The second Cape Charles Lighthouse was a 150 foot conical brick tower, constructed in 1864. Unlike its predecessor, many expensive, though ultimately pointless, endeavors were made to prevent its destruction via coastal erosion, which was measured at 37 feet per year. While a new lighthouse was built, the second structure served as an observation tower until it collapsed into the ocean in 1927.
The third and final lighthouse was completed in 1895. The first proposed design called for an iron-plated conical structure, though the end result was much different. It stands at 191 feet tall with a columnn in the middle and external frame work, giving it a bare-bones appearance. It is currently the second tallest in the United States and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.