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United States lightship Portsmouth (LV-101)

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Title: United States lightship Portsmouth (LV-101)  
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Subject: Lightvessel, Portsmouth (disambiguation), Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

United States lightship Portsmouth (LV-101)

Career (USA)
Name: Portsmouth
Builder: Pusey & Jones
Laid down: 1915
Launched: 12 January 1916[1]
Acquired: 2 September 1916
Decommissioned: 23 March 1964
In service: 1916
Out of service: 1963
Identification: LV-101 (1916–1939)
WAL-524 (1939–)
Status: Museum ship
General characteristics
Type: Lightship
Displacement: 360 long tons (366 t)
Length: 101 ft 10 in (31.04 m)
Beam: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Draft: 11 ft 4 in (3.45 m)
Propulsion: Meitz & Weiss 4-cylinder kerosene engine, 200 hp (149 kW)
Speed: 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)
Armament: None
Lightship No. 101, Portsmouth
Location Portsmouth, Virginia
Built 1916
Architect Pusey & Jones Lightship; US Lighthouse Establishment
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 89001080[2]
VLR # 124-0102
Significant dates
Added to NRHP 5 May 1989
Designated NHL 5 May 1989[3]
Designated VLR March 19, 1997[4]

United States Lightship 101, known as Portsmouth, was first stationed at Cape Charles, Virginia. Today she is at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum in Portsmouth, Virginia. Portsmouth never had a lightship station, however when the vessel was dry docked there as a museum, she took on the pseudo-name, Portsmouth.


Lightship Portsmouth (LV-101) was built in 1915 by Pusey & Jones. She first served as Charles in the Chesapeake Bay outside Cape Charles, Virginia from 1916 until 1924. After that assignment Portsmouth served just over a year as the relief ship for other lightships in her district. She was then moved to Overfalls, Delaware, where she was stationed from 1926 to 1951 as Overfalls. In 1939 when the United States Lighthouse Service was absorbed into the United States Coast Guard she was reclassified WAL-524, but still kept a station name on her hull. During World War II the vessel was not armed, however many other lightships were. In 1951 LV-101/WAL 524 was reassigned to Stonehorse Shoal, Massachusetts, where she served until decommissioned in 1963. The lightship then sat in harbor at Portland, Maine, until her fate had been decided.

On 3 September 1964 LV-101 was donated to the City of Portsmouth, Virginia, to become a part of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum. Portsmouth was dry docked at the London Pier in Portsmouth. Although she was never stationed there, she has taken on the city's name. In 1989, Portsmouth was designated a National Historic Landmark and is open for visitation.

Name and station assignments

  • Charles, Cape Charles, Virginia (1916–1924)
  • Relief, Relief 5th District (1925–1926)
  • Overfalls, Overfalls, Delaware (1926–1951)
  • Stonehorse Shoal, Stonehorse Shoal, Massachusetts (1951–1963)

Other lightships of Chesapeake Bay


  1. ^ "Vessel Designation: LV 101 / WAL 524". U.S. Coast Guard Lightships & Those of the U.S. Lighthouse Service. United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 2009-12-16. 
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  3. ^ """Lightship No. 101 "Portsmouth. National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  4. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  • Foster, Kevin J. (5 August 1988). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form / Lightship No. 101" (pdf). National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 

External links

  • Lightship Portsmouth
  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum
  • Chesapeake Bay Lighthouse Project - Lightship Portsmouth
  • Lightship Overfalls
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