In the early days of ocean commerce, ships relied almost solely upon beacons of landward light to avoid mishap upon the rocky shoals and sandbars of treacherous coastlines. The establishment of coastal lighthouses was an important factor in avoiding said fate and many of their lights continue to protect and direct vessels to this day. The historic and striking Assateague Lighthouse is counted among their number.
Before 1833 there were no such guiding lights along the Atlantic Coast between Cape Henlopen, on Delaware Bay, and Cape Charles, on Chesapeake Bay. As commerce grew, so, too did the necessity of such a guidepost. In 1830, Congress appropriated money for a lighthouse halfway between these two important ports and, in 1832, Assateague Island was chosen for the honor.
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