CREDITS: I would like to thank Jeremy D'Entremont for providing much of the history one can find on this site. He is a speaker, author, historian, and tour guide who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the lighthouses of New England. For a story on Jeremy or to visit his site (New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide), use the corresponding link in the right hand information bar under "Related Links".

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I have set up this site as a means to share my photographs of lighthouses. Since retiring and finding more time to study photography, my interests have expanded a little. For some of my work other than lighthouses please enjoy my Facebook page at, John Shaw Photography. Come visit, enjoy, and 'LIKE' if you wish.

Also, for your enjoyment, I have provided a slideshow of our journey. To view it please use the link on the right under 'Site Navigation Tools'.

I sincerely hope you enjoy my efforts and use my site not only for information and education but also to provide directions for many enjoyable, inspirational visits to the beacons along our beautiful coas.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lighthouses of the Gutan Locks of the Panama Canal

     As one might expect, the lighthouses of Panamá are generally associated with passage through the Panama Canal. The Canal opened on 15 August 1914, after ten years of U.S. construction following earlier work by a French company.

     In 1903, shortly after winning its independence from Colombia, Panama granted the U.S. extraterritorial jurisdiction over the Canal Zone. The Zone remained under exclusive U.S. control until the Panama Canal Treaty, ratified in 1978, provided for its restoration to Panama. Under the treaty, Panama assumed full operation of the Canal at the end of 1999. The U.S. Panama Canal Commission, which operated the canal until the reversion, is now the Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (Panama Canal Authority).

     The Authority is expanding the Canal, doubling its capacity by constructing a third set of locks and widening and deepening the entire route. Groundbreaking for this enormous project was held in September 2007, and the work is scheduled for completion in 2015. This project may result in the removal or replacement of at least some of the historic lighthouses.
     Some 35 range lighthouses were constructed to help guide ships through the Canal, and many of these lighthouses are reported still in service.

Toro Point Lighthouse

      1893. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white light, 5 s on, 25 s off. 27.5 m (90 ft) steel skeletal tower with central cylinder, mounted on a stone base. Entire lighthouse painted white. This elegant lighthouse, built by the French during their efforts to construct the Canal, is a familiar landmark for everyone passing through the waterway. Located at the root of the Limón Bay West Breakwater, on the west side of the entrance to Limón Bay from the Caribbean. 

Atlantic Entrance Range Middle Lighthouse

     1914.  Active; focal plane 48 m (158 ft); occulting green light visible only on the range line. 14 m (46 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery. J. Located on Lighthouse Road in the town of Gatún, roughly 500 m (0.3 mi) east of the Gatún Locks and 1.2 km (3/4 mi) south of the middle range light. 

Gatún Northbound Rear (Gatún Locks) Lighthouse:


     1914. Active; green light occulting once every 4.5 s. Roughly 27 m (89 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with blue trim.  This lighthouse is the rear light of the range for northbound (Atlantic-bound) ships approaching the Gatún Locks from Gatún Lake. The tallest and most conspicuous lighthouse of the Canal, it is frequently photographed.  Located on the west wall of the Gatún Locks. Site and tower closed, although the view from ships passing through the locks is excellent.

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