Hooper Island Lighthouse was constructed at a price of $60,000. Construction began on the lighthouse in 1901, and the construction was completed and the fourth-order Fresnel lens was first exhibited on June 1, 1902.
Hooper Island Lighthouse is one of only five lights constructed in the Bay during the 1900’s. The Hooper Island Lighthouse is located in approximately 18′ of water, approximately three miles west of Hooperville, Upper Hooper Island. It is a caisson style light, sunk 13.5 feet into the muddy bottom of the Bay. It was first lit in 1902. The height of the light above the water is 63 feet. The deck is about 18 feet above the water level.
There are four living levels. The first level is comprised of the kitchen. The second, third, and fourth levels served as a bedroom, office, and living space for the keepers. These levels are lined with white glazed bricks. There is also a watch room level and lantern level.
The original 1902 lens was a fourth-order Fresnel manufactured by F. Babier & Company, Paris, in 1888. In 1904, the light was changed to a fixed white with an eclipse every 15 seconds. This light was automated in 1961 and the keepers removed. In 1976 the fourth-order Fresnel lens was stolen and the Coast Guard replaced it with a solar optic.
On September 8, 1918, the body of keeper Captain Calvin H. Bozman was spotted by the captain of a schooner sailing through the Hooper Straits. Captain Bozman had been visiting his family at Dames Quarter.
In 1936, the lighthouse was electrified. The fog bell, manufactured by McShane of Baltimore in 1901, was changed to a Cunningham air diaphragm foghorn in the late 1930s. The fog bell was retained as a backup.
Of the eleven pneumatic caisson lighthouses built in the United States, seven were built in the Chesapeake Bay; three were built in the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay (Wolf Trap Lighthouse, 1894, Smith Point Lighthouse, 1897, and Thimble Shoal Lighthouse, 1914); and four in the Maryland portion of Chesapeake Bay (Solomons Lump Lighthouse, 1895, Hooper Island Lighthouse, 1902, Point No Point Lighthouse, 1905, and Baltimore Lighthouse, 1908). Hooper Island Lighthouse is the only cast-iron caisson lighthouse in Maryland with a watch room and lantern surmounted on the tower.
In 2006, the lighthouse was deemed excess property by the Coast Guard. In May 2009, the deed for the lighthouse was given to the U.S. Lighthouse Society.
In 2017, the U.S. Lighthouse Society announced it was open to have another person or organization take over ownership of the lighthouse. A Notice of Availability was released in May 2021, and organizations were given until July 19, 2021 to submit letters of interest.
On August 8, 2022, the GSA (General Services Administration) opened an online auction for the lighthouse with the starting bid at $15,000.
- Keeper Bio: Wingate, Henry Clay
- Keeper Bio: Bounds, Otho
- Timeline: Hooper Island Lighthouse
- Hooper Island Lighthouse
Head Keepers: Albert Olsen (1902 – 1904), John B. Suit (1904), Walter C. Carew (1904), Charles H. Applegarth (1904 – 1914), Otho Bounds (1914 – 1915), John L. Ennis (1915 – 1916), Calvin Bozman (1917-1918), Otho Bounds (1916 – 1922), Edwin C. Tyler (at least 1923 – at least 1930), Stephen B. Tillett (at least 1939), David E. Quidley (at least 1940 – 1941), Joseph D. Barnett (1941 – at least 1942), Neil Harris (1953-1955), Albert Kreutzer (1953-1955), Harold M. Messick (bef 1953- at least 1955)
Assistants: William R. Schoenfelder (1902 – 1904), Henry C. Wingate (1904 – 1905), J.B. Jarrett (1905), George G. Johnson (1905), Charles F. Hayden (1905), George B. Wingate (1905 – 1910), Samuel W. Norton (1910), James T. Parks (1910 – 1911), William T. Collins (1911), Ulman Owens (1918), Stratton B. Robins (1911 – 1912), John E. Stubbs (1912), McAlister R. Montague (1912), J.W. Conway (1912), Joseph T. Oliver (1912 – 1913), Harry O. Monsell (1913 – 1914), George C. Thomas (1914), John D. Brady (1914 – at least 1915), B. Frank Bradsahw ( 1913– 1917), Walter McDorman (1917 –1918 ), Albert W.S. Tyler (at least 1919), John T. Saunders ( – 1921), Edwin C. Tyler (1921 – ), Edward Linton (1922 – 1924), Olaf Johnson ( – 1926), James W. Simpson (1926), H.R. Laird (at least 1930), Kendrick H. Dickerson (1936 – 1944), Burton Whaley (1949 – 1952), Edward M. Hayman (bef 1925 – ?)
GPS: [38.25632 -76.24987]