This study is an analysis of the preservation values evident in three historic lighthouses: The Roanoke River Lighthouse in Plymouth, North Carolina; the Old Plantation Flats Lighthouse in Cape Charles, Virginia; and the Old Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, North Carolina. These three lighthouses are compared and analyzed according to the preservation values set forth by Austrian historian Alois Riegl in his essay "The Meaning of Monuments and Their Historical Development" and the values implied in the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. This study serves four purposes: First, this study establishes the relationship between Riegl's preservation theory and the current preservation guidelines in the United States. Second, this study presents the histories and current conditions of three related historic lighthouses together in a single work. Third, this study makes a recommendation of treatment for the Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton based on Riegl's preservation theory. Fourth, this study concludes with a summary regarding the current state of preservation theory in the United States, and of lighthouse preservation in particular.