Colchester Reef Lighthouse

6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, VT

French Second Empire style lighthouse with keeper's house built in 1871


Colchester Reef Lighthouse

Photo taken by Richard Doody in 1989



This 35' tall lighthouse was built in 1871 to mark a group of three dangerous shoals in Lake Champlain known as the Colchester Reef. The reef is located approximately a mile out into the lake from Colchester Point, and roughly seven miles northwest of Burlington.

The lighthouse, designed by Albert R. Dow, a graduate engineer from the University of Vermont, was constructed by Luther Whitney in 1870 1871 at a cost of $24,500. It was replaced with an automated beacon in 1933. The abandoned structure was sold for salvage in 1952 and purchased for the Shelburne Museum. The timbers used in the stairway, doors, and windows were all numbered before the lighthouse was disassembled. It was then painstakingly re-erected, piece by piece, on the grounds of the Museum in the fall of 1952.

Update Log 

  • January 22, 2019: New photos from Richard Doody
  • January 22, 2019: Added by Richard Doody


  • Richard Doody