Category: Timelines

Timeline: Old Point Comfort

(Located on East Mellen Street, in front of Fort Monroe, facing the Chesapeake Bay, north side of the entrance to Hampton Roads, VA – Revised – 04/26/13) 1802/1803 54 foot octagonal cut-stone tower built by Elzy Burroughs – 2nd oldest lighthouse on the Bay; location- Fort George. 1812 British troops capture Fort George and use …

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Timeline: Wolf Trap

(Located three miles offshore, between the York & entrance to Rappahannock Rivers, Mathews County, VA – 03-14-18) 1821 Lightship stationed on Wolf Trap Shoal. 1861 Confederate troops destroy lightship. 1864 Lightship station re-established. 1870 Screw pile lighthouse built on shoal. 1893 Lighthouse destroyed by ice floes and swept 20 miles down the bay, settling near …

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Timeline: Thimble Shoal

(Located 3.5 miles east of Old Point Comfort, mouth of James River, Hampton Roads, VA) 1821 Lightship stationed near Thimble Shoal. 1872 First lighthouse, a screwpile, erected. 10/30/1880 Screwpile cottage destroyed by fire. Foundation survives. 12/24/1880 Screwpile cottage, destined for Bells Rock, VA installed instead on existing ironwork. 2nd fog bell installed. 1891 Lighthouse rammed …

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Timeline: Smith Point

(Located 80 miles south of Baltimore on the Virginia side of the entrance of the Potomac River, 2.5 miles east-southeast of Smith Point) 1802-93 Two land-based lighthouses, two lightships and one screwpile in service. 1893 Screwpile damaged by ice. Keepers abandon station. 1895 Screwpile carried away by ice. 1897 Present 52 foot tall caisson light …

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Timeline: Newport News Middle Ground

(Located at the confluence of the James River and the Chesapeake Bay, Hampton Roads, Newport News, VA. Oldest caisson lighthouse in Virginia. Revised 04/04/18.) 1891 56-foot tall caisson with tower and cast-iron lantern built on L-shaped Middle Ground shoal. Five levels with basement in the top of the caisson. Fitted with 4th-order Fresnel lens and …

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Timeline: New Point Comfort

(Located at entrance of Mobjack Bay, 21 miles north of Old Point Comfort, in Mathews County, VA. Visible from observation platform /walkway at VA Nature Conservancy’s New Point Comfort Preserve, Bavon, VA – 03/25/18) 1804 58-foot octagonal cut-stone tower, 3rd oldest lighthouse on the Bay built by first keeper, Elzy Burroughs. 1865 4th-order Fresnel lens …

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Timeline: Jones Point

(Located one mile south of Alexandria, VA – on west bank of Potomac River, Jones Point Park, just south of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge) (Revised-04/18/13) 1856 Present white wooden frame dwelling with integral roof-mounted black lantern constructed by Charles Church. Illumination by whale oil lamps in 5th –order Fresnel lens. 1858 Light fueled by newly …

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Timeline: Assateague

(Located within Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Chincoteague, VA) 1833 First brick tower, 45 foot tall, built. 1860 Construction of second and present tower begun. Work suspended during the Civil war. 1866-1867 Construction of 142 foot brick tower resumed and completed. Fitted with first-order Fresnel lens. Large keepers’ dwelling constructed. 1874 Life-saving station established three miles …

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Timeline: Turkey Point Lighthouse

(Located in Elk Neck State Park, Cecil County, MD – tallest focal plane of any MD lighthouse –- Home to four women keepers – Revised 04/01/18) 1833 Thirty-five foot masonry tower and wooden keepers’ quarters built by John Donahoo on 100-foot bluff overlooking the Elk and North East Rivers. 1856 Fourth-order Fresnel lens visible for …

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Timeline: Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse

(The last manned lighthouse of the Chesapeake Bay) 1825 First lighthouse, a granite tower, built 100 feet inland on seven acre parcel by John Donahoo. Fitted with Argand style lighting apparatus. 1840 Second lighthouse, a masonry tower built by Winslow Lewis. 1st tower demolished. 1855 Lamp replaced by 5th order Fresnel lens. 1875 Third and …

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Timeline: Solomon’s Lump Lighthouse

(Located on south side of Kedges Strait near Smith Island between the Chesapeake Bay and Tangier Sound – nearly eight miles from land) 1875 First lighthouse, a screwpile built on Solomons Lump shoal. 1893 Lighthouse damaged by moving ice and later carried away by ice during construction of present caisson. 1895 Present steel caisson on cast-iron …

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Timeline: Sharps Island Lighthouse

(The leaning light of the Chesapeake Bay) 1838 First lighthouse, a wooden tower, built on the island (900 acres). 1848 Lighthouse moved inland due to erosion (now – 450 acres). 1855 Lighthouse refitted with 5th order Fresnel lens. 1865/66 Second light, a screwpile, built on shoal. 1881 Screwpile destroyed by ice. Structure w/ keepers aboard …

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Timeline: Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse

(Located at Pier 5, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD – Oldest screwpile lighthouse in Maryland – Revised 09/02/08) 1855 Light station established at the mouth of the Patapsco River. Second screwpile built on the bay – unique circular design 40 feet in diameter and made of cast-iron. Nearby Bodkin Light decommissioned. 1856 Fourth-order Fresnel lens installed. …

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Timeline: Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse

(Located north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, offshore from Sandy Point State Park, near Annapolis, MD – Revised – 09/02/08) 1858 First lighthouse established on land at Sandy Point. 1883 Present three-story, 51 foot tall red brick dwelling with white roof on brown constructed on caisson, 1,000 yards from Sandy Point State Park. 1890 Flashing …

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Timeline: Pooles Island Lighthouse

(Located on Pooles Island, off the mouth of the Gunpowder River – part of the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Oldest lighthouse still standing in MD – 4th Oldest LH on the Chesapeake Bay – 07/13/14) 1825 40 foot tall white-washed conical tower of Port Deposit granite built by John Donahoo- his second lighthouse project, assisted by …

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Timeline: Piney Point Lighthouse

1836 Thirty-four foot tall brick lighthouse and Keepers’ dwelling built by John Donahoo of Havre de Grace, MD for $3,888. 1855 Old reflecting apparatus consisting of 10 lamps and 10 15-inch reflectors replaced with a 5th order Fresnel lens. Range increased to 11 miles. 1880 Thirty foot tall bell tower added to the light station …

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Timeline: Hooper Strait Lighthouse

(Located on the grounds of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St.Michael’s, MD) 1827 Light station established. Several lightships in service. 1867 First screwpile built on north side of the entrance into Tangier Sound, marking the shoal on the north side of the channel between the mainland and Bloodsworth Island. 1877 Screwpile carried away and destroyed …

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Timeline: Hooper Island Lighthouse

(Located on the westerly point of the shoals to the west of Hooper Island and on the eastern side of the Bay – exactly halfway up the Chesapeake Bay) 1901 Construction of caisson with iron and brick dwelling constructed in 18 feet of water using pneumatic process begins (one of seven bay lights built using …

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Timeline: Holland Island Bar Lighthouse

(Located west of Holland Island, north of Smith Island, approx. 12 miles from mainland.) 1889 Hexagonal one and a half story cottage screwpile (similar to Drum Point LH) built at Lazaretto Depot and towed to site on Tangier Sound. Exhibits a fixed white light from a 4th order Fresnel lens. Fog bell also installed. 1905 …

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Timeline: Fort Washington Lighthouse

(Located at Fort Washington Park, Fort Washington, MD – Prince Georges County -revised 09/02/08) 1857 Light station – 18 1⁄2 foot cast-iron column with small light established at the intersection of the Potomac River w/ Swan and Piscataway Creeks. 1870 Small tower with 6th-order lens built. 1882 Present structure – 32 foot pyramidal wooden fog …

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Timeline: Fishing Battery Lighthouse

(Located on Fishing Battery Island, 2.5 miles below the entrance to the Susquehanna River, Havre de Grace, MD) 1853 Construction of 32-foot tall, integral one and a half story brick lighthouse/dwelling built by John Donahoo. This was his last of 13 lighthouses. Fitted with 5 lamps and reflectors. 1855 Fitted with 6th-order Fresnel lens. 1864 …

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Timeline: Point No Point Lighthouse

(Located six miles north of Point Lookout and nine miles south by southwest of Hooper Island Light) 1902 Construction begins on wooden caisson by Toomey Brothers of New York. 1903 Temporary pier collapses; caisson breaks apart in gale force winds and drifts down the bay, settling near the Rappahannock River, 40 miles south of construction …

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Timeline: Point Lookout Lighthouse

1830    One and one half story integral lighthouse built at the mouth of the Potomac River by John Donahoo of Havre De Grace, MD. James Davis serves as first keeper but dies within months of taking office. 1862   Hammond General Hospital established near lighthouse. 1863   Camp Hoffman (Union Prisoner of War Camp …

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Timeline: Cedar Point Lighthouse

(One of the shorter-lived lighthouse on the Bay) 1896 Three story cottage style structure of wood & brick with a square white tower attached to one corner built on a peninsula near the entrance to the Patuxent River. October 31, 1896 Fourth-order Fresnel lens flashing red at five-second intervals is lit. 1907 First erosion control project initiated. 1928 Lighthouse …

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Timeline: Drum Point Lighthouse

(Located on grounds of Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, MD) 1883 Forty-six foot tall, white hexagonal 1 1⁄2 story cottage on seven wrought-iron screwpiles constructed on the north side of the mouth of the Patuxent River in ten to twelve feet of water, 70 feet offshore. Exhibited a fixed red light with 4th-order Fresnel lens. 1933 …

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Timeline: Cove Point Lighthouse

(Located four miles north of the entrance of Patuxent River, Calvert County, MD. Oldest continuously operating lighthouse in MD- Revised 04/02/18) 1828 Forty-foot tall masonry tower marking the shoal that extends offshore near Calvert Cliffs, MD and detached keepers dwelling built by John Donahoo. Fitted with eleven lamps and 18” reflectors. James Somerville appointed first …

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Timeline: Concord Point Lighthouse

(Northernmost Maryland Lighthouse – located on Susquehanna River in town of Havre de Grace, MD) 1827 Thirty-eight and a half foot tall conical tower of Port Deposit granite and detached keepers’ dwelling built on nearby separate land parcel by John Donahoo. 1827 John O’Neill, local hero from the War of 1812 appointed first keeper. 1855 …

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Timeline: Blackistone Island Lighthouse

(Located on the southern tip of St. Clement’s Island, St. Mary’s County, MD, on the mouth of the St. Marys’ River on the Potomac River. AKA Blakistone Island – revised 8/16/13) 1851 Two story brick dwelling with integral tower built on Blackistone Island by John Donahoo. 2nd last lighthouse built by Donahoo. 1857 Tower fitted …

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Timeline: Bloody Point Bar Lighthouse

1882 37 foot tall iron beacon on 30 foot caisson (similar to Sharps Island light) constructed off the tip of Kent Island. Equipped with 4th order Fresnel lens, foghorn & bell backup. 1883 Gales scour sand from under northwest side of lighthouse and cause six degree tilt. 1884/85 Dredging and construction of a 760 ton …

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Timeline: Baltimore Lighthouse

(Last conventional lighthouse built on Chesapeake Bay) 1890:   The Lighthouse Board requests $60,000 for a lighthouse to mark the entrance to the Baltimore Channel at the mouth of the Magothy River. 1894:   Congress appropriates $60,000 on August 18, 1894. 1895:   Test borings reveal 55 feet of soft mud before reaching sand, which causes a delay. …

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