Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2018

Delaware’s Bellevue Lighthouse Added to Doomsday List

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Modern image of the Bellevue Range Rear ...

We have added the Bellevue Range Rear Lighthouse near Wilmington, Delaware to the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List of Endangered Lighthouses.

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Historic image of the Bellevue Range Rear ...

The black, cast iron pyramidal skeleton tower with a central cylinder is located on the Delaware River at the mouth of the Christina River in New Castle County, Delaware.

Built in 1909, its last keeper was William H. Johnson, who served there from 1919 to 1938 when the lighthouse was automated.

Interestingly, there was a father and son who were both keepers of the lighthouse at different times. William E. Spicer was the first keeper of the Bellevue Range Rear Lighthouse from 1909 to 1911, and he was followed by his son, Linwood Spicer, who was the keeper from 1911 to 1919. Shortly after leaving his post as the keeper of the Bellevue Range Rear Lighthouse, William S. Spicer passed away on May 6, 1912 and was buried in the Riverview Cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware.

Linwood Spicer, who had followed in his father’s footsteps, started his lighthouse career in 1901 as a 2nd assistant keeper at Delaware’s Fourteen Foot Bank Lighthouse. In 1904, he transferred to the Ship John Shoal Lighthouse in New Jersey where he stayed until 1905 when he transferred to East Point Lighthouse where he served until 1911. In 1919, Linwood Spicer became the head keeper at Delaware’s Marcus Hook Lighthouse where he served until his death at the age of 58 on November 12, 1930. He was buried near his father at the Riverview Cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware.

Because of the rising landfill, the lighthouse was discontinued and its light removed in 2001. In 2007, it was offered up for adoption and no one wanted it. Located next to a giant landfill probably makes it unsuitable for private ownership. If they were alive today, we can only wonder how the keepers would feel about the lighthouse that they once so proudly maintained.

Today, the future the Bellevue Range Rear Lighthouse looks dim.

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 2018 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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