For nearly two centuries, the beacons of light stations guided vessels through the deceptively hazardous waters in and around Hampton Roads. Eleven light stations have dotted the southeastern coast of Virginia since the days of the early republic. Starting with Alexander Hamilton's establishment of the federal lighthouse service, their story meanders through the American Civil War, Reconstruction, the Second World War and beyond, tracing the development of maritime commerce in the region. The keepers themselves were mostly white men from Virginia or North Carolina, however, caretakers also included immigrants, women, and formerly enslaved men. For almost two hundred years, these stalwarts maintained the beacons that guided vessels through these waters. They also rescued those in peril. Far from being isolated, their collective lives were intertwined with the events and innovations that shaped the nation. Local historian Benjamin Trask tells their stories.