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1910. 44910 Lighthouse Rd.

Tolson Cottage and the row of waterfront cottages to its east are the final remnants of a once-thriving summer resort. Piney Point was a popular antebellum retreat on the Potomac River, with Washington notables such as President Franklin Pierce, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun visiting its hotel, cottages, and wharf. In 1905, Warren Tolson, a Washingtonian who had visited as a boy purchased the property that included the twenty-five-room hotel, twenty-seven cottages, and other associated buildings. Tolson and his family resided at Piney Point every summer for thirty-eight years to run the hotel, initially living in one of the cottages on the property. In 1909 Tolson subdivided the strip of land northeast of the hotel into building lots. He built a one-and-a-half-story frame cottage with a wide porch on the end lot in 1910. Each narrow lot extended across the road to the water, allowing the property owner to erect a small gazebo or bathhouse referred to locally as “summer houses.”

Today this stretch of Lighthouse Road includes a variety of early-twentieth-century frame cottages most with associated summer house structures. The two-story cottage at 44996 Lighthouse (c. 1910), has a pyramidal roof and wraparound screen porch. The shingle-clad bungalow at 45122 Lighthouse was built during the 1920s. This unique grouping along a riverfront beach is the only remnant of the former Piney Point resort, which faltered after hurricane damage in 1933 and during its final years in the 1940s served as rental housing for personnel from the new Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

Writing Credits

Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie



  • 1910


What's Nearby


Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie, "WARREN TOLSON COTTAGE", [Piney Point, Maryland], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Maryland, Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2022, 26-26.

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