A Guiding Light

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A view of the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse from the southeast, January 15, 1926. Since 1767, the lighthouse guided sailors but was unable to withstand the onslaught of the ocean. This photograph was taken three months before it fell into the Atlantic Ocean

A Guiding Light

Once the second oldest lighthouse on the East Coast, the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse was built by the British government during the 1760s. During the American Revolution, it was almost completely destroyed by a British Naval force, but was restored after the war was over. A similar incident involving the British took place during the War of 1812. As early as 1788, it was reported that the land under the lighthouse was being undermined by the waters of the Atlantic. By 1924, it was evident that the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse would not be able to hold back the sea from destroying it and the light itself was removed to another tower. Although there was a growing movement to preserve the historic structure, the lighthouse eventually toppled into the Atlantic Ocean in 1926.

The State Board of Agriculture was also involved with promoting the economic development of Delaware. From 1922 to 1938, photographs were taken to use in promotional publications. Not only does the collection include agriculture related photos, but a variety of subjects from bridges to town scenes and recreation. The Dover area is especially well represented. Many of these photographs pertain to the poultry and fruit industries.