Bert Hampton writes: I have been a resident of New Piasa Chautauqua all my life. The lighthouse was built as a decorative attraction to the riverfront. While it did serve as a marker for riverboats in the days when visitors reached Chautauqua by water, it was never a true navigational aid. In fact its primary purpose was and is to house pumps over the well that feeds the community's water system. Today, drinking water comes into the valley from the Illinois-American facility at Alton (about 12 miles down stream). The old well is, however, still in use feeding the community swimming pool (once the largest pool in Illinois) and as an emergency supplement for fire protection. The light in the top is still maintained and shines nightly from June through August. The intensity was reduced many years ago as a safety factor for traffic on the Great River Road which passes by on an elevated berm just fifty feet or less from the old lighthouse structure. In the great 1993 flood all but the very top of the lighthouse was underwater. The lighthouse actually sits in the right of way of the Great River Road. It is allowed to remain only as long as it is maintained in safe and "respectable" condition. Should the community ever allow it to fall into disrepair, the State has the right to step in and demolish it. Much loved and valued by the residents of New Piasa Chautauqua, the community's annual budget always includes funds for its care.
Description of Tower: Small conical tower.
This light is operational
Current Use: Pump house.
Open To Public? Grounds only.