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Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse

Thomas Point, Maryland

Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse

Light Location: Thomas Point Shoal, Maryland - a mile and a half southeast of Thomas Point near the entrance to the South River

First Built: 1875 (current tower)

First Lit: November 27, 1875

Built By: Original lighthouse was built by John Donohoo

  • Donohoo built nearly every lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay between 1823 and 1854.

Current Tower Construction & Facts:

  • Year Built: 1875
  • Tower Height: 43 feet above mean high water
  • Shape: Hexagonal
  • Description:
    • 35 feet in diameter
    • sitting on seven 10-inch piles which are screwed 11 and a half feet into the bottom of Chesapeake Bay
    • 6 rooms, 1-1/2 stories
    • Day markings: red roof, white sides
  • Optic: Fourth order Fresnel lens (1875)
  • Characteristic: Flashing white (has been fixed in the past)
  • Automated: 1986
  • Visibility: 11 miles
  • Cost: $35,000? appropriated by Congress
  • Official Website: http://www.thomaspointlighthouse.org/

Previous Towers:

  • First Tower
    • Very little information is available.
    • Congress appropriated $6,500 for its construction.
    • It was a 30 foot tall tower located on a 7 acre plot of land with a keepers house and a well.
    • John Donahoo and Simon Freeze won the contract in February 1825.
    • John Bovis provided the Argand lighting apparatus.
    • Probably built of granite, based on other lighthouses built at the same time by Donahoo and Freeze.
    • Originally stood 100 feet from the water, but attempts to stop erosion failed and the water was within 15 feet of the tower by 1838.
  • Second Tower
    • In 1840 Winslow Lewis was hired to relocate the tower behind the keepers house.
    • The new tower was 3 feet taller.
    • It had a fifth order Fresnel lens.
    • By 1872 it required extensive repairs so the shoal-based light was built in its place.

Photo of Thomas Point Lighthouse taken by Major Jared A. Smith, August 18, 1885

Currently Owned By: The City of Annapolis, Maryland (purchased from federal government in 2004).

Currently Managed By:

  • The city leases the lighthouse to the United States Lighthouse Society for preservation and operations.
  • The Annapolis Maritime Museum handles exhibits and is the departure point for public tours.
  • Anne Arundel County provides their expertise in preservation and environmental issues.

Accessibility: Public tours are possibly available. You may also see the lighthouse from the water by boat.

Special Facts:

  • The only screw pile type light that is still in its original location in Chesapeake Bay.
  • Built to warn vessels of an area of dangerous shoals
  • Was supposed to be destroyed by the Coast Guard in 1972 but there was a public outcry about it.
  • Made an historic landmark on January 23, 1975
  • Is an active Coast Guard maintained aid to navigation.
  • It is the third light to mark the shoal.
  • Was the last lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay to be fully automated.
  • Was considered as the image for the back of the Maryland 2000 US Quarter.

Keepers:

  • George E. Sullivan - July 6, 1874 - ?
    • Was keeper of the lighthouse before it was moved to the shoal. He transferred to the Shoal lighthouse as assistant.
  • Eugene Burchenal - Nov. 4, 1875 - Nov. 27, 1880
    • Charles Miller - 2nd Assistant - Nov. 16, 1875 - Feb. 15, 1877, 1st Assistant Feb. 15, 1877 - Nov. 27, 1880
    • George E. Sullivan - 1st Assistant - Nov. 4, 1875 - Jan. 25, 1877
    • George A. Miller - 2nd Assistant - Feb. 15, 1877 - Aug. 12, 1879
    • John Maley - 2nd Assistant - Aug. 12, 1879 - Aug 12, 1879
      • Only one day? Reason for leaving is listed as "declined" ... maybe he didn't like the job?
    • Julius Warmkessel - 2nd Assistant - Aug. 19, 1879 - Mar. 12, 1880 - 1st Assistant - Dec. 3, 1880 - June 17, 1881
  • Charles Miller - Nov. 27, 1880 -June 17, 1881
    • John W. Parrish - 2nd Assistant - Dec. 7, 1880 - June 17, 1881
    • Benjamin Atwood - 1st Assistant - July 6, 1881 - Aug. 16, 1881
  • Julius Warmkessel - Keeper - June 17, 1881 - Dec. 8, 1886
    • George F. Culleton - 2nd Assistant - Sept. 16, 1881 - Jan. 2, 1883, 1st Assistant - Jan 3, 1883 - Sept. 6, 1883
    • Charles G. Roberts - 2nd Assistant - Aug. 31, 1881 - Sept. 16, 1881
    • John B.T. Suit - 2nd Assistant - July 1, 1881 - Aug. 31, 1881, 1st Assistant - Aug. 31, 1881 - Jan 2, 1883.
    • James L. Evans - 1st Assistant - Sept. 6, 1883 - Oct. 16, 1883
    • Henry C. League - 1st Assistant - Oct. 16, 1883 - Jan. 19, 1884
    • Henry F. Rollins - 1st Assistant - Jan. 19, 1884 - Dec. 24, 1884
    • Jesse Jackson - 1st Assistant - Feb. 12, 1885 - Nov. 19, 1885
    • George Parkinson - 1st Assistant - Jan. 22, 1885 - Feb. 12, 1885
    • John Reynolds - 1st Assistant - Nov. 19, 1885 - Nov. 13, 1886
  • George F. Culleton - Keeper - December 1886 - April 1, 1901
    • James A. Proctor - 1st Assistant - December 1886 - Jan. 19, 1887
    • Samuel F. Rawlings - 1st Assistant - Nov. 27 1886 (only one day?)
    • Charles A. Dillingham - 1st Assistant - Jan. 19, 1887 - Dec. 3, 1889
    • John K. Schirgur - 1st Assistant - Dec. 3, 1889 - Apr. 29, 1890
    • John B.T. Suit - 1st Assistant - Apr. 29, 2890 - Mar. 12, 1891
    • Charles Robinson - 1st Assistant - Feb. 28, 1894 - December 1897
    • Charles Hartmann - 1st Assistant - July 19, 1898 - May 28, 1901
  • Daniel A. White - Keeper - Apr. 1, 1901 - November 1904
    • Henry Addicks - 1st Assistant - May 28, 1901 - Aug. 1, 1903
    • Edward Jansen - 1st Assistant - Aug. 1, 1903 - Oct. 13, 1904
  • John B.T. Suit - Keeper - Dec. 1, 1904 - Mar. 19, 1908
    • Peter S. Earle - 1st Assistant - Oct. 13, 1904 - Mar. 16, 1905
    • Charles Robinson - 1st Assistant - Mar. 16, 1905 - March 1905 (didn't serve?)
    • Henry C. Wingate - 1st Assistant - March 1905 - Jan. 1, 1907
    • Homer T. Austin - 1st Assistant - Sept. 26, 1907 - Jan. 2, 1908
      • Was keeper at the Cape Hatteras Light, 1912-1913
    • Charles A. Larsen - 1st Assistant - Jan. 1, 1907 - Sept. 26, 1907
  • Henry C. Wingate - Keeper - Mar. 19, 1908 - Oct. 1, 1908
  • William R. Schoenfelder - Keeper - Oct. 1, 1908 - Dec. 19, 1911
    • Devaney F. Jennett - 1st Assistant - Oct. 1, 1908 - Apr. 14, 1909
    • John R. Kerley - 1st Assistant - Jan. 2, 1908 - Oct. 1, 1908
    • Samuel W. Norton - 1st Assistant - December 1909 - January 1910
    • John T. Tolson - Apr. 14, 1909 - Nov. 12, 1909
    • Malachi D. Swain - Nov. 12, 1909 - Nov. 19, 1909
    • Millard F. Cantler - 1st Assistant - January 1910 - ? 1910
    • John L. Ennis - 1st Assistant - January 11, 1910 - ?
  • Sheldon Van Houter - Keeper - December 19, 1911 - ?
  • E.C. Harris - 1951-1953
  • Arnold W. Doyle - 1951-1953
  • Jesse B. Tolson - 1951-1953
  • Cecil Mason - 1951-1953
  • Sal Tarantino - 1951-1953
  • James O. Jacobs - 1951-1953
  • Thomas Crow - 1951-1953
  • Jesse C. Maddox - 1951-1953
  • Walter C. DeGroot - 1951-1953
  • G.M. Thomason - 1951-1953
  • G.W. Montgomery - 1951-1953
  • George Leikam - 1957-1958
  • Joseph C. Gollattscheck - 1957-1958
  • Robert Dors - 1957-1958
  • E. Stanley Koerner - 1957-1958
  • A.J. Simons - 1957-1958
  • Tylen B.M. Robbins - 1957-1958
  • Raymond Shamanski - 1957-1958
  • George W. Herpel - 1961-1962
  • Reginald E. Grant - 1961-1962
  • John M. Beals - 1961-1962
  • Irvin L. Sentz - 1961-1962
  • Henry T. McClung - 1961-1962
  • Berry T. Edgar - 1961-1962
  • Beverly L. Funkhouser - 1961-1962
  • Walter C.L. Gruber - 1961-1962
  • Robert G. Sigler - 1961-1962
  • William G. Dennis - 1961-1962
  • Thomas J. Salek - 1961-1962
  • Hastle E. Baber - 1963-1964
  • Robert G. Roehm - 1963-1964
  • Richard H. Sapp - 1963-1964
  • Carl E. Wolcott - 1963-1964
  • William H. Donoway - 1963-1964
  • Harold E. Smith - 1963-1964
  • R.M. Sands - 1963-1964
  • M.R. Bullis - 1963-1964
  • David A. Spatafora - 1963-1964
  • Elmer J. Goodman - 1963-1964
  • John E. Jones - 1963-1964
  • J. Zwierzynski - 1963-1964
  • James W. Tonkin - 1963-1964
  • George L. McGehee - 1965-1966
  • John E. Blick - 1965-1966
  • Alan C. Haynes - 1965-1966
  • Paul T. Outland - 1965-1966
  • Paul D. Van't Hof - 1965-1966
  • Richard E. Conley - 1965-1966
  • Benson J. Ray - 1965-1966
  • William H. Watson - 1965-1966
  • James T. Nicholson - 1965-1966
  • Edgar W. Candler - 1967-1968
  • Lem E. Wallace - 1967-1968
  • George S. Hopkins - 1967-1968
  • Ronald E. Grove - 1967-1968
  • Michael P. Kissell - 1967-1968
  • William J. Tunis - 1967-1968
  • Paul D. Lemon - 1967-1968
  • Herman S. Pritchard - 1967-1968
  • Thomas B. Griffiths - 1967-1968
  • Robert K. Szillage - 1967-1968
  • W.J. Mitchell - 1967-1968
  • William N. Fahey - 1967-1968
  • J.D. Hallisey - 1967-1968
  • Alonzo O. Burrus - 1969-1970
  • John Evans - 1969-1970
  • J. Kehring - 1969-1970
  • S. Swint - 1969-1970
  • Danny E. Mordecai - 1969-1970
  • Roger E. Hollenbeck - 1969-1970
  • Harry F. Leppo - 1969-1970
  • Richard W. Ferguson - 1969-1970

Bibliography

  1. PBS. "Legendary Lighthouses: Great Lighthouses-North Atlantic" [Online] Available http://www.pbs.org/legendarylighthouses/html/natlgl.html, March 3, 2005.

  2. Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse. "Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse" [Online] Available http://www.thomaspointlighthouse.org/, March 3, 2005.

  3. United States Coast Guard. "Maryland Light Stations" [Online] Available http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g%2Dcp/history/weblighthouses/lhmd.html#ThomasPointShoal, March 5, 2005.











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