Photo by Russell Trow/FlickrCC

By Anika Burgess/Atlas Obscura

Sometime around 1919 (reports vary as to the exact date), the Rubicon Point Lighthouse shut down.

During its brief existence, having been completed just three years earlier, in 1916, it illuminated the water of Lake Tahoe for passing steamers and mail ships. It did so from an elevation of 6,300 feet, making it the highest lighthouse in America.

Rubicon Point is just one of many abandoned lighthouses across the United States. There is even a lighthouse “Doomsday List.”

But it wasn’t spectacular to look at. Wooden, square, and only 12 feet tall, it didn’t have the capacity for a lighthouse keeper, or anything else really aside from an acetylene gas lantern that flashed every five seconds onto the lake below. After it was replaced by the Sugar Pine Point Lighthouse, Rubicon Point remained in situ. For many years, hikers mistook it for an outhouse.

Rubicon Point is just one of many abandoned lighthouses across the United States. There is even a lighthouse “Doomsday List” published by Lighthouse Digest, of those on the brink of destruction (Rubicon Point was on the list in the 1990s, although it has since been renovated).

Some are famous, such as the St. George Reef Lighthousethat lies six miles off the coast of Northern California. Constructed of granite and concrete atop a treacherous outcrop of rocks, it was designed to withstand the monster seas that frequently roiled around this area of the coast…

Read the full story about America’s abandoned lighthouses at www.atlasobscura.com