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Guiding Lights

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S: GUIDING LIGHTS Lighthouses of the Chesapeake

FC: GUIDING LIGHTS Lighthouses of the Chesapeake

1: Photographed and designed by Linda Gressitt Special thanks to my daughter, Kristin, and my best friend, Barbie, for "going lighthousing" with me. | THE PURPOSE OF LIGHTHOUSES Lighthouses have always had two principal functions: to warn of danger from a spot that sailors could see from a safe distance both night and day, and to be guides into harbors or anchorages. Lighthouses also have become symbolic monuments of society’s efforts to reduce the hazards of seafaring. These structures were often constructed under precarious circumstances by skilled builders and were maintained, often at great personal risk, by dedicated keepers.

3: Turkey Point Lighthouse is located in the Elk Neck State Park. It was built in 1833 with a tower and keeper’s quarters by John Donahoo. The tower is 35 feet high and is situated on a 100-foot bluff where the North East and Elk Rivers meet. Originally, the tower had a panel of red glass to warn ships they were approaching the shallows. The beacon was visible for 13 miles and was the highest of 74 lighthouses on the Bay. Only the lighthouse and the oil house remain, the keepers house was torn down by the Coast Guard. | TURKEY POINT LIGHTHOUSE


6: Tower: The early Bay lighthouses were simple towers made of brick or local stone with a light at the top and separate keepers dwellings. They were built near the shoreline or on a bluff so they could be seen by passing ships. | TYPES OF LIGHTHOUSES | Screwpile: Screwpiles were first developed by Alexander Mitchell who was a blind Irish marine engineer. Iron legs were screwed into the bottom of the bay usually in a hexagonal pattern. A cottage for the keeper was built on top of this foundation, and a light was placed on top. | Intregal: An intregal lighthouse is a house with a light on it. Building an intregal lighthouse is simple and no more expensive than building a house. Many early lighthouses were of this type. | Lightship: Lightships were usually a mid-sized schooner that was fitted with a light or lights which could be raised up the mast and the ship was either anchored or moored at its station.

7: SEVEN FOOT KNOLL LIGHTHOUSE Built in 1856, the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse is the oldest "screwpile" lighthouse in Maryland. It was built on cast iron pilings with corkscrew-like bases screwed into the soft mud on the bottom of the Bay, eliminating the need for masonry foundation. The lighthouse marked the entrance to Baltimore's harbor for 133 years before being moved to the Inner Harbor and restored.

8: Don't think: Look! -Ludwig Wittgenstein | CHESAPEAKE LIGHTSHIP

9: This 133 foot ship was built in 1930 by the Charleston Drydock and Machine Company in Charleston, South Carolina. Beginning in 1933, the Lightship marked the entrances to the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays for almost 40 years. Its masthead light, foghorn and bell helped guide mariners to safe harbor, while its anchors held it in position defying the most violent storms and waves. In 1982 Chesapeake was moved to Baltimore's Inner Harbor where she is docked as a living museum. She is now a National Historic Landmark.

11: HOOPER STRAIT LIGHTHOUSE TIMELINE 1827 Light station established. Several lightships in service. 1867 First screwpile built on north side of the entrance into Tangier Sound, marking the shoal on the north side of the channel between the mainland and Bloodsworth Island. 1877 Screwpile carried away and destroyed by floating ice. Lantern and lens salvaged by tender crew. 1879 Present structure – hexagonal wooden cottage, 44 feet in diameter, 1 and 1/2 stories with six rooms constructed at Lazaretto Depot. Structure built on 10-inch wrought-iron piles. Exhibits a fixed white light with fifth-order Fresnel lens. 1882 Red sector added to lantern. 1954 Lighthouse fully automated. Deterioration begins. 1966 Lighthouse slated for demolition by the US Coast Guard. Rescued by the fledgling Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and moved 40 miles upriver to museum grounds in St.Michaels, MD. Lighthouse later fully restored.


15: Drum Point Lighthouse was built in 1883 at a shoal on the north entrance to the Patuxent River to guide vessels into the river. It was automated in 1960, then deactivated in 1962. In 1975 it was relocated to Calvert Marine Museum in Solomon's Island where it is owned and maintained by the museum. The weight and pulley mechanism controlled the strikes on the bell that was used during fog, since the light could not be seen.

16: POINT LOOKOUT LIGHTHOUSE | The haunted lighthouse

17: Point Lookout Light is a lighthouse that marks the entrance to the Potomac River, in the town of Scotland, Saint Mary's County, Maryland, at the southern-most tip of the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. It was originally constructed in 1830 by John Donahoo as a one-and-a-half story wooden and masonry building. The lighthouse was of little importance to navigation since the lantern was only 24 feet off the ground. It was rebuilt as the two-story present structure in 1883 with the light at 40 feet. It is considered to be the oldest integral lighthouse in the United States. Currently the lighthouse is surrounded by a chain link fence. The lighthouse is one of the most haunted sites in Maryland. In the 1980s, an investigation team recorded more than 24 disembodied voices at the Point Lookout Lighthouse (both male and female).


20: Piney Point Lighthouse is named after the loblolly pines which exist in abundance in the area. Located only 14 miles upriver from the Chesapeake Bay, the lighthouse and keeper's quarters were constructed by master lighthouse builder, John Donahoo. The circular tower stands 35 feet tall from its base to the coping and the walls are 3 feet 10 inches thick at the base and 2 feet 3 inches at the parapet. It served as a beacon of safety for mariners of the Potomac River from 1836 until 1964 when it was decommissioned by the United States Coast Guard. In 1980 the vacated property was deeded to St. Mary's County by the federal government. It is currently operated by Saint Mary's County Recreation and Parks - Museum Division.

22: THE LIGHTHOUSE The sound of the sea can be most frightening at times To the captain and his crew"morris code" were their chimes. So many sailors lost and afraid Not for any kind of rescue would these men make a trade. All lighthouses are different in personality and in style But coming home they all look the same in the last and final mile. They are attractions and amazements to land lovers everywhere But to the loved ones at home waiting it must have been a pure nightmare. The horrible storms that tossed the ships, that a weary crew had to command Came the light that would keep them on their course until they were safely back on land. In the daylight they are things of beauty that stand proudly on their own ground But by night they are a lifeline, to every lost ship that was safely found.

23: How romantic it must have been for the maiden star struck by the moon Knowing the lighthouse would bring her true love home where in her arms he would be soon. Imagine those mystical monsters that dwell out there in the deep The horror of black water that could make some grown men weep. Some say the lighthouse keepers still stand relentlessly at their posts. Some say these lighthouse keepers are now the lighthouse ghosts. As we reflect upon these landmarks and on those who will forever roam We take comfort knowing that there is a beacon that will safely guide them home. What is the future of the lighthouse Is it true, all good things must end. They will forever live on in our pictures As a seaman's oldest and most loyal friend. ~ Donna Kirtz ~

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  • By: Linda G.
  • Joined: about 6 years ago
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About This Mixbook

  • Title: Guiding Lights
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  • Started: about 6 years ago
  • Updated: over 5 years ago