Timeline: Lower Cedar Point Lighthouse

1825:   A 72-ton wood schooner with a single light, “DD”, is stationed at Lower Cedar Point Station on the Potomac River.

1861:   Confederate forces seize and burn the light vessel.

1864:   A second light vessel, LV-24, is placed at Lower Cedar Point. It was a 115-ton wood vessel with an iron day marker, 2 lanterns, each having 8 oil lamps. A guard is provided from the Army to protect the vessel.

1867:   A square cottage screwpile replaces the lightship. It was equipped with a hand operated fog bell, and a fifth-order lens with a Franklin lamp, exhibiting a fixed white light. The light was first displayed in October.

1888:   A fixed red sector is inserted on April 15 to cover the Kettle Bottom shoal.

1893:   On Christmas Day, December 25, the lighthouse burned to the pilings. A lens lantern is immediately placed on the iron substructure. A request is made for an immediate replacement and the cost of the structure will not exceed $75,000.

1895:   Congress appropriates $25,000 for reestablishing the lighthouse at Lower Cedar Point on March 2. It is recommended by the Lighthouse Board that the new structure be erected on the remaining iron piles from the first lighthouse.

1896:   Construction of a second square screwpile lighthouse begins in July and the fourth order fixed white light is first exhibited on September 5.

1899:   New model fourth order lamps are installed.

1906:   To protect the lighthouse from future ice floes, 774.4 cubic yards of riprap stone is added above and below the lighthouse.

1926:   Keeper William G. Rollinson and assistant keeper John L. Callis assist the schooner Grape Shot, which ran ashore near the lighthouse in February.

1926:   On June 19, Keeper William G. Rollinson aids the yacht Elizabeth, after suffering engine trouble. He also offered medical assistance for a woman on board who was injured. The part spent the night at the lighthouse.

1926:   In August, Keeper William G. Rollinson aids the schooner Maine, which ran aground.

1926:   On October 29, Keeper W. G. Rollinson and assistant keeper John L. Callis aids the yacht Dorothy, out of Washington DC which had lost its rudder. In November, they aided the yacht Zaza, which ran aground.

1929:   On July 13, Keeper James W. Simpson and assistant keeper Franklin S. Barnes rescued two men from drowning.

1951:   In August, the lighthouse is decommissioned and dismantled by the Coast Guard. It is replaced by a 600-candlepower flashing light mounted on a skeletal tower attached to the existing foundation.

2020:   Skeleton tower is visible from Cedar Beach on the Maryland side and from the Harry Nice Bridge (US 301) over the Potomac River.


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

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