Thomas Point Shoal Light

Thomas Point Shoal Light

Infobox Lighthouse

caption = Thomas Point Shoal Light, Maryland, 1999 (USCG)
location = off Thomas Point at the mouth of the South River in the Chesapeake Bay
coordinates = coord|38.899|N|76.436|W|type:landmark
yearbuilt = 1875cite web
title =Thomas Point Shoal Light
work =Inventory of Historic Light Stations
publisher =National Park Service
date =Dec 27 2005
url =
format =html
doi =
accessdate = 2007-11-21
yearlit = 1875
automated = 1986
yeardeactivated =
foundation = screw-pile
construction = cast-iron/wood
shape = Square on hexagonal house
height = 43 ft
elevation 25 ft
lens = fourth-order Fresnel lens
currentlens = 250 mm solar-powered lens
range = 11 mi
marking=White with Red Roof and Black Lantern
Infobox_nrhp2 | name =Thomas Point Shoal Light Station

caption = Undated photograph of Thomas Point Shoal Light, Maryland (USCG)
location= Annapolis, Maryland
lat_degrees = 38
lat_minutes = 53
lat_seconds = 55
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 76
long_minutes = 26
long_seconds = 10
long_direction = W
locmapin = Maryland
area =
built =1875
architect= U.S. Lighthouse Service
architecture= Other
designated_nhl= January 20, 1999cite web|url=
title=Thomas Point Shoal Light Station |accessdate=2008-06-11|work=National Historic Landmark summary listing|publisher=National Park Service
added = February 20, 1975cite web|url=|title=National Register Information System|date=2008-04-15|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]
governing_body = COAST GUARD
The Thomas Point Shoal Light, also known as Thomas Point Shoal Light Station, is a historic lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay on the east coast of the United States, and the most recognized lighthouse in Maryland. It is the only screw-pile lighthouse in the bay which stands at its original site. The current structure is a 1 1/2 story hexagonal wooden cottage, equipped with a foghorn as well as the light.


A stone lighthouse was constructed in 1825 on shore at Thomas Point by John Donahoo. It was replaced in 1838 by another stone tower. The point was subject to continuing erosion (which would eventually bring down the lighthouse on the point in 1894), and in 1873 Congress appropriated $20,000 for the construction of a screw-pile structure. With an additional $15,000 appropriation in 1875, the light was built and activated in November of that year.cite web
title =Thomas Point Shoal Light Station
work =National Register
publisher =National Park Service
date =
url =
format =PDF
doi =
accessdate = 2007-11-21

Ice was a perpetual threat to screw-pile lights on the Chesapeake, and in 1877 the original lens was destroyed when it toppled by shaking from ice floes. This lens was replaced, and the additional piles and riprap were placed around the foundation in order to protect it. By 1964 it was the last manned light in the Chesapeake Bay, and it was not automated until 1986. It is currently the last unaltered screwpile cottage-type lighthouse on its original foundation in the United States.


Concerns for its preservation brought it National Register of Historic Places listing in 1975, to be succeeded by National Historic Landmark status in 1999.citation|title=PDFlink| [ National Historic Landmark Nomination: Thomas Point Shoal Light Station] |171 KB|date=January, 1998 |author=Ralph Eshelman and Candace Clifford |publisher=National Park Service and PDFlink| [ "Accompanying two photos, exterior, from 1885 and 1990"] |139 KB]

In 2004, ownership of the lighthouse passed to the city of Annapolis, Maryland, which now maintains the structure in conjunction with Anne Arundel County, Maryland, the Annapolis Maritime Museum, and the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society. The United States Coast Guard continues to maintain the navigational aids.

It is open to the public three months out of the year. [cite web|url=|title=Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse|accessdate=2007-11-21]



*cite web |url= |title=Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse: History |accessdate=2007-04-07
* [ Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse] - from
*cite book|title=The Lighthouses of the Cheasapeake
last=de Gast|first=Robert
publisher=Johns Hopkins University Press
pages = 79

External links

* [ The Light in the Bay]
* [ Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse]

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