February 20, 2024
Annapolis, US 35 F

Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse gets new “knees” and shines brightly on the Chesapeake Bay

Last year the Thomas Point Shoal Lighhouse was in rough shape and literally in danger of falling down—the beams that held up the structure were so rusted that they needed to be replaced.  Fast forward, to today, all but one have been replaced and the remaining one will happen when enough money is raised— about $50,000.

As we did last year, we spoke with John Potvin who is the preservation foreman for the lighthouse to get us up to speed. The news is good and he estimates that the lighthouse is currently about 95% restored (as if it can ever be 100%) and that they were very fortunate to be able to raise the funds needed. They obtained several grants from preservation organizations and the State, posted a GoFundMe campaign, and held a wonderful inaugural gala at the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium last fall.

To give you an idea of how far they have come, check to our images from a visit in 2010, another one in 2014, and now.

While we were out there, we grabbed a few minutes with Dave Gendell, a lifelong Annapolitan, who is the author of a new book, Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse: A Chesapeake Bay Icon. The book is to be released on October 12, 2020 and is available for pre-order! Dave has spent his life around this lighthouse and spent a lot of time researching the history, from the origins to the present. For any fan of the Chesapeake Bay or lighthouses, this should definitely make your fall reading list!

Our podcast, recorded at the lighthouse was, as always, a lot of fun. John Potvin brought us up to speed on the work that is ongoing and it was fantastic to be able to crawl around and see how the light keepers of yesterday spent their days and nights.

And one tidbit we learned out there.  The foghorn you occasionally hear that is so soothing to some (and irritating to others)? It is not coming from the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse. Their foghorn has been disconnected for more than a year.  The sounds you hear are the foghorns from cargo ships anchored in the Bay awaiting clearance to come into the Port of Baltimore.  But have a listen to this short one! Getting out to the lighthouse is always a treat.  Have a listen!

When tours resume, you can purchase tickets at the Annapolis Maritime Museum and Park’s website. In fact, sign up for their newsletter so you can be the first to know when they resume!

And while the lighthouse seems to be in great shape, there is still work to be done on that one lower beam, the interior and exterior. Like a bridge or any old home, upkeep is essential. Please consider making a contribution to help maintain this treasure in or own back yard!


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