Lighthouses of the United States: Maryland Eastern 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.

Maryland's Eastern Shore also has a short section of coastline facing the Atlantic between Delaware and Virginia. There are no lighthouses on this section, although the Fenwick Island Light is in Delaware only a few feet from the Maryland border.

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.
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.

Hooper Strait
Hooper Strait Light, St. Michael's, June 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Tiffany Bridge


Choptank River Light, Cambridge, August 2013
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Peter Miller

Somerset County Lighthouses
Janes Island (3)
1936 (station established 1867; lightship station established 1853). Active; focal plane 37 ft (11 m); white flash every 4 s (red sector covering nearby shoals). Approx. 8 m (26 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a round iron caisson. Fog horn (blast every 30 s) operates continuously Sept. 15 through June 1. A photo is available (next to last photo on the page), Lighthouse Digest has a small photo by Virginia Slechta, and Google has a satellite view of the caisson. The 1867 and 1879 cottage screwpile lighthouses at this station were both destroyed by ice. Located in Tangier Sound off the mouth of the Little Annemessex River near Crisfield. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-988; USCG 2-22815.
Somers Cove (2)
1932 (station established 1867). Inactive since about 2005. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on the square screwpile foundation of the former cottage screwpile lighthouse. A small photo is available, the Chesapeake Chapter also has a page for the lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was replaced by the skeletal tower, which carried a light until the mid 2000s and now carries a warning daymark. A photo (halfway down the page) of this light is available, and the Coast Guard has a historic photo of the original lighthouse. Located in the entrance to Crisfield Harbor; passenger ferries to Tangier Island pass the site. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-987; USCG 2-22837.
Solomon's Lump (2)
1895 (William H. Flaherty) (station established 1875). Active; focal plane 47 ft (14 m); white flash every 6 s; two narrow red sectors cover nearby shoals. 35 ft (10.5 m) square cylindrical brick tower mounted to one side of an octagonal iron caisson; solar-powered 200 mm lens (1950). Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. The keeper's house, formerly attached to the light tower, was demolished in 1950. Craig Bruce's photo is at right, Jim Davis has a photo, Trabas has a closeup by Klaus Kern, Wikimedia has a photo (misidentified by the photographer as Hooper Island Light) by Skip Willits, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse replaced a screwpile lighthouse destroyed by ice in 1893. Located in Kedges Strait off the north end of the Smith Island complex. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-767; Admiralty J1980; USCG 2-23475.
Holland Island Bar (2)
1960 (station established 1889). Active; focal plane 37 ft (11 m); white flash every 2.5 s. 37 ft (11 m) square skeletal tower mounted on a square 1-story equipment shelter, all mounted on a hexagonal screwpile foundation. Fog horn (3 s blast every 30 s) operates continuously Sept. 15 through June 1. Jim Davis has a photo, and Marinas.com has aerial photos. The original lighthouse, another cottage screwpile, was demolished after being bombed accidentally by the Navy in 1957. The Coast Guard has a historic photo. Located in the Chesapeake Bay west of Holland Island, north of the Smith Island complex. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-986; Admiralty J1978; USCG 2-7545.
Solomons Lump Light
Solomons Lump Light, Smith Island, May 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Craig Bruce
Great Shoals (2)
1966(?) (station established 1884). Active; focal plane 37 ft (11 m); white flash every 6 s. 37 ft (11 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower mounted on the square screwpile platform of the original lighthouse. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The Coast Guard has a 1952 photo of the original lighthouse, a square wood cottage with the lantern centered on the roof. Located on a shoal in the lower Wicomico River. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-350; Admiralty J2000; USCG 2-23700.

Dorchester County Lighthouses
Sharkfin Shoal (2)
1964 (station established 1892). Active; focal plane 44 ft (13.5 m); white flash every 6 s; red sector covering nearby shoals. Square cylindrical skeletal tower centered on the hexagonal screwpile platform of the original screwpile lighthouse, which was demolished in 1964. Craig Bruce has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. The Coast Guard has a historic photo of the original lighthouse. Located two miles (3 km) southwest of Clay Island off the entrance to the Wicomico River. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-985; Admiralty J2028; USCG 2-23590.
Hooper Strait (3)
1966(?) (station established 1867). Active; focal plane 41 ft (12.5 m); white or red flash, depending on direction, every 6 s. 41 ft (12.5 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower mounted on the hexagonal screwpile platform of the original lighthouse. Trabas has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. The second (1879) lighthouse was relocated to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels (see below). Located on a shoal in the northern entrance to the Wicomico River. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-378H; Admiralty J2030; USCG 2-23615.
Hooper Island
1902. Active; focal plane 63 ft (19 m); white flash every 6 s. 35 ft (10.5 m) round cast iron sparkplug tower, including keeper's quarters, mounted on an iron caisson. A 300 mm lens was installed in 1976 after the original 4th order Fresnel lens was stolen from the tower; the lens is now solar-powered. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and watch room black; caisson is red. Fog horn (3 s blast every 30 s) operates continuously Sept. 15 through June 1. Craig Bruces' photo is at right, Trabas has a distant view, and Marinas.com has aerial photos. In 2006 the lighthouse became available for transfer or sale under NHLPA. Dorchester County and the Chesapeake Chapter applied for ownership, and in early 2008 the National Park Service recommended a transfer to the Chapter. The transfer of ownership was completed in June 2009. The Chapter carried out initial clean-up work at the lighthouse in 2009 and planned more extensive restoration. However, in 2016 the Chapter notified the Coast Guard that they were willing to surrender the lighthouse if another steward could be found. In February 2017 a new notice of availability was issued. Located in the Chesapeake about 4 miles (6.5 km) west of Middle Hooper Island. Accessible only by boat. There are distant views from many points near Hoopersville. Site open, tower closed except for occasional tours offered by the Chapter. Owner/site manager: Chesapeake Chapter U.S. Lighthouse Society . ARLHS USA-377; Admiralty J2080; USCG 2-7590.
*** Choptank River (2) replica
2012 replica of 1858 lighthouse. Active (privately maintained and unofficial); focal plane about 45 ft (14 m). Octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery centered on a 1-story octagonal wood keeper's house, all on a platform supported by piles. Lighthouse painted white; roofs are red. Peter Miller's photo is at the top of this page, Anderson has a page with photos, and another photo and a second photo are available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This replica of the second Choptank River lighthouse, the one relocated from Cherrystone Bar in Virginia, was built off the end of Long Wharf at Cambridge by the Choptank River Lighthouse Society. After years of planning and fundraising, work finally began in 2010 with site preparation. Work on the lighthouse itself began in August 2011, and the lighthouse was lit in dedication ceremonies on 22 September 2012. The lighthouse includes a museum and the office of the town's dockmaster. In 2015 a 5th order Fresnel lens, a fog bell, and a replica launch boat were added to the exhibits. Located on a pier at Long Wharf Park, at the end of High Street in downtown Cambridge. Site open; lighthouse open daily May 1 through November 1. Owner: City of Cambridge. Site manager: Choptank River Lighthouse Society .
Hooper Island
Hooper Island Light, Hoopersville, September 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Craig Bruce

Talbot County Lighthouses
Choptank River (3)
1964 (station established 1871). Active; focal plane 35 ft (11 m); white flash every 4 s. 35 ft (11 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower on a screwpile platform. A photo (third photo on the page) is available, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse, a cottage screwpile, was destroyed by ice in 1917. It was replaced in 1920 by another cottage screwpile, an 1858 model relocated from Cherrystone Bar VA. Located in the river southwest of Oxford. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-984; Admiralty J2115; USCG 2-24915.
Sharps Island (3)
1882 (station established 1838). Inactive since 2010; charted only as an obstruction. 40 ft (12 m) round cast iron sparkplug tower, including keeper's quarters, mounted on an iron caisson; 250 mm lens (1977). Lighthouse and caisson painted dark red. Craig Bruce's photo is at right, a 2007 photo is available, and Marinas.com has aerial photos. Sibling of Bloody Point Bar Light (see below). The original lighthouse (1838) was built on land, but the island has completely eroded away. Endangered: ice in the winter of 1976-77 pushed the tower over at a 15° angle, and that angle has increased to about 20°. The lighthouse is on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List. In 2006 the lighthouse became available for transfer or sale under NHLPA. The National Park Service considered an application, but apparently rejected it. In September 2008 the lighthouse was sold for $80,000 to AFB, Inc., of Bear, Delaware. Nothing is known of the new owner. Located 4 miles (6.5 km) off the southwestern tip of Tilghman Island (visible from the end of MD 33). Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-751; ex-Admiralty J2112; ex-USCG 2-7690.
**** Hooper Strait (2)
1879 (station established 1867). Reactivated (inactive 1966-1967, now privately maintained and unofficial; charted as a landmark); focal plane 41 ft (12.5 m); the light flashes the Morse code for CBMM, the initials of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Screwpile lighthouse with octagonal keeper's house; 4th order Fresnel lens (1867) on display. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. Tiffany Bridges's photo appears at the top of this page, Lighthouse Digest has Jeremy D'Entremont's 2001 feature article on the lighthouse and museum, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Originally located in Tangier Sound, the lighthouse replaced an 1867 screwpile lighthouse destroyed by ice in 1877. The lighthouse was relocated in 1966 some 40 miles (65 km) north to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael's. Fully restored. The 1889 square cylindrical wood bell tower from Point Lookout Light is also on display. In 2004 the lighthouse was opened for family weekend stays. Located on the waterfront in St. Michael's. Site and tower open daily (museum admission fee). Owner/site manager: Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum ARLHS USA-378; ex-Admiralty J2030.
Sharp's Island Light
Sharps Island Light, Tilghman Island, July 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Craig Bruce

Queen Anne's County (Kent Island) Lighthouses
Bloody Point Bar ("The Coffee Pot")
1882. Active; focal plane 54 ft (16.5 m); white flash every 6 s (2 red sectors cover nearby shoals). 40 ft (12 m) round cast iron sparkplug tower, including keeper's quarters, mounted on an iron caisson; 300 mm lens. Lighthouse and caisson painted gray. Fog horn (3 s blast every 30 s) operates continuously Sept. 15 through June 1. A 2013 photo is at right, Trabas has a photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs, a 2008 closeup photo is available, Wikimedia has several photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Bing has a satellite view. The interior of the lighthouse was gutted by fire in 1960. Endangered: the lighthouse was repaired in 1988 but needs thorough restoration, and the tower has a slight lean. This lighthouse was never offered for transfer under NHLPA. Nonetheless, in September 2006, the U.S. General Services Administration placed the building for sale in an online auction, and in December it was sold for $100,000 to Michael Gabriel, a Nevada lawyer. Gabriel, who also owns the Fourteen Foot Bank Light in Delaware and the Borden Flats Light in Massachusetts, intends to renovate the lighthouse, but no work has been scheduled yet. In 2017 the Coast Guard declared the tower unsafe and proposed to discontinue the light. Located in the Chesapeake off the south end of Kent Island. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-063; Admiralty J2186; USCG 2-7750.
[Love Point (3)]
Date unknown (station established 1872). Active; focal plane 35 ft (10.5 m); white flash every 6 s (red sector covers nearby shoals). Approx. 30 ft (9 m) post light, mounted amid the ruins of a square platform supported by piles. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The Coast Guard has a photo of the original hexagonal cottage screwpile lighthouse; it was demolished in 1964 and replaced by a skeletal tower mounted on the platform of the lighthouse. Located about 1.25 miles (2 km) northeast of Love Point, Kent Island, in the mouth of the Chester River. Should be visible from the end of MD 18. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-455; Admiralty J2218; USCG 2-8340.

Kent County Lighthouses
Brewerton Channel Eastern Extension Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 110ft (33.5 m); continuous white light. Approx. 82 ft (25 m) slender square cylindrical skeletal tower. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The range guides vessels leaving Baltimore for locations to the north. The front light is on a 52 ft (16 m) mast. Located on the west side of Eastern Neck Road (MD 445) about 1.25 mi (2 km) south of Rock Hall. Site and tower closed (private property) but the light can be seen from the road. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1430; Admiralty J2250.1; USCG 2-8395.
Bloody Point Bar Light
Bloody Point Bar Light, Kent Island, July 2013
photo copyright Tony Pasek; used by permission
Worton Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 93 ft (28 m); white flash every 6 s. Approx. 82 ft (25 m) square skeletal tower with an enclosed equipment room at the top. Lighthouse painted white. Dan Hatcher has contributed a photo, and Google has a good satellite view. Located on Worton Point, a wooded promontory about 2.5 miles (4 km) off MD 297 northwest of Newtown. Site status unknown. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1412; Admiralty J2322; USCG 2-8760.
* Elk River Channel South Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 203 ft (62 m); continuous white light. Approx. 160 ft (49 m) square steel skeletal tower with gallery. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels southbound in the channel. Located on the south side of Still Pond Neck Road. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1428; Admiralty J2340.1; USCG 2-8940.
Elk River Channel South Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 103 ft (31 m); continuous white light. Approx. 30 ft (9 m) square steel skeletal tower with gallery. Trabas has a photo, and the top of the tower emerges from trees in Google's satellite view. Located on the south side of the entrance to Sassafras River. Site and tower closed (private property). Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1427; Admiralty J2340; USCG 2-8935.

Cecil County Lighthouses
Grove Point Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 61 ft (19 m); white light occulting once every 4 s. 61 ft (19 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower with two galleries; there is an enclosed equipment shelter on the upper gallery. Tower painted yellow, equipment shelter white. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The range guides northbound vessels. The front light is on a similar but much smaller tower. Located a short distance offshore south of Hazelmoor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1424; Admiralty J2338.1; USCG 2-8890.
* Bethel Bridge (replica)
1996 (replica of a 19th century lighthouse). Inactive. 30 ft (9 m) hexagonal wood tower with a small lantern. Tower painted white, lantern black. A photo is at right, Wikimedia has a good photo by Jennifer Schmidt, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. This tower is a reconstruction of one of a number of beacons used on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Built by a private company, the canal was completed in 1829. The beacons were not lighthouses in the usual sense; they were traffic signals controlling the entry of vessels into the four locks of the canal. The federal government bought the canal in 1919, and between 1935 and 1938 the Army Corps of Engineers replaced it with a much wider and deeper facilty having no locks. The beacons must have been removed around this time. Construction of the replica was sponsored by the Chesapeake City Lions Club. Located a short walk from the C&D Canal Museum, Canal Road and Bethel Road, in Chesapeake City. Site open, museum open Monday through Friday, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Museum. ARLHS USA-1004.
* Oldfield Point Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 122 ft (37 m); white light occulting once every 4 s. Approx. 82 ft (25 m) triangular skeletal tower with gallery. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels in the main channel of the Elk River approaching the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Located in a residential neighborhood on Old Ferry Road at Clearview Court in Oldfield Point, on the north side of the Elk River estuary. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1422; Admiralty J2351.1; USCG 2-9030.


Bethel Bridge Light, Chesapeake City, June 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by hatchski

Elk River Channel North Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 140 ft (42.5 m); continuous white light. Approx. 75 ft (23 m) triangular skeletal tower with gallery. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels in the entrance channel for the Elk River estuary. The front light is on a 35 ft (11 m) mast. Located in a forest about 3/4 mi (1.2 km) southwest of the Oldfield Point Rear Light. Site and tower closed (private property). Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1426; Admiralty J2348.1; USCG 2-8995.
Oldfield Point Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 92 ft (28 m); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off; also a passing light (white flash every 4 s) at a focal plane of 34 ft (10 m). 92 ft (28 m) mast with three galleries; there is a small equipment shelter on the lowest gallery. Mast painted yellow, equipment shelter white. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view in which the mast appears to be red. Located in Piney Creek Cove on the north side of the Elk River channel, 1.1 mi (1.75 km) southwest of the rear light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1421; Admiralty J2351; USCG 2-9025.
** Turkey Point
1833 (John Donahoo). Reactivated (inactive 2000-2002, now privately maintained); focal plane 129 ft (39 m); white flash every 6 s. 38 ft (11.5 m) round old-style brick tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white, lantern black. David Hsu's photo is at right, Greg Jansky has posted a photo with some hiking directions, the preservation society has photos, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view and a foggy street view by Michael Temme-Soifer. The keeper's house was demolished in 1971, but preservationists are raising funds to rebuild it. Oil house preserved. In 2000, the Coast Guard deactivated the light and leased the lighthouse and oil house to the preservation group. Electricity was brought to the point and the light was relit 30 November 2002. In 2004 the lighthouse became available under NHLPA, and in 2006 the property was transferred to the State of Maryland, which renewed the lease of the light station to the preservation group. The spiral stairway was rebuilt in 2007. The group hopes to raise $400,000 for rebuilding the keeper's house. Located on a 100 ft (30 m) bluff at the end of Elk Neck in Elk Neck State Park. Accessible by hiking trail (0.8 mile or 1.3 km each way). Site open, tower open Saturdays and Sundays May 1 through October 31. Owner: Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Site manager: Turkey Point Light Station. ARLHS USA-857; Admiralty J2344; USCG 2-8975.

Turkey Point Light, Elk Neck, September 2005
Flickr Creative Commons photo by David Hsu

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Clay Island (1832-1892), Wicomico River entrance. The lighthouse was replaced by the Sharkfin Shoal Light; it has disappeared completely. There is no longer a light at this location. ARLHS USA-992.
  • Fog Point (1827-1875), northern tip of Smith Island. This lighthouse was replaced in 1875 by the Solomons Lump Light, described above. There is no longer a light at the original location. ARLHS USA-993.

Notable faux lighthouse:

  • Pine Beach (2006), south side of Wicomico River. This octagonal wood house was designed to resemble the Hooper Strait Light (see above). A decorative white light is often displayed, but it has no navigational value. Google has a street view and a satellite view.

Adjoining pages: North: Southeastern Pennsylvania | East: Delaware | South: Virginia | West: Maryland Western Shore

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Checked and revised May 31, 2016. Lighthouses: 24. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.