Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks


Sara E. Wermiel (Author)


The fourth title in the Norton/Library of Congress series, this abundantly illustrated book conveys the romance and beauty of lighthouses and beacons while explaining the development of the forms, materials, architecture, and engineering of their structure: wood, masonry, cast-iron plate, on- and off-shore skeletal, caisson, and reinforced concrete.

It covers lighthouses from all parts of the United States from the late eighteenth century to the 1940s, when control of the lighthouses was transferred to the Coast Guard and after which few new ones were constructed. Images of lighthouses from coast to coast provide examples of striking design and setting as well as celebrating technological achievement and the work of important engineers include associated structures such as keepers’ quarters, fog signal buildings, boathouses and boat railroads, cistern buildings, barns, and workshops, as well as interiors and working details of the light mechanisms.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • December 2006
  • ISBN 978-0-393-73166-8
  • 8.9 × 11.5 in / 360 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“[A] splendid book for anyone with an interest in the way America built her lighthouses” — The Victorians

“[F]ull of fascinating examples of how a functional building type can be turned into something more ambitious.” — Building Design

“[C]onveys the romance and beauty of lighthouses and beacons while explaining…forms, materials, architecture, and engineering of their structure.” — Frances J. Folsom, The Maine Switch

“Few buildings are as iconic…and no book to come along so far does as good a job as Sara Wermiel’s.” — O Scale Trains Magazine

“[F]or readers who want to study lighthouses as much as admire them.” — John J. Miller, The Wall Street Journal

“[A]ttractively presented...For those interested in these iconic structures, this is a must.” — Mike Chrimes, Newcomen Society Transactions

“Each page is a tribute to the majesty of these solemn beacons…. This book should be prominently displayed in every beach house, or would make a great gift for the sailor (or wannabe) in your life. But be prepared to lose your guest for a few hours to this fascinating book on history and lighthouses!” — Portland Book Review

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