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Baltimore Light

Mouth of the Magothy River, MD, cir. 1908
Baltimore Light Despite its name, this caisson lighthouse isn't particularly close to the city of Baltimore. It does, however, mark the entrance to the Baltimore channel. From the beginning, construction was fraught with problems. The bottom of the Bay at this site has a 55 foot layer of semi-fluid mud before solid sand is hit. This posed great engineering problems and a contractor could not be found that would bid within the originally appropriated amount. Later, during construction, the structure turned completely over on the bottom and the contractor (an experienced firm that had built several other caisson lights on the Bay) abandoned the project. After some legal battles, the insurance company took over the project. The light was commissioned in 1908, thirteen years after construction work began. The caisson goes down 82 feet below high water line, which had made it the largest caisson lighthouse in the world. This light is also notable in that it was the first nuclear powered lighthouse in the world. A 60 watt generator, about the size of 55 gallon drum was installed in 1964. However, it was removed after only two years and the idea was not pursued further.


Location: Chesapeake Bay, 39 3' 33.12" N, 76 23' 56.4" W
Date Built: Commissioned 1908
Type of Structure: Caisson with octagonal brick dwelling / light tower
Height: 52 feet above mean high water
Characteristics: Flashing white with one red sector
Foghorn: Yes (initially a bell, replaced with a horn by 1923)
Builder: William H. Flaherty / U. S. Fidelity and Guarantee Co.
Appropriation: $120,000+
Range: white - 7 miles, red - 5 miles
Status: Standing and Active
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