Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
#NC-09170-LH - Notecards
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The U.S. government
paid for two lighthouses near this site before finally attaining
success. The first lighthouse, built in 1825, was shoddily constructed
by a novice contractor and had to be demolished and rebuilt. Its
replacement, built in 1840, used an ineffective lantern, a situation
worsened by its location 1.25 miles from the dangerous shoals
near Thomas Point.
effectiveness, the Lighthouse Board decided to replace the lighthouse
with a new one offshore, immediately over the shoals in about
eight feet of water. This hexagonal structure, 35-feet in diameter,
built in 1875, continues to stand guard over the point from its
perch atop seven piles. By 1964, it was the last manned lighthouse
on the bay, tended to by four Coast Guard members.
In the mid-1970s,
the Coast Guard considered replacing the structure with a steel
skeleton tower. But protests from those wishing to protect the
Chesapeake Bay's heritage caused the Coast Guard to reconsider.
In 1975, Thomas Point Lighthouse was declared a historic landmark.
Today, it serves as the emblem of the Chesapeake Chapter of the
U.S. Lighthouse Society.
The only way
to see this lighthouse is by boat. It is on the west side of Chesapeake
Bay, Maryland, at the entrance to South River. Annapolis is the
© 1999 Terry White, Drawing © 1999 Bill Harrah