Timeline: Thimble Shoal Lighthouse

(Located 3.5 miles east of Old Point Comfort, at the mouth of James River, Hampton Roads, VA – Updated 5/27/2020)

1821: Lightship stationed near Thimble Shoal.

1872: First lighthouse, a screwpile, erected.

10/30/1880: Screwpile cottage destroyed by fire. Foundation survives.

12/24/1880: Screwpile cottage, destined for Bells Rock, VA installed instead on existing ironwork. 2nd fog bell installed.

1891: Lighthouse rammed by hit-and-run steamer and damaged.

1898: Lighthouse rammed by coal barge, causing considerable damage and extensive repair.

12/27/1909: Lighthouse severely struck by schooner Malcolm Baxter, Jr. nearly splitting cottage in two; resultant fire destroys cottage. Three keepers on duty escape in a small boat.

1914: Present caisson, three-story cast-iron tower standing 55 feet above the bay, constructed and equipped with 4th order Fresnel lens

1915: Keeper Horace C. Groom is awarded the efficiency gold star.

1918: Keeper Horace C. Groom is awarded the commissioner’s efficiency star.

1915: Schooner Addie M. Lawrence strikes lighthouse.

1964: Power cable from mainland and battery backup installed.

1987: Solar cells replace electric cable.

2003-04: Lighthouse becomes available for transfer or sale under the provisions of the NHLPA.

2005: Lighthouse sold to Peter Jurewicz of Smithfield for $65,000.

Source: Bay Beacons by Linda Turbyville, Lighting the Bay: Tales of Chesapeake Lighthouses by Pat Vojtech and Lighthouses of Maryland and Virginia – History, Mystery, Legends & Lore by Bob Trapani, Jr.

Permanent link to this article: https://cheslights.org/timeline-thimble-shoal-lighthouse/