Fort Carroll Lighthouse Timeline
(Located on Fort Carroll Island in the middle of the Patapsco River– southwest of Key Bridge – 07/20/14)
1848 Brevet-colonel Robert E. Lee of the Army Corps of Engineers selected to
supervise construction of fortress on man-made island..
1850 Island named after Charles Carroll – last living signer of the Declaration of
1851 Construction of fortress halted. Lee appointed West Point superintendent.
1854 Original lighthouse and keeper’s dwelling built on unfinished parapet. Keeper is only permanent resident. Fitted with fifth-order Fresnel lens and fog bell.
1875 Wooden tower constructed on southwest salient and fitted with lens & bell from original light.
1898 Lighthouse & fog bell tower demolished to allow installation of two gun batteries
Temporary lantern built and used until end of year.
1898 Present-day wooden tower built 100 feet north of old structure site. Painted white with black lantern. Fog bell installed in tower. Fitted with fifth-order Fresnel lens.
1917 Gun batteries activated and used for firing practice.
1921 Army abandons fort; moves weapons to Fort Howard.
1923 Fort abandoned. Lighthouse automated. Illuminant changed to acetylene gas.
1940s US Coast Guard uses fort as pistol range and temporary housing.
1945 Lighthouse deactivated.
1958 US Government sells fort and lighthouse to Baltimore attorney Benjamin Eisenberg for $10,000. Eisenberg plans to turn fortress into a casino.
1964 Eisenberg leases island to Robert Jackson. Jackson intends to use grounds for tourism. Venture fails. Lighthouse vandalized.
2004 Fort owned by Struever Brothers, Eccles and Rouse. Fort Carroll listed as new owners. On Lighthouse Digest’s “Doomsday List”.
Sources Lighthouse Friends web site – www.lighthousefriends.com/ and Lighting the Bay – Tales of Chesapeake Lighthouses by Pat Vojtech