Coastal New England is dotted with lighthouses of various designs that were once essential to maritime navigation. The beacons of safety guided ships around hazardous shoals, reefs, and marked safe entries to harbors. Today some are still operational and all are studied by naval historians and visited by enthusiasts.

Each has its unique history and significance. On today’s mural we see the distinctive red and white striped West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec, Maine. It stands on the easternmost point of the United States mainland.

Further south in Massachusetts, coastal erosion prompted the National Trust for Historic Preservation to add Gay Head Light in Aquinnah on Nantucket to its 2013 list of the most endangered historic places in the United States. The first lighthouse on the island is also the first—and possibly the only—lighthouse to have had a Native American keeper. Happily, it was relocated to higher, drier grounds in 2015 and still stands today.

Castle Hill Lighthouse is on Narragansett Bay in Newport, Rhode Island. Influential architect Henry Hobson Richardson (Boston’s Trinity Church) had a hand in its early design. The solid, stout structure is built into a cliff face and unlikely to meet Gay Head Light’s near fate.

Surely there is an historic lighthouse nearby, signaling you to visit.