Greenbury Point Lighthouse

Greenbury Point Lighthouse – 1895, Photo Courtesy US Coast Guard

In 1846, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a resolution to construct a lighthouse in Greenbury Point on the north side of the entrance to the Severn River & Annapolis Harbor. On March 3, 1847, $3,500 was appropriated to construct the lighthouse. The land for the lighthouse was purchased at a price of $367.000 and was approximately 3-3/4 acres. William Hooper was awarded the contract to construct the lighthouse for a low bid of $2,645.

Greenbury Point Lighthouse was a 20-foot by 34-foot whitewashed brick structure one- and one-half stories with four rooms and attached kitchen. The roof supported the hexagonal wooden tower located in the center of the roof. This type of structure was common in the early years of lighthouse construction in the Chesapeake Bay area. It was originally equipped with a steamer lens with nine lamps and reflectors which exhibited a fixed white light. This lens was replaced with a sixth-order Fresnel lens in 1855. It was also equipped with a Stevens Bell machine Foghorn which would produce a double blow every 10 seconds. There were two unique elements to this lighthouse; the tower was completely covered with wood shingles and there was a fish-shaped weathervane mounted above the lantern.

Starting in 1878, the U.S. Lighthouse Board recommended building a screwpile lighthouse on the end of the shoal to replace the current lighthouse. The land was eroding and in the current location was not much use because the light was so small and could not be distinguished from the lights of the Naval Academy. This request continued each year through 1888. By this time, the current lighthouse needed extensive repairs, which were delayed in the hope of constructing the new lighthouse.

In 1889, Congress appropriated $25,000 to build the screwpile lighthouse on the shoal as the U.S. Lighthouse Board had recommended for many years. The new lighthouse was completed in 1891 and the older Greenbury Point Lighthouse was deactivated. It was retained for use as a daymark until it collapsed years later.

Head Keepers: Head: Levin Wheeler (1848 – 1850), Thomas Morgan (1850 – 1853), Benjamin Linthicum (1853), Robert Wilson (1853 – 1859), Benjamin Linthicum (1859 – 1861), William Freeman (1861 – 1862), James Hoye (1862 – 1865), James Taylor (1865 – 1868), J.H. Parkinson (1868 – 1869), Benjamin S. Suit (1869 – 1891)

Sources:
1. Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, various years.
2. Forgotten Beacons, Patrick Hornberger & Linda Turbyville, 1997.
3. Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of Finances, various years

(Updated 7/20/2019)


TIMELINE GPS: 38.2992,-76.3860

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