Lighthouses of the United States: Maryland Western Shore

The U.S. state of Maryland straddles the northern half of the Chesapeake Bay, the great estuary formed by the lower course of the Susquehanna River. The two sides of the Chesapeake are known in Maryland as the Eastern Shore and the Western Shore. Baltimore, on the Western Shore, is the state's largest city and a major port. Another broad estuary, the Potomac River, forms part of the southern border of Maryland and leads to the national capital of Washington.

In the early nineteenth century John Donahoo (1786-1858) built a dozen stone or brick lighthouses on the upper Chesapeake. Seven survive and two are still active. Maryland is also famous for its cottage-style screwpile lighthouses, although only four of these picturesque buildings remain. In 1900, there were 45 cottage screwpile lighthouses on the Chesapeake. In a few cases modern lights are mounted on the original screwpile platform, and these stations are included below.

Navigational aids in the United States are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases. Maryland lights are the responsibility of the Coast Guard's Fifth District.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights, Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals, and USCG numbers are from Vol. II of the U.S. Coast Guard Light List.

General Sources
Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society
The chapter works for the preservation of lighthouses throughout Virginia and Maryland; its web site includes a Lighthouse Heritage section with information on the lighthouses.
Lighthouses of Maryland
Excellent photos and historical accounts by Kraig Anderson.
Lighthouses in Maryland, United States
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Coast Guard Lighthouses - Maryland
Matthew Jenkins, of the Chesapeake Chapter USLHS, has contributed excellent historical notes to accompany the Coast Guard Historian's collection of Maryland lighthouse photos.
Chesapeake Bay Lighthouse Project
Matthew Jenkins's own site has excellent photos and brief accounts of the lighthouses.
Demolished Screwpile Lighthouses in the Chesapeake
This discussion on a Harbour Lights forum has several rare photos of surviving screwpile platforms.
Chesapeake Bay Lighthouses
Photos and short accounts posted by the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
Online List of Lights - U.S. East Coast
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouses in Maryland
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Leuchttürme USA auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
NOAA Nautical Chart On-Line Viewer: Atlantic
Nautical charts for the coast can be viewed online.
U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center: Light Lists
The USCG Light List can be downloaded in pdf format.


Concord Point Light, Havre de Grace, July 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.W. Bash


Drum Point Light, Solomons, December 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by scott1346

Harford County Lighthouses
** Concord Point
1827 (John Donahoo). Reactivated (inactive 1975-1983, now unofficial but charted as a "private lighthouse"); focal plane 38 ft (11.5 m); continuous white light). 32 ft (10 m) round granite tower with lantern and gallery, 5th order Fresnel lens. Tower painted white, lantern black. C.W. Bash's photo appears at the top of this page, Anderson has an excellent page with good photos, Wikimedia has several photos, Bill Britten has a page with a good photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Lighthouse Digest has a February 2003 article on the history of the light station, Google has a street view, and Bing has a good aerial view. The 2-1/2 story brick and stone keeper's house, known as the O'Neill House, was restored in 1999-2000 and has been opened as a museum. Friends of Concord Point Lighthouse works for restoration and maintenance of the light station. Hurricane Isabel flooded the light station and destroyed the town's waterfront boardwalk in September 2003, but this damage was repaired. In 2013, the grounds of the station were restored to a historically accurate appearance through a $40,000 grant from the Maryland Historic Trust. Located at Concord and Lafayette Streets in Concord Point Park, on the west side of the mouth of the Susquehanna River, in Havre de Grace. Site open, museum and tower open Saturday and Sunday afternoons April through October; group tours by appointment. Owner: City of Havre de Grace. Site manager: Friends of Concord Point Lighthouse . ARLHS USA-186.
Fishing Battery
1853 (John Donahoo). Inactive since 1921. Ruined 2-story brick keeper's house with lantern and gallery on the roof. The house was originally painted white. The light was moved to a square skeletal tower in 1921, where it was tended by the keepers until automated in 1939. The skeletal tower continued to carry an active light until 2009. Lighthouse Explorer has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has an aerial view of the station. Gravely endangered by neglect, the lighthouse is on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. In the summer of 2004 Wayne Frady, of Port Deposit, Maryland, took on single-handed the task of saving this lighthouse. He painted the building, did some roof repairs, and started work on a stone seawall to slow erosion of the island -- paying for all the materials from his own pocket. Other lighthouse fans in the area are interested in restoration efforts, but there are no definite plans as yet. Located on a tiny island in the Chesapeake about 3 mi (5 km) south of Havre de Grace. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge). ARLHS USA-287; ex-Admiralty J2368; ex-USCG 2-27630.
Poole's Island
1825 (John Donahoo and Simon Frieze). Reactivated (inactive 1939-2011, now operated by the U.S. Army); focal plane 38 ft (11.5 m); seven white flashes, in a 4+3 pattern, every 16 s. 44 ft (13.5 m) old-style round granite tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white, lantern black. The keeper's house has been demolished. A photo is at right, Robert English has a 2006 photo, Jeff Grundy also has a 2006 photo, Wikimedia has a 1991 view from the Bay, and Google has a satellite view. This is the oldest Maryland lighthouse and the first of Donohoo's 12 lighthouses. It was abandoned when the improved channel was relocated from the west side to the east side of the island. The tower was partially restored and stabilized in 1997. In 2010, the Army carried out a more complete restoration including repairs to the masonry and lantern and installation of new, historically accurate windows. Repainting was completed by a volunteer, Tim Hamilton. A solar-powered light was installed and the lighthouse was reactivated in September 2011 in time for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Located on the northwestern point of Poole's Island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay northwest of Tolchester Beach. Inaccessible: the island was formerly used for bombing practice and is littered with unexploded ordnance. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground. ARLHS USA-646; Admiralty J2298.7; USCG 2-8693.
Pooles Island Light
Poole's Island Light, Edgewood, March 2011
Flickr public domain photo by U.S. Army RDECOM

Baltimore County Lighthouses
Note: A total of five ranges guide vessels into Baltimore Harbor; from south to north they are the Craighill Channel Entrance Range, Craighill Channel Lower Range, Craighill Channel Upper Range, Brewerton Channel Range, and Fort McHenry Channel Range.
Craighill Channel Lower Range Rear (Millers Island)
1873. Active; focal plane 105 ft (32 m); continuous white light, day and night. 105 ft (32 m) square cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern, double gallery, and square central cylinder; the original 4th order Fresnel range lens is still in use. Lower half of the tower is painted white, upper half red, lantern black. The keeper's quarters, formerly incorporated in the lower part of the tower, were removed in 1938, and the Fresnel lens was removed in 2010. Derek Young's photo is at right, another closeup photo is available, Trabas has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a good satellite view and a distant street view from the end of Chesapeake Avenue. The tallest Maryland lighthouse, this unusual light doesn't get the attention it deserves. Endangered: the lighthouse is reported to be in poor condition. Historical Place Preservation, which now owns the front lighthouse, will apply for this one also if it becomes available under NHLPA. Located in the Chesapeake Bay just east of Ramona Beach about 3 miles (5 km) northeast of Fort Howard. Accessible only by boat. There are views from Ramona Beach or from North Point State Park. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-199; Admiralty J2246.1; USCG 2-8050.
Craighill Channel Lower Range Front ("Craighill Light," North Point Range)
1873. Active; range light at focal plane 22 ft (7 m): white flash every 3s, day and night; tower also carries a passing light at focal plane 39 ft (12 m): white flash every 3 s, red sector covering nearby shoal). 42 ft (13 m) round cast iron sparkplug tower with lantern and upper and lower galleries, mounted on a concrete caisson; 250 mm lens. Lighthouse painted dark red with white trim, lantern black. This is the the second oldest caisson lighthouse in the nation and the second oldest sparkplug tower; its design, with a single-story keeper's quarters, is unique. Anderson's page has good closeup photos, a 2009 closeup photo is available, Trabas has a distant view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, the Coast Guard has a fine historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. In 2006, the lighthouse was transferred under NHLPA to a new preservation group, Historical Place Preservation. The groups hopes to restore all four Craighill Channel range lights. So far, its efforts have been limited to emergency repairs and the design of a dock to allow regular access to the structure. Located south of the harbor entrance about 2 miles (3 km) east southeast of North Point. Accessible only by boat. There's a distant view from North Point State Park. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Historical Place Preservation. ARLHS USA-198; Admiralty J2246; USCG 2-8040 and 8045.
Craighill Channel Lower Range Rear Light
Craighill Channel Lower Range Rear Light, Baltimore, May 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Derek Young
* Craighill Channel Upper Range Front (Cutoff Channel Range Front, Fort Howard, North Point)
1886. Active; focal plane 15 ft (4.5 m); continuous red light, day and night. 18 ft (5.5 m) octagonal cylindrical cast iron tower on stone foundation, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Matt Tillett has a closeup photo, Trabas also has a closeup photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has an aerial view. The foundation was built for the former North Point Range Rear Light (established 1823). Keepers actually lived in this tiny lighthouse from 1893 until it was automated in 1929. Located just off North Point in Fort Howard. Accessible only by boat, but there are excellent views from the former Veterans Administration Fort Howard Medical Center, now a retirement community called Bayside at Fort Howard. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-200; Admiralty J2252; USCG 2-8090.
Craighill Channel Upper Range Rear (Cutoff Channel Range Rear)
1886. Active; focal plane 74 ft (22.5 m); continuous red light, day and night. 90 ft (27.5 m) square cylindrical cast iron tower with square pyramidal skeletal bracing. Entire lighthouse painted white. The keeper's house has been demolished. Trabas has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has an aerial view. Located on Wharf Road on the west side of Old Road Bay in Sparrows Point, on property owned by a steel mill. Site and tower closed; there's a good view from the west end of Bay Front Road. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Arcelor Mittal. ARLHS USA-201; Admiralty J2252.1; USCG 2-8095.
* Fort Carroll (2)
1898 (station established 1854). Inactive since 1931. Ruined square cylindrical wood tower with lantern. The tower was originally painted white, and the lantern black. Anderson has good photos on his page, David Palmer has a 2008 photo, another closeup is available, Gene Carl Feldman has a page with a full report on the ruins and many photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has an aerial view. Obviously endangered, the lighthouse is on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. Designed and built by Robert E. Lee in the late 1840s, the fort was abandoned by the Army in 1920. The fort has been privately owned since 1958. In October 2000 a developer leased the island; no purpose has yet been announced. The fort has become an important nesting site for herons and other water birds. Located on a small island in the Patapsco River in Baltimore Harbor, just southeast of the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695). Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: Fort Carroll LLC. ARLHS USA-290.

Baltimore City Lighthouses
Lazaretto Point (replica)
1985 reproduction of an 1831 (John Donahoo) lighthouse demolished in 1929. Inactive; a decorative light is displayed. 31 ft (9.5 m) round brick tower with lantern and gallery, very similar to the Concord Point Light (above). The tower is painted white and the lantern black. Doc Searls has a good photo, Bob Geary also has a photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo of the original lighthouse, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has an aerial view and a distant street view from South Clinton Street at Keith Avenue. The tower was built as a memorial to Norman Rukert, Sr., who had long advocated reconstructing the lighthouse. Although it has an authentic appearance, it it is not built from original plans. Lazaretto Point was the site of a U.S. Lighthouse Service and (later) a U. S. Coast Guard depot from 1863 to 1958. Located on the end of a pier at the entrance to Baltimore's Northwest Harbor. Site and tower generally closed (private property), although polite visitors are sometimes allowed to photograph the tower. There's also a view from Fort McHenry across the Northwest Harbor entrance. Owner/site manager: Rukert Terminals Corporation. ARLHS USA-431.
**** Seven Foot Knoll (1)
1856. Inactive since 1987. 40 ft (12 m): 1-story round cylindrical wrought iron keeper's cottage crowned by a round cylindrical lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted dark red with green shutters, lantern black. Michael Hansen's photo is at right, another good photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a good aerial view and a distant street view. An architectural landmark: this is the oldest surviving screwpile lighthouse in the U.S., and it is the only one of its design. Originally mounted on a screwpile foundation near the entrance to Baltimore Harbor (see below), the lighthouse was relocated in October 1988 to Pier 5 on the Inner Harbor waterfront, where it is now a familiar landmark. The building is operated by the Living Classrooms Foundation as a museum and learning center for Baltimore City Schools. From 1993 to 1999 the lighthouse appeared frequently in the popular television police drama Homicide: Life on the Street. Located at the end of Harbor Magic Drive off Pratt Street in downtown Baltimore. Site open, tower open daily spring to fall and Friday to Sunday in winter (museum admission fee). Owner/site manager: City of Baltimore. ARLHS USA-750H.
Seven Foot Knoll Light
Seven Foot Knoll Light, Baltimore, October 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Michael Hansen
**** Lightship 116 (WAL 538) Chesapeake
1930. Decommissioned 1971. 130-ton steel ship with two masts, length 133 ft (40.5 m), beam 30 ft (9 m). Hull painted red. The ship actually served as the Chesapeake, off the Virginia capes, from 1933 to 1965; it also served, previously and subsequently, at stations off the Delaware coast. Bill McChesney's photo is at right, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The Coast Guard Historian's site has the ship's service history and a pdf collection of oral history interviews with former crew members. The ship was donated to the National Park Service in 1971, and since 1982 it has been leased to the City of Baltimore and maintained by Historic Ships in Baltimore. Moored next to the National Aquarium on the Baltimore waterfront. Open daily spring to fall and Friday to Sunday in winter (museum admission fee). Owner: National Park Service. Site manager: Historic Ships in Baltimore . ARLHS USA-167.
* Fort McHenry Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 113 ft (34.5 m); red light, 5 s on, 5 s off, day and night, visible only on the range line. Approx. 100 ft (30.5 m) square skeletal tower, with a large locomotive-style lamp. Jim Elliott has contributed a photo, Trabas has a photo, a 2008 view from the harbor is available, and Google has a street view and an aerial view. Located at the foot of Hull Street, on Tides Point in the Fells Point section of Baltimore. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1406; Admiralty J2270.1; USCG 2-8225.
* Fort McHenry Channel Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 ft (12.5 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, day and night, visible only on the range line. Approx. 39 ft (12 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted black, with a large locomotive-style lamp. Jim Davis has a closeup photo, Trabas has a photo by Capt. Peter Mosselberger, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the grounds of historic Fort McHenry, marking the west side of the entrance to Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: U.S. National Park Service (Fort McHenry National Monument). ARLHS USA-1314; Admiralty J2270; USCG 2-8220.
Lightship Chesapeake
Lightship 116 Chesapeake, Baltimore, October 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Bill McChesney
* Brewerton Channel Range Rear (Leading Point) (2)
1924 (station established 1868). Active; focal plane 82 ft (25 m); continuous green light, day and night. Approx. 70 ft (21 m) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted black; locomotive style lamp. The Chesapeake Chapter has a page for the range lights, Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. In 1899 Leading Point became part of the U.S. Coast Guard's Curtis Bay Yard, a shipbuilding and repair facility. This yard continues in operation (it is the Coast Guard's only ship repair facility), but the portion of it including the light station was declared surplus in 1956 and became the site of a gypsum wallboard plant. Located on Quarantine Road on Hawkins Point, 1.1 mi (1760 m) west northwest of the front light (next entry). Site and tower closed, but the light can be seen easily from the road. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: USG Corporation. ARLHS USA-1104; Admiralty J2251.1; USCG 2-8155.
* Brewerton Channel Range Front (Hawkins Point) (2)
1924 (station established 1868). Active; focal plane 38 ft (11.5 m); continuous green light, day and night. 38 ft (11.5 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower mounted on an square screwpile foundation. The Chesapeake Chapter has a page for the range lights, Trabas has a closeup photo, and Google has an aerial view. The original Hawkins Point Light was a cottage screwpile lighthouse; when it was demolished, the skeletal tower was built on the screwpile foundation to carry the range light. Located just offshore from Fort Armistead Park, at the end of Glidden Road east of the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695) and opposite Fort Carroll. Accessible only by boat, but there is a closeup view from shore. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-083(=1103); Admiralty J2251; USCG 2-8150.

Anne Arundel County (Annapolis Area) Lighthouses
Seven Foot Knoll (2)
1987 (station established 1856). Active; focal plane 58 ft (17 m); flash every 6 s, white or red depending on direction. 16 m (52 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, mounted on a round concrete platform supported by a single robust pile. A second platform carries solar panels, and the foundation ruins of the original screwpile lighthouse can be seen next to the tower. Capt. Peter Mosselberger has a 2009 photo, and Google has a satellite view. The historic lighthouse was relocated in 1988 to downtown Baltimore (see above). Located on a shoal in the entrance to Baltimore Harbor, about 4 km (2.5 mi) northeast of Bodkin Point. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-750H; Admiralty J2248; USCG 2-8120.
Tolchester Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 89 ft (27 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off; also a quick-flashing white passing light at a focal plane of 25 ft (7.5 m). 89 ft (27 m) mast with two galleries; there is a small equipment shelter on the lower gallery. Mast painted orange, equipment shelter white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The front light is on a 23 ft (7 m) platform. This range guides vessels southbound from the upper Cheapeake Bay. Located near the center of the bay about 5.4 km (3.3 mi) east of the Craighill Channel Entrance Range Rear Light (next entry). Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. USCG 2-8443.
Craighill Channel Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 88 ft (27 m); continuous white light; also a white passing light (2 s on, 2 s off) at a focal plane of 15 ft (4.5 m). 88 ft (27 m) mast with two galleries; there is a small equipment shelter on the lower gallery. Mast painted orange, equipment shelter white. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The front light is on a 27 ft (8 m) platform. Located off Bodkin Neck about 500 m (0.3 mi) north of the Baltimore lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J2227.91; USCG 2-8000.
Baltimore
1908 (William H. Flaherty). Active; focal plane 52 ft (16 m); white flash every 2.5 s (red sector covers nearby shoals). 38 ft (11.5 m) octagonal 3-story brick keeper's house, with a lantern and gallery centered on the roof, mounted on an iron caisson; 300 mm lens. Lighthouse painted white, roof and lantern black; caisson is red. Sibling of Point No Point (see below). Anderson has a very fine page with a good photos, Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's view from the Bay, and Google has a satellite view. Another rather neglected lighthouse, this station has interesting late Victorian architecture and a caisson that reaches 82 feet (25 m) below the waterline. The last traditional lighthouse to be built on the Chesapeake Bay, it was built to mark the beginning of the dredged channels leading to Baltimore. In 2003-04 it was offered for transfer under NHLPA, but no applications for ownership were received. In 2006 the lighthouse was sold on eBay for $260,000. The buyer is a partnership of four couples, who have begun working to restore the building. Located off Gibson Island in the Chesapeake southeast of Baltimore Harbor. Accessible only by boat; best seen from cruises from Annapolis. Site open, tower open to group tours (reservations required). Owner/site manager: Baltimore Harbor Light. ARLHS USA-034; Admiralty J2228; USCG 2-8035.
Sandy Point Shoal
1883. Active; focal plane 51 ft (15.5 m); white flash every 6 s. 37 ft (11 m) octagonal 3-story Empire style brick keeper's house mounted on an iron caisson and surmounted by a short lantern; solar-powered 300 mm lens. Lighthouse painted bright red with a white roof; lantern is black, caisson dark red. Fog horn (3 s blast every 30 s) operates continuously Sept. 15 through June 1. The original 4th order Fresnel lens was smashed by vandals in 1980. Van Corey's photo is at right, Kate Elliott has a photo showing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the background, Jonathan Sullivan has a nice photo, Trabas has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse has a unique design. It was repaired by the Coast Guard in 1988-90 but is in need of thorough restoration. In 2004 it was offered for transfer under NHLPA, but no applications for ownership were received. In 2006 the lighthouse was sold at auction for $250,000, but the buyer's name is unknown. Located in the Chesapeake on the north side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (US 50). Accessible only by boat; best seen from cruises from Annapolis. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-733; Admiralty J2214; USCG 2-7990.
* Sharps Point
1993. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 58 ft (17.5 m); white flash every 10 s. Replica of a cottage screwpile lighthouse (similar to Thomas Point Shoal Light), painted white with a red roof, attached to 2-story slate-roofed house, also painted white. Dan Hatcher has contributed a photo, and Bing has an aerial view. The two buildings were used formerly as a bed and breakfast inn, but this facility has closed and the house is now a private residence. Located at the end of Sharps Point Road east of Annapolis. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-924; USCG 2-20067.
Sandy Point Shoal Light
Sandy Point Shoal Light, Annapolis, September 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Van Corey
#Greenbury Point Shoal
1892. Inactive since at least 2008. The lighthouse, a hexagonal cottage screwpile, was replaced in 1934 by a square pyramidal steel skeletal tower built on the original screwpile foundation. Marinas.com has aerial photos, but the hexagonal platform has not been located in Google's satellite view; it has apparently been removed. Formerly located in the mouth of the Severn River marking the entrance to Annapolis Harbor. Accessible only by boat. ARLHS USA-354; ex-Admiralty J2209; ex-USCG 2-19725.
* [Triton]
1960s. Active (maintained by U.S. Navy); focal plane 25 ft (7.5 m); 9 green flashes every 30 s, the flashes grouped in a unique 4+5 pattern. The light is displayed atop a triangular cylindrical ornamental pedestal on a concrete base. A closeup photo is available, Trabas has a view from the river, and Bing has an aerial view. This light honors the U.S. Navy nuclear-powered submarine Triton, which circled the globe submerged in 1960. Located on the point of land at the eastern end of the Naval Academy campus, where Spa Creek joins the Severn River. Site open. Owner/site manager: U.S. Naval Academy. Admiralty J2210; USCG 2-19780.
** Thomas Point Shoal
1875. Active; focal plane 43 ft (13 m); white flash every 5 s (2 red sectors cover nearby shoals). 48 ft (15 m) cottage screwpile lighthouse with hexagonal 1-1/2-story wood keeper's cottage with lantern and gallery centered on the roof; solar-powered 250 mm lens. Lighthouse painted white with a red roof; lantern is black. Fog horn (2 s blast every 15 s). The original 4th order Fresnel lens is displayed at the Coast Guard district headquarters in Baltimore. The lighthouse carries a NOAA C-MAN automatic weather station. David Clows' photo is at right, April 2008 photo is available, Anderson has a fine page with many photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a satellite view. This is one of the best known Chesapeake lighthouses and one of only two cottage screwpile lighthouses in the nation still on their original stations. The last lighthouse on the Chesapeake to be automated (1986), it is recognized as a National Historic Landmark. The lighthouse was saved from demolition by public protests in 1972. In 2000, volunteers from the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society replaced the modern windows with historically accurate windows. On 1 May 2004, a consortium including the U.S. Lighthouse Society, the City of Annapolis and the Annapolis Maritime Museum took ownership of the lighthouse under NHLPA. Tours from the maritime museum began on 7 July 2007. In May 2007, the Jeld-Wen Company announced that the lighthouse would receive new doors and windows as the co-winner of a national competition. Located in the Chesapeake off the entrance to South River, south of Annapolis. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower open to guided tours from the Annapolis Maritime Museum two weekends per month during the summer (reservations required). Owner: City of Annapolis. Site manager: Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse Partnership. ARLHS USA-845; Admiralty J2204; USCG 2-7760.
Thomas Point Shoal Light
Thomas Point Shoal Light, Annapolis, September 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by David Clow

Calvert County (Solomons Area) Lighthouses
*** Cove Point
1828 (John Donahoo). Active; focal plane 45 ft (14 m); white flash every 10 s. 51 ft (16 m) round cement-clad old-style brick tower with lantern and gallery, 4th order Fresnel lens (1897; installed here in 1928). Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery black. Fog horn (2 s blast every 15 s). The 2-story brick keeper's house, used as Coast Guard housing until recently, is in good condition. Fog signal building (1904) with original bell. Active diaphone fog signal (1976). The first floor of the keeper's house is original; the second floor was added in 1883. C.W. Bash's photo is at right, Karl Agre has a 2011 closeup, and Donna Suchomelly has an excellent photo. This is a historic and well-preserved light station, still manned as late as 1986. The lighthouse is endangered by beach erosion, which has been controlled so far with protective riprap; grants in 2000-01 helped improve and repair the barrier. Marinas.com aerial photos and a Google satellite view show the situation well. Calvert County received title from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2000; the Calvert Marine Museum opened the base of the tower for tours in May 2001. A 2001 grant from the Maryland Historical Trust supported removal of lead-based paint from the interior. In 2008, another state grant funded a restoration of the tower. In 2011-12 the keeper's house was restored and renovated; later in 2012 it became available for vacation accommodations . Located at the end of MD 497 in Cove Point. Site and the base of the tower open in the afternoons, daily June through August and on weekends and holidays in May and September; site closed at other times. Owner: Calvert County. Site manager: Calvert Marine Museum . ARLHS USA-195; Admiralty J2104; USCG 2-7630.
Cove Point Light
Cove Point Light, Solomons, July 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo copyright C.W. Bash
[Drum Point (2)]
1962 (station established 1883). Active; focal plane 17 ft (5 m); red flash every 4 s. 17 ft (5 m) tripod piles carrying two red triangular daymarks. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The historic lighthouse was relocated (next entry). Located just off the point, marking the north side of the entrance to the Patuxent River estuary. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-235M; Admiralty J2086; USCG 2-7605.
**** Drum Point (1)
1883. Inactive since 1962. 47 ft (14 m) cottage screwpile lighthouse with octagonal 1-story keeper's house; lantern and gallery centered on the roof. The original 4th order Fresnel lens is on display. Building painted white, lantern and gallery black; roof is red. A photo is at the top of this page, a good 2009 photo and a 2010 closeup are available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Sibling of Hooper Strait. After suffering badly from vandalism, the lighthouse was relocated in 1975 a few miles west to the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons; the museum has a page for the lighthouse. The museum has completely restored the lighthouse and furnished it with period antiques. The wood railings and some walkways were replaced in 2000. The museum is on Solomons Island Road (MD 2) just south of Lore Road. Site and tower open daily (museum admission fee). Owner/site manager: Calvert Marine Museum . ARLHS USA-235H; ex-Admiralty J2086.

St. Mary's County Lighthouses
[Cedar Point]
1896. The ruins of the historic lighthouse were demolished in 1996, but the foundations remain, surrounded by riprap. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. There is no longer a light of any kind on or off Cedar Point. Located just off the point, formerly marking the south side of the entrance to the Patuxent River estuary. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1020H.
[Cedar Point (lantern)]
1896. Inactive since 1928. The lighthouse, originally located on a tiny island off Cedar Point at the southern entrance to Patuxent River, was on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List until it was finally demolished in 1996. The Chesapeake Chapter has a page for the light station and a photo of the sad condition of the keeper's house before demolition. Portions of the keeper's house were donated to the Calvert Marine Museum. The lantern (removed by the Navy in 1981) is displayed on the grounds of the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum. C.W. Bash has a great photo taken in January 2007, and Google has a satellite view. In 2003, Navy Seabees volunteered to build a new one-story wood base (designed after the original light tower) on which the lantern is displayed. Located on MD 235 at Pegg Road in Lexington Park. Site open daily. Owner/site manager: Patuxent River Naval Air Museum. ARLHS USA-1020M.
Point No Point
1905. Active; focal plane 52 ft (16 m); white flash every 6 s. 38 ft (11.5 m) octagonal 3-story brick keeper's house, mounted on an iron caisson and surmounted by a short lantern and gallery; 375 mm lens. Lighthouse painted white with a black roof; lantern is black, caisson red. Fog horn (3 s blast every 30 s) operates continuously Sept. 15 through June 1. Chris Williamson's photo is at right, Jim Davis has a closeup photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a satellite view. In 2001 the Coast Guard replaced the roof of the lantern room and repaired deteriorated beams and floors inside the building. In 2006 the lighthouse became available for transfer or sale under NHLPA, but no applications were received. The General Services Administration began an online auction of the lighthouse, but the sale was cancelled when the Navy realized that the lighthouse is a boundary marker for one of their training ranges. Located in the Chesapeake about 6 miles (9 km) northeast of Point Lookout. Accessible only by boat. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-630; Admiralty J1974; USCG 2-7560.

Point No Point Light, Chesapeake Bay, September 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Chris Williamson
** Point Lookout (1)
1830 (John Donahoo). Inactive since 1965; charted as a landmark. Square 2-story keeper's house surmounted by a short octagonal tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted buff with a red roof; light tower and lantern painted bright red. The 1889 fog bell tower is on display at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael's, on the Eastern Shore. C.W. Bash's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. This is the oldest surviving integral lighthouse in the U.S. The building was substantially expanded in 1883, when the second story was added and the light tower was raised from 24 ft (7.5 m) to 41 ft (12.5 m). The lighthouse was previously endangered: after the state relinquished a lease on the building in 1980, the Navy allowed the property to deteriorate. In May 2002, the state paid $450,000 to purchase the light station to add it to Point Lookout State Park. Rehabilitation of the exterior began in October 2002. In 2006 the state acquired the land around the lighthouse in a land swap with the Navy. Located on an exceptionally narrow point of land at the end of MD 5 in Point Lookout, where the Potomac meets the Chesapeake. Parking available close to the lighthouse. Site and tower generally closed but open 10 am to 2 pm on one Saturday of each month April through November. There's a good view from outside the fence. Owner: State of Maryland. Site manager: Point Lookout State Park. ARLHS USA-628.
Point Lookout (2)
1965 (station established 1830). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted white, mounted on a robust square platform supported by piles. Trabas has a photo, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located in the mouth of the Potomac River about 1 km (0.6 mi) south of the historic lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1409; Admiralty J1800; USCG 2-7525.
Point Lookout
Point Lookout Light, July 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by C.W. Bash

Potomac River Lighthouses

Note: The Potomac River forms a broad estuary on the boundary between Maryland and Virginia, widening to a width of 11 mi (17 km) at the mouth. The royal charter of 1632 creating the Maryland colony placed the border between the two states at the high tide mark on the Virginia shore. As a result, all the offshore lights of the Potomac are in Maryland.
St. Mary's County Lighthouses
**** Piney Point
1836 (John Donahoo). Inactive since 1964; charted as a landmark. 35 ft (10.5 m) round old-style brick tower. The original 2-story stucco-clad brick keeper's house (expanded in 1884) is occupied by a caretaker. A modern Coast Guard house (1950) formerly housed a museum and gift shop. The lighthouse is called the "Lighthouse of Presidents" because the light station was used as a presidential summer retreat in the 19th century. Bash's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page with many photos, and Google has a satellite view and a street view of the station entrance. The tower was restored in 2003-04, and in 2004 the lighthouse was opened for climbing. After the station was flooded by Hurricane Isabel in 2003, the museum was relocated to a modern building on the north side of the park area and reopened in the spring of 2005. Located on the Potomac at the end of Lighthouse Road, off MD 249 in Piney Point. Site open daily, museum and tower daily May 1 through September 30. Accessible by road, but there is also a pier for visitors who arrive by boat. Owner: Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources. Site manager: Piney Point Lighthouse Museum. ARLHS USA-601.
Ragged Point
1910. Active; focal plane 44 ft (13.5 m); white flash every 6 s. The lighthouse, a hexagonal cottage screwpile, was demolished in 1962. The current light is a steel skeletal tower built on the original foundation. Trabas has a photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located just off the Virginia shore about 2.5 miles west of Piney Point. Accessible only by boat. Visible from a marina at the end of secondary route 728 in Coles Point, Virginia. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-685; Admiralty J1824; USCG 2-16940.
Piney Point Light
Piney Point Light, July 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo copyright C.W. Bash
* Blackistone (Blakistone) Island (St. Clement's Island) (replica)
2008 replica of 1851 lighthouse. Inactive. Approx. 13 m (42 ft) round tower with lantern and gallery centered on the roof of a 2-1/2 story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white. A 2009 photo is at right, Sandie Finn has a good 2008 photo, a second 2008 photo is available, Vicki Lashton has a 2009 closeup, and Google has a satellite view. The Coast Guard has a 1928 aerial photo of the original lighthouse, which was deactivated in 1932 and burned by vandals in 1956. The replica was built by St. Clement's Hundred, a nonprofit organization that preserves and administers St. Clement's Island, the site of the first English landing in Maryland. The reconstruction took two years and $800,000 in grants and contributions. The dedication of the building was held June 22, 2008. Located on St. Clement's Island in the Potomac just off Colton's Point. Water taxi service to the island is available on Saturdays and Sundays from the St. Clement's Island Museum on the mainland. Site open, tower closed. Owner: Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources (St. Clement's Island State Park). ARLHS USA-060.
Wicomico River Entrance (Cobb Point Bar, Cobb Island Bar) (2)
1889. Active; focal plane 18 ft (5.5 m); green flash every 4 s. The lighthouse, a square cottage screwpile, was demolished in 1940 after being heavily damaged by fire in 1939. The current light is a small navigation beacon mounted on the original square screwpile platform. Trabas has a photo, a 2013 photo is available, and the platform can be seen in a Google satellite view. The Coast Guard has a historic photo. Located off Cobb Island at the western entrance to the Wicomico River. Accessible only by boat; visible from many points on the south side of Cobb Island (end of MD 254). Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-989; Admiralty J1856; USCG 2-17255.
Blackistone Island Light
Blackistone Island Light, St. Clement's Island, September 2009
Wikimedia public domain photo by Pubdog

Charles County Lighthouses
Lower Cedar Point (3)
1896 (station established 1867). Active; focal plane 38 ft (11.5 m); green flash every 2.5 s. The former cottage screwpile lighthouse here replaced an earlier lighthouse (1867) destroyed by fire on Christmas Day 1893. The second lighthouse was demolished in 1951. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The current light is a steel skeletal tower built on the original foundation. This was formerly a lightship station; Confederate raiders burned a lightship here in 1861. Located in the middle of the river between Lower Cedar Point, Maryland, and Dahlgren, Virginia. Accessible only by boat. Visible from Cedar Beach on the Maryland side and from the Harry Nice Bridge (US 301) over the river. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-458; Admiralty J1877.5; USCG 2-17710.
Mathias Point Shoal (2)
1876. Active; focal point 44 ft (13.5 m); green flash every 6 s. 44 ft (13.5 m) square skeletal mast mounted on the platform of the original lighthouse, a hexagonal cottage screwpile of unusual design. The historic lighthouse was demolished in 1963. Jim Elliott has contributed a photo of the present light and a historic photo of the original lighthouse, and the light can be seen in a Google satellite view. As seen in the satellite photo, protective rip rap barriers have been placed to the east and west of the light. Located off the Virginia shore at Mathias Point north of Dahlgren. Accessible only by boat. Visible from the Mt. Bethel Recreation Center, near the end of secondary route 624 at Matthias Point VA. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-483; Admiralty J1898; USCG 2-17815.
#Upper Cedar Point (1)
1867 (lightship station established 1821). The original lighthouse, a square cottage screwpile, was deactivated 1876-82, but thereafter it remained in service until it was demolished in 1963. A skeletal tower was then placed atop the platform. Sometime before 2009 the platform was removed, and the light (focal plane 15 ft (4.5 m); red flash every 6 s) is now shown atop tripod pilings carrying red trianguar daymarks. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located off the point, on the north side of the channel about 2 mi (3 km) west of the Mathias Point Shoal Light. Accessible only by boat. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-867; USCG 2-17880.
Maryland Point (2)
1892. Active; focal point 42 ft (13 m); white flash every 6 s (two red sectors cover nearby shoals). The lighthouse, a hexagonal cottage screwpile, was removed in 1963. The current light is a steel skeletal tower built on the original foundation. Trabas has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. The Coast Guard has a 1912 photo of the original lighthouse. A rotating mechanism from the original lighthouse is displayed at the Bodie Island Lighthouse visitor center near Nags Head, North Carolina. Located in the middle of the river between Wellington Beach MD and Fairview Beach VA. Accessible only by boat; visible from Wellington Beach off MD 224. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-990; Admiralty J1912; USCG 2-17895.

Prince George's County (Washington Area) Lighthouse
* Fort Washington (2)
1882 (station established 1857). Active; focal plane 28 ft (8.5 m); red flash every 6 s. 32 ft (10 m) trapezoidal pyramidal wood fog bell tower with an open enclosure now containing the bell and a navigation light. The original 6th order Fresnel lens is on display at the Museum of Chincoteague Island in Chincoteague, Virginia. Tower painted white; there is a red triangular daymark marked "80" on the front face. The keeper's house (1885) has been demolished. A photo is at right, Trabas has a photo, and Bing has an aerial view. This is the only surviving fog signal tower of its type on the Chesapeake. The light station was established with a post light in 1857; the light was moved into the 1882 fog bell tower in 1901. The Coast Guard has a historic photo of the station as it appeared in 1912. Volunteers from the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society have restored the tower, beginning in 1997. Located in Fort Washington Park on the upper Potomac opposite Mount Vernon, Virginia. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Fort Washington Park. ARLHS USA-302; Admiralty J1952; USCG 2-18560.
Fort washington
Fort Washington Light, October 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by John M.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Bodkin Island (1822-1914), Chesapeake Bay off the south side of the entrance to Baltimore. The lighthouse was replaced by the Seven Foot Knoll lighthouse in 1856. The tower collapsed in 1914, and the island has since disappeared. ARLHS USA-991.
  • Greenbury Point (1849-1892?), Severn River entrance, Western Shore. Replaced in 1892 by the Greenbury Point Shoal Light, described above. ARLHS USA-1388.
  • Leading Point (1868-1924), Baltimore Harbor. This rear range lighthouse was replaced by the Brewerton Range Rear Light. ARLHS USA-084.
  • North Point Range Front and Rear (1823-1886?), Baltimore Harbor. These lights were replaced by the Craighill Channel Upper Range lights. ARLHS USA-1290 (rear light).

Notable faux lighthouse:

Adjoining pages: North: Southeastern Pennsylvania | East: Maryland Eastern Shore | South: Virginia

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Checked and revised June 21, 2015. Lighthouses: 37. Lightships: 1. Site copyright 2015 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.