Timeline: Pooles Island Lighthouse

(Located on Pooles Island, off the mouth of the Gunpowder River – part of the Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Oldest lighthouse still standing in MD – 4th Oldest LH on the Chesapeake Bay – 07/13/14)

1825 40 foot tall white-washed conical tower of Port Deposit granite built by John
Donahoo- his second lighthouse project, assisted by Simon Frieze. One & a half
story stone dwelling with attached kitchen, boathouse and stable also constructed.
Fitted with an array of lamps and reflectors.

1828 Fog Bell tower constructed.

1855 Reflector light system replaced with 4th-order Fresnel lens.

1867 New lantern room placed on top of tower.

1873 7,000 peach trees planted on 280 acre island

1878 New fog bell tower constructed.

1881 Station severely damaged by storm.

1882 Keeper’s dwelling upgraded with another story – providing three additional rooms.

1894 Two red sectors added to lantern room, to indicate turning points in the channel
east of the lighthouse.

1917 U.S. Army acquires and condemns island, making island a part of the Aberdeen
Proving Ground. Ordnance testing on island. Keeper Stephen Cohee departs after
maintaining LH for 24 years.

1918 Lighthouse is automated.

1927 Automatic acetylene with CO-2 fog bell placed on caisson foundation near the
south end of Island.

1939 Lighthouse deactivated; lens removed. Keeper’s quarters torn down. Property
transferred to War Department.

1994 Army requests National Historic Register status for lighthouse.

1997 Volunteers from three government agencies complete full restoration of tower.

2011 After 70 years of darkness, lighthouse fitted with solar lighting and reactivated.

Sources: Bay Beacons by Linda Turbyville, Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay by F. Ross Holland, Lighthouse Friends web site – www.lighthousefriends.com and Lighting the Bay – Tales of Chesapeake Lighthouses by Pat Vojtech

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