Bloody Point Bar Lighthouse

The U.S. Lighthouse Board received several requests for the establishment of a lighthouse on Kent Island. Bloody Point Bar was the final choice and a request was submitted in 1868 to mark both the bar and the northern entrance to the Eastern Bay. The request was repeated in 1869. In March of 1881, Congress finally appropriated $25,000 “for the erection of a lighthouse and fog-bell on Bloody Point Bar, Kent Island, Chesapeake Bay”. It had only taken 13 years since the first request. Once the money was appropriated it seems things moved fairly swiftly. They chose a plan similar to the Sharps Island caisson light and in fact, used the same supplier for the ironwork. After the ironwork was completed, construction began on June 5th, 1882. By the end of August the tower was completed, the brick lining finished, and the roof installed. Interior work was completed in early September. The light was commissioned on October 1 of 1882.

When completed Bloody Point Bar light station had a 37-foot tall iron tower with a one-story decagonal iron lantern. The first two stories of the tower housed the keeper’s quarters and the watch room. An upper gallery surrounds the lantern on top of the tower. The lighthouse is located in about seven feet of water at the edge of the shipping channel, east-southeast of Kent Point, Kent Island.

In 1884 the lighthouse developed a list of about 6 degrees after severe gales caused scouring of the sand from under the northwest side of the light. Riprap was dropped but appeared to disappear and did not seem to improve things. Later in the year sand was dredged from the high side in an attempt to level the light. This corrected half of the list. During the spring of 1885, 760 tons of large stone was used to create a scour apron. This appeared to have little effect.

In 1899, the fog bell-striking machine was upgraded and many other repairs were made to the doors, windows, and inflow water pipes. At some point, the timber frame roof sheathed with cast iron that protected the gallery was removed. The date of this is unknown.

In 1960 a fire, which is believed to have started when electrical wires connected to the light shorted out, gutted the light. There were two keepers on duty at the time. They tried to fight the fire, but there was too much smoke and they abandoned the light shortly before the propane tanks exploded. It took over six hours to put out the blaze. The fourth-order Fresnel lens fell into the burning light. A temporary bell buoy with a flashing light was placed next to the damaged structure.

In late 1961, a lamp and lens were installed and the light was automated. The structure was completely gutted and the interior of the superstructure is now empty except for the access ladder to the lantern. Many of the exterior features such as the lower gallery roof, stovepipe, and davits have been removed. The structure lists approximately two degrees toward the south.

The light was never listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but much of the information in this history is from the inventory document prepared for the register. The light is now on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List.

Head Keepers: Benjamin F. Lewis (1882 – 1883), William T. Bullen (1883 – 1886), William J. McGinley (1886), George H. Nelson (1886 – 1889), Robert G. Kinnamon (1889 – 1891), Julius U. Ringgold (1891 – 1892), Christopher C. Butler (1892 – 1904), Elisha T. Shockley (1904 – at least 1925), James O. Casey (at least 1930 – at least 1931), H.R. Hanberry ( – 1938), James T. Somers (1938 – 1939), Lewis R. Carman (1939 – 1940), Hiram T. White (1940 –), Tom White (at least 1945 – at least 1948)

Assistant Keepers: Joseph B. Ross (1882 – 1883), William T. Bullen (1883), Joseph Ross (1883), Jacob W. Bullen (1883 – 1884), William Ally (1884), J.E. Coleman (1884 – 1886), George H. Nelson (1886), William J. Hoxter (1886 – 1888), William T. Barton (1888 – 1889), Julius U. Ringgold (1889 – 1891), James D. Cowman (1891 – 1892), Moses W. Legg (1892 – 1899), John H. Grain (1900 – 1901), Fabious F. Dailey (1901), George Conner (1901 – 1902), Loch W. Humphreys (1901 – 1905), William T. Donald (1905 – at least 1925), Arthur M. Midgett (at least 1930), H.R. Hanberry, Ray L. Bowers (1936), Hiram T. White (at least 1939 – 1940), Clyde M. Farrow (1940 – )

(Updated 9/15/2020)




GPS: [38.83375 -76.391667]

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