Fort Carroll Light was originally built on a parapet of Fort Carroll in 1854 with a sixth-order Fresnel lens. The lighthouse and fog bell were removed in 1898 to make room for the fort’s expansion. A new light was constructed in December of the same year; a square wooden tower with black cast iron lantern with a fifth-order Fresnel lens. What remains is the ruined square cylindrical frame tower from 1898. The fifth-order Fresnel lens was removed.
Fort Carroll and the lighthouse sit atop a man-made island in the middle of the Patapsco River. The hexagonal fort was built to protect the approach to Baltimore. The fort was abandoned after the end of World War I and the light was automated in 1920. During World War II the fort was used as a firing range and to house foreign seamen while their ships were fumigated. The light was deactivated in 1945.
The fort was sold into private ownership in 1958. In 2000 a local developer signed a lease on the property; no purpose has been announced. Now endangered and in a state of decay, the light is now on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List.
Head Keepers: Martin Kasson (1854 – 1863), Donald Wilkinson (1863 – 1864), George McCracken (1864 – 1869), James Boyle (1869 – 1873), James E. Meeds (1873 – 1901), Sarah E. Meeds (1901), George F. Culleton (1901 – 1911), William K. Slacum (1911 – 1914), Theodore Schlatzer (1914 – 1921).
Directions: Best seen by boat, Fort Carroll lighthouse can also be seen while driving eastbound on the Francis Scott Key Bridge on the southern side of the Baltimore Beltway (I-695). It can also be seen from Fort Armistead Park. To reach Fort Armistead Park, take Exit 1 from I-695 and follow Quarantine Road south to Hawkins Point Road. Follow Hawkins Point east to Fort Armistead Road, and follow Fort Armistead Road to the park.