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Virginia Historic Site
Smith Point is the southernmost point of the Potomac River, a location that has been vulnerable to erosion, storms, and war.
As early as 1802, Thomas Jefferson appointed a lighthouse keeper to manage the lighthouse at Smith Point. Erosion threatened the lighthouse, and in 1808 it was replaced with a lighthouse further inland. But that proved not to work well; in 1828 it was replaced with a third lighthouse. Eventually, a lightship was set up. During the Civil War, it was destroyed. A new lighthouse was finally built in 1896--this one lasted until 1936.
The Smith Point Light was automated in 1971. In 2005, the lighthouse was sold to a private owner for $170,000. It remains in active use. It is located 2.5 miles east of Smith Point, Va. and is accessible only by boat.