Somers Cove Lighthouse

On March 2, 1867, Congress appropriated $10,000 to construct a lighthouse to mark the entrance to the Little Annemessex River at Crisfield, MD., situated just north of the Virginia line on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay. According to the U.S. Lighthouse Board, it should be “a screwpile structure of the least expensive class.”

The lighthouse was a small, 21-foot by 20-foot 7-inch square screwpile structure with vertical lap siding supported by a red sleeve pile foundation. There was a total of four rooms on the main level, a living room, bedroom, storeroom, coatroom, and closet. There were two, 200-gallon cisterns made of iron to store water collected from the roof. The lighthouse was equipped with a small, 17-inch tall sixth-order Fresnel lens which exhibited a fixed white light. There was also a machine operated fog bell.

On December 22, 1898, Keeper William Insley was seriously injured after multiple days of foggy weather and very little rest. While winding up the fog bell, part of the machinery broke, causing the fan to operate at a fast speed. Trying to stop it, he put in his hand, severely damaging it. He then tried to stop it with his foot, only to have it smashed by the crank handle.

In 1928, the lighthouse was automated and in 1932, the lighthouse was dismantled, leaving only the iron foundation. A flashing white light lit by compressed acetylene gas is mounted to the remaining foundation and renamed Little Annemessex River Light No. 7. As of 2020, some of the original foundation framework remains with a warning day beacon on a skeletal tower. Local watermen refer to the remains as “skeleton light”.

In October 2021, the skeletal tower that was mounted to the original iron foundation, was destroyed by high winds.

Head Keepers: David Wallace (1867), A.R. Harvey (1867 – 1869), James Lawson (1869 – 1878), Thomas Riggin (1878 – 1882), William F. Conner (1882 – 1883), Joshua Gillis (1883), Alexander W. Nelson (1883 – 1884), Henry S. Moore (1884 – 1890), John L. Ashmead (1890 – 1892), William M. Insley (1893 – 1903), Obed T. Dize (1903 – 1904), Edgar T. Somers (1904 – 1926)

Assistants:  Thomas S. Dougherty (1871 – 1878), John Whittington (1878 – 1881), Seth Blades (1881 – 1882), William F. Conner (1882), Loemuel T. Nelson (1907 – 1908), Loemuel T. Nelson (1909 – 1911), J. E. McDorman (1911 – 1912), Andrew A. Nelson (at least 1913 – at least 1919)

Updated 7/3/2020




GPS: 37.9665,-75.8775


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