Lower Cedar Point Station

Lower Cedar Point, 1825-1867

In 1825, the first of two lower Cedar Point lightships were positioned in the section of the Potomac River often referred to as the “narrows of the Potomac”.  This is approximately 40 miles upriver from the Chesapeake Bay.  From 1825-1861, the lightship designated as “DD”, occupied this position until the ship was destroyed and removed by Confederate forces.  Built in 1837 for approximately $10,000, this ship was a small 72-ton lead-colored wooden sailing schooner with large black letters on each side, and a single four-sided lantern with 12 cylindrical wicks. The ship was refitted in April 1855 in Alexandria, Virginia. The old lighting apparatus was replaced with a new octagonal lantern with 8 large sized panes.

In April 1861, lightship “DD” was captured by the Confederates during the Civil War. The station remained vacant from April 1861 through September 1864.

In September 1864, LV-24 was placed again at the Lower Cedar Point station. Built in 1863 by Stephen Andrews in Massachusetts for a contract price of $47,500 (this was for 3 vessels), this vessel was 77-feet long and powered by 2 sailing masts. Each mast held an iron day marker and two lanterns, each with eight oil lamps and a hand-operated fog bell.  On August 6, 1867, the light was removed when Lower Cedar Point Lighthouse was completed.

The lightship was then hauled to Norfolk, Virginia to be caulked and then painted yellow. LV-24 then went on to serve at York Spit (Virginia) from 1867-1870. LV-24 was retired from lightship duty in 1889 at 26 years old.  On May 16, 1890, it was sold at a public auction for $200.

Crew: Sylvester Smoot (1843 – 1844), William Stinton (1844 – 1855), Thomas Shorter (1845 – 1849), James H. Morgan (1849), James A. Jones (1853), Thomas Posey (1853 – 1860), J.M. Dutton (1860), Thomas Hale (1863 – 1865), Thomas Burroughs (1865)


  1. Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, various years.
  2. Forgotten Beacons, Patrick Hornberger & Linda Turbyville, 1997
  3. Lightships-Floating Lighthouses of the Mid-Atlantic, Wayne Kirklin, 2007.
  4. Lower Cedar Point Lightship Station History. (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2020, from http://www.uscglightshipsailors.org/lower_cedar_point_lightship_station_history.htm

Updated 7/17/2020





Permanent link to this article: https://cheslights.org/lower-cedar-point-station/