Thomas Point Shoal Light

Last updated
Thomas Point Shoal Light
Thomas Point Lighthouse Chesapeake Bay.jpg
1999
USA Maryland location map.svg
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Usa edcp location map.svg
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Locationoff Thomas Point at the mouth of the South River in the Chesapeake Bay
Coordinates 38°53′56″N76°26′10″W / 38.899°N 76.436°W / 38.899; -76.436 Coordinates: 38°53′56″N76°26′10″W / 38.899°N 76.436°W / 38.899; -76.436
Year first constructed1875
Year first lit1875
Automated1986
Foundation screw-pile
Construction cast-iron/wood
Tower shapeSquare lantern on hexagonal house
Markings / patternWhite with red roof and black lantern
Focal height43 feet (13 m)
Original lensfourth-order Fresnel lens
Current lens9.8 inches (250 mm) solar-powered lens[ clarification needed ]
RangeWhite 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)
Red 11 nautical miles (20 km; 13 mi)
Characteristic Thomas Point Shoal Light Signal (Fl W 5s) Red Sector 11-51.5 and 96.5-202.gif
Flashing white 5 sec, with two red sectors
Fog signal Horn: 1 every 15 sec
Admiralty numberJ2204
ARLHS numberUSA-845
USCG number2-7760 [1] [2] [3]
HeritageNational Historic Landmark, place listed on the National Register of Historic Places  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Thomas Point Shoal Light Station
Thomaspointshoals.PNG
LocationKent Island, Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis, Maryland
Area5 acres (2.0 ha)
ArchitectU.S. Lighthouse Service
Architectural styleScrewpile design
NRHP reference # 75000864 [4]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPFebruary 20, 1975 [4]
Designated NHLJanuary 20, 1999 [5]

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 1½ story hexagonal wooden cottage, equipped with a foghorn as well as the light. [6]

Lighthouse Structure designed to emit light to aid navigation

A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and to serve as a navigational aid for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.

Chesapeake Bay An estuary in the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia

The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary in the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia. The Bay is located in the Mid-Atlantic region and is primarily separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Delmarva Peninsula with its mouth located between Cape Henry and Cape Charles. With its northern portion in Maryland and the southern part in Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay is a very important feature for the ecology and economy of those two states, as well as others. More than 150 major rivers and streams flow into the Bay's 64,299-square-mile (166,534 km2) drainage basin, which covers parts of six states and all of Washington, D.C.

Maryland U.S. state in the United States

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary, who was the wife of King Charles I.

Contents

History

A stone lighthouse was constructed in 1825 on shore at Thomas Point [1] 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), [6] 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. [6] It took 30 workers to set each cast iron beam 12 ft (3.7 m) into the Chesapeake Bay's bottom. [7]

John Donahoo (1786–1858) was a lighthouse builder active in Maryland for much of the first half of the nineteenth century.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, and consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 435 representatives and 100 senators. The House of Representatives has six non-voting members representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can address the house, sit and vote in congressional committees, and introduce legislation.

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 Chesapeake Bay.

Riprap rock used for armouring structures

Riprap, also known as rip rap, rip-rap, shot rock, rock armor, rubble, Rob rab or rob rib are man-placed rock or other material used to armor shorelines, streambeds, bridge abutments, pilings and other shoreline structures against scour and water or ice erosion. Common rock types used include granite and limestone. Concrete rubble from building and paving demolition is sometimes used.

Preservation

Concerns for its preservation brought it a National Register of Historic Places listing in 1975 [4] and National Historic Landmark status in 1999. [5] [8]

National Register of Historic Places Federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred in preserving the property.

National Historic Landmark formal designation assigned by the United States federal government to historic buildings and sites in the United States

A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Only some 2,500 of over 90,000 places (~3%) listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places, are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.

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. In 2019, a Lighthouse Society spokesman said that the steel substructure, last replaced in the 1980s, is severely rusted and requires $300,000 in repairs. Fortunately, the cast iron screw pilings remain in sound condition, "as good today as they were 144 years ago", said the Baltimore Sun in reporting on the needed funding in August, 2019. [7]

Annapolis, Maryland Capital of Maryland

Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, 25 miles (40 km) south of Baltimore and about 30 miles (50 km) east of Washington, D.C., Annapolis is part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. Its population was measured at 38,394 by the 2010 census.

Anne Arundel County, Maryland County in the United States

Anne Arundel County, also notated as AA or A.A. County, is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 537,656, a population increase of just under 10% since 2000. Its county seat is Annapolis, which is also the capital of the state. The county is named for Lady Anne Arundell (1615–1649), a member of the ancient family of Arundells in Cornwall, England, and the wife of Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore (1605–1675), founder and first Lord Proprietor of the colony Province of Maryland.

United States Lighthouse Society organization

The United States Lighthouse Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding in the restoration of American lighthouses and educating the public about their history. With four chapters, and more than a dozen affiliates, it is one of the largest and oldest lighthouse organizations in the world.

The United States Coast Guard continues to maintain the navigational aids at the Lighthouse. The lighthouse keeper's former living quarters are open to the public three months out of the year, through organized boat tours departing from Annapolis . [9]

United States Coast Guard Coastal defense and law enforcement branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is the coastal defense and maritime law enforcement branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the country's seven uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission as part of its mission set. It operates under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, and can be transferred to the U.S. Department of the Navy by the U.S. President at any time, or by the U.S. Congress during times of war. This has happened twice: in 1917, during World War I, and in 1941, during World War II.

Related Research Articles

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Old Plantation Flats Light lighthouse in Virginia, United States

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Brandywine Shoal Light United States national historic site

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References

  1. 1 2 "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Maryland". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
  2. Light List, Volume II, Atlantic Coast, Shrewsbury River, New Jersey to Little River, South Carolina (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2012. p. 74.
  3. Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of the United States: Maryland". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  4. 1 2 3 "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
  5. 1 2 "Thomas Point Shoal Light Station". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  6. 1 2 3 "Thomas Point Shoal Light". Inventory of Historic Light Stations. National Park Service. December 27, 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  7. 1 2 Pacella, Rachael (August 19, 2019). "Thomas Point Lighthouse in need of repairs". Baltimore Sun . p. 2.
  8. Ralph Eshelman and Candace Clifford (January 1998). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Thomas Point Shoal Light Station" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying two photos, exterior, from 1885 and 1990  (139 KB)
  9. "Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse". Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-11-21.

Sources