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Piney Point Light

Potomac River, MD, cir. 1836
Piney Point Light Piney Point is named after the loblolly pines which abound in the area. This lighthouse, which warns mariners of shoals off the point, was commissioned in 1836 and is the oldest of the Potomac River lights. (Of the 11 that once operated along the river, only 3 are left.) John Donahoo's design style is recognizable in the gnome-like brick tower which stands 30 feet from its base to the center of the lantern. The keeper's lived in a small, one story house next to the tower. This was enlarged and a second story added in 1884. A 30 foot wooden fog bell tower was added to the site in 1880. However, this was destroyed by Hurricane Hazel in 1954. The light was decommissioned in 1964 and in 1980 the U.S. Coast Guard transferred the property to St. Mary's County. It is currently operated by Saint Mary's County Recreation and Parks - Museum Division along with the St. Clement's Island Potomac River Museum (located about 20 miles up the road).


Location: 38.1355N 76.5297W
Access: See Piney Point Lighthouse, Museum, and Historic Park
Date Built: Commissioned 1836
Type of Structure: Conical brick tower with detached keepers dwelling
Height: 34 feet above mean high water
Characteristics: Not an active ATON
Foghorn: Fog bell tower (no longer standing)
Builder: John Donahoo
Appropriation: $5,000
Range: 10 miles at commissioning, 11 miles with the Fresnel lens.
Status: Standing, but Decommissioned
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