Home  |  About

Point Lookout Light

Northern mouth of the Potomac River, MD, cir. 1830
Point Lookout Light Formal efforts to put a lighthouse at the Northern entrance to the Potomac River go back to 1825. However, the owner of the property protested the government's valuation. Finally, after several years of litigation, the Fifth Auditor simply went ahead and erected the station while the land purchase was still under litigation. The design consisted of a small building, built by John Donahoo, with a red shingle roof and black lantern on top. It was commissioned in September of 1830. The lamp itself underwent several upgrades over the years. In 1883 the building was raised from 1.5 stories to 2 full stories. In 1927 it was converted to a duplex in order to allow 2 keepers and their families to live there. The land next to it was used as a depot for a while. The light was decommissioned January 11, 1966, replaced by an offshore steel tower. It was owned by the U.S. Navy until 2006 when it was turned over to the State of Maryland. After its retirement, many ghost stories arose. (The neighboring park land was a notoriously harsh and squalid prisoner of war camp during the Civil War.)


Location: 38.0387N 76.3221W
Access: See The Point Lookout Lighthouse Preservation Society
Date Built: Commissioned 1830
Type of Structure: Wooden dwelling with lantern on top
Height: Originally 24 feet, now 41 feet above mean high water
Characteristics: Inactive
Foghorn: Fog bell tower (moved to Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St Michaels, MD)
Builder: John Donahoo
Appropriation: $4,500
Range: 12 miles (when active)
Status: Standing, but Decommissioned
Copyright © 1999 - 2011 Matthew B. Jenkins, All rights reserved.  |  Privacy