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1875. Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of South River, southeast of Annapolis

This is the last unaltered screw-pile cottage light station on its original site in the United States, built from a standard plan developed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service. The screw-pile type was an easy and effective method of anchoring a lighthouse in a non-stable, off-shore location such as sandy or muddy shoals. It is among the few remaining of as many as one hundred such lights built mostly along the southeastern seaboard. It features a hexagonal, frame, cottage-like structure built over a steel-frame deck that is mounted to the wrought-iron screw-pile foundation; the light is housed within a lantern atop the cottage.

Wrought-iron screw-pile technology was developed by Irish engineer Alexander Mitchell in the 1830s, improving upon a late-nineteenth-century design by Henry Whiteside for a frame structure built on wood piles. It is one of only four extant screw-pile light stations in Maryland; the others are Hooper Straight, Drum Point, and Seven Foot Knoll.

Writing Credits

Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie



  • 1875


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Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie, "THOMAS POINT SHOAL LIGHT STATION", [Annapolis, 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, 75-76.

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