Lightship Portsmouth (LV 101)
US Lighthouse serviceUnited States
  • LV 101
  • Portsmouth (as a museum ship)
BuilderPusey & Jones
Laid down1915
Launched12 January 1916[1]
Acquired2 September 1916
Decommissioned23 March 1964
In service1916
Out of service1963
  • LV-101 (1916–1939)
  • WAL-524 (1939–)
StatusMuseum ship
General characteristics
Displacement360 long tons (366 t)
Length101 ft 10 in (31.04 m)
Beam25 ft (7.6 m)
Draft11 ft 4 in (3.45 m)
PropulsionMeitz & Weiss 4-cylinder kerosene engine, 200 hp (149 kW) 1944: Cooper-Bessemer 315HP Six Cylinder Diesel
Speed8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) (4 Cylinder) 8.2 knots (15.2 km/h; 9.4 mph) (6 Cylinder)
Lightship No. 101, Portsmouth
United States lightship Portsmouth (LV-101) is located in Virginia
United States lightship Portsmouth (LV-101)
LocationPortsmouth, Virginia
Coordinates36°50′19″N 76°17′55″W / 36.83861°N 76.29861°W / 36.83861; -76.29861
ArchitectPusey & Jones Lightship; US Lighthouse Establishment
NRHP reference No.89001080[2]
VLR No.124-0102
Significant dates
Added to NRHP5 May 1989
Designated NHL5 May 1989[4]
Designated VLRMarch 19, 1997[3]

United States Lightship 101, now known as Portsmouth as a museum ship, 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 pseudonym Portsmouth. A National Historic Landmark, she is one of a small number of surviving lightships.[5]


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

Lightship are numbered, the stations have names. Light Vessel 101 was assigned to the stations:

Other lightships of Chesapeake Bay

See also


  1. ^ "Vessel Designation: LV 101 / WAL 524". U.S. Coast Guard Lightships & Those of the U.S. Lighthouse Service. United States Coast Guard. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  3. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Lightship No. 101 "Portsmouth"". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on December 29, 2007. Retrieved June 26, 2008.
  5. ^ Foster, Kevin J. (August 5, 1988). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form / Lightship No. 101" (pdf). National Park Service. Retrieved September 8, 2012.