Lighthouse Engineering Patterns: Early Brick Towers by Winslow Lewis

In addition to designing the Lewis Lamp system (a combination of an Argand lamp, metal reflector, and convex lens) and for a time having the contract to supply whale oil to every lighthouse in the United States, Winslow Lewis created the first standardized design for conical brick towers, with minor variants for different size towers up to 65 ft tall. These towers involved a spiral staircase around a central column - usually wood. The wall was often vertical on the inside and conical on the outside, but hollow in between. The towers all had "birdcage" style lanterns.

Winslow Lewis was contracted for construction of some of these towers, but not all of them. Even when he won the contract, Lewis often sub-contracted the work to another builder. Not all lighthouses Lewis was contracted were conical brick towers. At least some were Cape Cod Integrated and a few may have had unique designs.

Per a report by Rep. J. C. Clark of the House Committee on Commerce (dated 25 May 1842), Lewis was contracted for approximately 80 lighthouses of all types between 1828 and 1842.

This page is divided into three parts: those contracted by Winslow Lewis, those contracted by John Donahoo/Donahoe, and those contracted to someone else or where it is unknown who had the contract.

Winslow Lewis
First Lighted
Sapelo Island I GA 65 ft Winslow Lewis? 1820 1820 1905-1998 active replaced by a new lighthouse in 1905
restored and relighted in 1998
Cumberland Island GA 50 ft Winslow Lewis?   1820 1838 disassembled & moved rebuilt at Amelia Island
Little Cumberland Island GA 50 ft Joseph Hastings   1838   inactive privately owned
Mobile Point I AL 40 ft     1820 1861 destroyed during Civil War (1864)  
Cape Florida I FL 65 ft     1825 1836 demolished & replaced (1846) severely damaged during Second Seminole War
Nauset I (Three Sisters I) MA 15 ft     1837 1892 demolished triple lights; replaced by new wooden towers 1892
Cape Romain I SC 65 ft Winslow Lewis?   1827 1858 extant (without lantern) replaced by new lighthouse
Cat Island I MS 35 ft     1831 1861 demolished (1872) lantern moved to Tchefuncte River (1866?)
replaced after the war by a screwpile tower (1871)
Mosquito Inlet I FL 45 ft   1834-1835 never n/a destroyed (1836) never lighted due to a lack of oil
damaged by Seminoles in 1835, collapsed in a storm 1836
Ipswich Range MA       1838   not extant
Front Range replaced 1867
Rear Range replaced 1881
Amelia Island FL 50 ft   1838-1839 1839 n/a active rebuilt from Cumeberland Island
Chatham II MA 40 ft     1841 1877 destroyed (1878) twin lights; replaced by new iron lighthoues due to eroding bluff, which subsequently destroyed the old lighthouses
Dog Island I FL 50 ft     1839 1842 demolished? seriously damaged by hurricane
replaced by new lighthouse
Black River (Grandview) VA 30 ft     1829 1936 destroyed by hurricane (1956)  
Choctaw Point (Mobile) AL       1831 1862 not extant not reestablished after the Civil War
replaced by Battery Gladden Lighthouse
Pass Christian MS 30 ft     1831 1882 demolished  
South Pass LA     1831-1832 1832 1839 destroyed by storm (1841) discontinued due to damage from logs during a flood (1839)
replaced by new lighthouse
Southwest Pass LA     1831-1832 1832 1837 destroyed by erosion (1837) repalced by new lighthouse
St. George Island (Wess Pass) FL 65 ft     1833 1848 demolished (1848) material used to build Cape St. George Lighthouse
Barnegat I NJ     1834-1835 1835 1856 destroyed by erosion (1856) replaced by new lighthouse
Sand Island I AL 55 ft     1838 1858 demolished (1858) replaced by new lighthouse
Thomas Point II MD       1838 1875 destroyed by erosion (1894) reused material from Thomas Point I at new location
replaced by Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse
Mosquito Inlet I FL 45 ft   1834-1835 n/a n/a collapsed (1836) never lighted due to lack of oil
St. Joseph Bay FL 50 ft   1838 1839 1847 demolished (1847) material used to build Cape San Blas I
Eastern Point II MA 35 ft     1848 1890 demolished (1890) replaced by new lighthouse


John Donahoo/Donahoe
First Lighted
Turkey Point MD 40 ft   1832      
Cove Point MD 50 ft   1828      
Piney Point MD 30 ft 1836 Sep 1836 1964 extant  
Pooles Island MD 40 ft   1825 1939-2011 active  
Concord Point MD 30 ft 1827 1827 1975-1983 active  
Thomas Point I MD 30 ft   1825 1838   replaced by a new lghthouse
Lazaretto Point MD 30 ft   1831 1926 demolished (1926) replaced by skeletal beacon light (1926)
replica built 1985
Watts Island VA 40 ft   1833   destroyed by storm (1944)  

Note: John Donahoo also built the Blakistone Island Lighthouse, but it used a different design.


Other Lewis-Style
Contractor Supervisor
First Lighted
Wolf Island Rear Range I GA 25 ft unknown     1822 1863 destroyed during Civil War replaced by new range light
front range light was a 15 ft wooden octagonal tower
Ocracoke NC 65 ft Noah Porter     1823 n/a active  
Fort Gratiot
(Port Huron)
MI 65 ft Lucius Lyon     1829      
Roanoke Marshes I NC   Lucius Lyons   1831 1831 1839 not extant  
Assateague I VA 45 ft Noah Porter   1832-1833 1833 1867 not extant replaced by new lighthouse
West Sister Island OH 50 ft              
St. Marks I FL             extant lantern removed
Garden Key I (Dry Tortugas I) FL                
Tchefuncte River I LA 35 ft unknown     1837 1861 demolished (1867) foundation and some brick used in the construction of the replacement tower
St. Johns River I FL                
St. Johns River II FL                
Cape Lookout I NC                
Pensacola I FL