Tag Archive: lighthouses

IMG_3460 2Located in the Inner Harbor, Baltimore City, was originally located at the mouth of the Patapsco River.  This screw-pile light was built in 1855 and housed a 4th order Fresnel lens that shone for 12 nautical miles.  Automated in 1949 and replaced with a skeletal tower.


_MG_0928Located at the mouth of Back River at the Southern end of Hart Island,  this iron and wood structure is the “rear” light of the two Craighill Channel Lower Range lighthouses.  When completed in 1875, the Victorian-style keeper’s house was located at the base of the tower with  a 4th order Fresnel lens in the lantern room above the watch room and service room.  Standing 105 feet tall this lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Maryland.

Built in 1930, by Charleston Drydock & Machine Co. of Charleston, SC, light vessel 116 began its work life in the first of five assignments over a period of 40 years.  Lightships often were moved from one lightship station to another and renamed; the hull number remained the same that is until the USGC assigned new hull numbers for ships in commission up to April 1950.

As permanent light stations and automated buoys were established in the 1960s lightships were becoming obsolete.  In 1965 the Chesapeake Lightship 116/538, after 20 years serving her station at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, was replaced by Chesapeake Light, a tower-type constructed lighthouse, modeled from offshore oil drilling platforms.

Lightship 116/538 is now located in the Baltimore Inner Harbor as part of the Baltimore Maritime Museum.

The 30,000 candela main light shines on an overcast day in the Baltimore Inner Harbor.


Located just west of the southern tip of Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay, Bloody Point Bar remains active, in spite of it’s perilous past.  Mounted on an iron caisson, the 40 foot round cast iron tower was constructed in 1882.  The following winter storms caused the structure’s stone foundation to be rinsed away, thus causing a 6 degree tilt to the northwest side.  Further damage was halted by the placement of riprap stone at the base to stop the erosion.  In 1884-85 efforts were made to right the tower by dredging and placement of  additional rock forming a “scour apron” around the foundation bringing the tower to within 2 degrees of vertical.  In 1960 the original fourth-order Fresnel lens was destroyed in a fire.  It was replaced with an 300mm acrylic lens with a 54 foot focal plane.

In 2006, Bloody Point was sold to a private owner for the sum of $100,000.  The Nevada lawyer plans to restore the light and dedicate a room to a small brewery, which he hopes will cover the maintenance of the light itself.


A National Historic Landmark located in the Chesapeake Bay, Thomas Point Shoal Light was constructed in 1825, and replaced in 1838 by another stone tower, but after erosion issues and the falling of the stone tower, the screw-pile structure we see now was constructed in 1875.  The only screw-pile light house still standing in its original site in the Bay sits at the mouth of South River off of Thomas Point.  Equipped with a solar powered 250mm lens and fog horn Thomas Point was automated in 1986, being the last manned lighthouse in the bay.  The original fourth-order Fresnel lens is displayed at the USCG headquarters in Baltimore.  In 2004, The City of Annapolis, The U.S. Lighthouse Society and the Annapolis Maritime Museum, acquired ownership and maintains the structure, the Coast Guard maintains the navigational aids.

Guided tours are available May through September, two weekends per month, from the Annapolis Maritime Museum, reservations required, 410-295-0104.