLHF 1st VP Michael DiPaulo, President Bob ...
Photo by: by Ann-Marie Trapani

DRBLHF is currently working to hire a marine structural engineer to formulate an engineering plan that achieves the stabilization, preservation and restoration of the lighthouse. The long-term goal of the DRBLHF is to open the lighthouse for educational programming and tours based on a specific era in the light’s storied history. In addition, the organization will seek to blend the history of Harbor of Refuge with the State of Delaware’s maritime heritage and that of the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the U.S. Coast Guard. Senior Chief Dever summed up the importance of lighthouse preservation by saying, “Taking care of lighthouses is a great thing in that they are a timeless constant in the history of our country and in our local areas. As people, styles and events come and go, the lighthouse remains. A lighthouse is the first thing mariners see approaching land and the last thing they watch departing to sea. A lighthouse is always in the background tolerating its surroundings. Interest in preservation ensures the lighthouse remains stable while the world continues to evolve.”

To learn more about the efforts of the DRBLHF, you can contact them at: The Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation, P.O. Box 708, Lewes, DE 19958. Phone: 302-644-7046. Or visit them on the web at:


This story appeared in the June 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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