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Fort Washington Light

Fort Washington on the Potomac River, MD, cir. 1857 / 1882
Fort Washington Light One of the more diminutive lights of the region, Fort Washington Light was commissioned in 1857 at the site of the like-named fort guarding the approach to Washington DC. At that time it was an iron pole with a light pulled to the top. After a number of complaints about the inadequacy of this arrangement, a new tower was constructed in 1870, exhibiting a sixth order Fresnel lens. A wooden bell tower was constructed in 1882 and an adjacent keepers house was added in 1885. By 1900, gun batteries and a pier newly constructed by the Army were blocking the light. After failing to obtain money for a new light tower, the fog bell tower was modified in 1901 to house the light and it is the lighthouse we see today. The original light tower(s) and keepers dwelling have since been torn down. (Note: Many shore based Bay lights had wooden fog bell towers that looked very much like this one. Fort Washington is the only such fog bell tower that has survived on the Bay.) In 1999 the little fog bell tower lighthouse was renovated. Both Fort Washington and the Light are now part of a National Park.


Location: Fort Washington Park, 38.712N 77.037W
Access: See NPS - Fort Washington Park
Date Built: Light established 1857, Current tower constructed 1882
Type of Structure: Converted wooden fog-bell tower
Height: 28 feet above mean high water
Characteristics: Flashing Red
Range: 7 miles
Status: Standing and acticve
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