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Sharps Island Light

Southern mouth of the Choptank River, MD, cir. 1882
Sharps Island Light This is the third lighthouse that has marked this area. The first was built in 1837 on the (then) 900 acre Sharps Island, which has since been completely reclaimed by the Bay. This original light consisted of a wooden keepers dwelling with a cupola light on top. It was moved inland once due to shore erosion. However, after it became evident that the island was doomed, a second light of the screwpile design was constructed in 1865. This lighthouse lasted until 1881, when it was torn off its pilings by ice floes and carried 5 miles down the Bay with the keepers still inside. They escaped, safely, when it ran aground. That structure was replaced in 1882 with the current caisson lighthouse which stood 55 feet above the water. This final structure withstood time reasonably until the it was tilted badly by scour and heavy ice during the winters of 1976 and 1977. Its current condition draws inevitable references to the leaning tower of Pizza. Unfortunately, it is in an extreme state of decay.

Location: 38.6391°N 76.3757°W
Date Built: Original, land-based lighthouse - 1838, Screw-pile light - 1866, Current caisson light - 1882
Type of Structure: Caisson with cylindrical iron dwelling / tower (sparkplug)
Height: 54 feet above mean high water
Characteristics: Flashing white with one red sector
Foghorn: Yes
Builder: Builder’s Iron Company of Providence, Rhode Island
Appropriation: $35,000
Range: 9 miles
Status: Standing and Active
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