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The only screw pile lighthouse left in Chesapeake Bay waters is the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, built on November 20, 1875. This was also the last manned lighthouse on the bay, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The light is located off the mouth of the South River at Annapolis. The original light at this location was built on a seven-acre parcel of land on Thomas Point. The land was sold to the government for $530 in 1824, and the following year the first light was built by John Donohoo on that point of land. This was the first lighthouse constructed by Donohoo, who went on to build several more around the bay including Concord Point at Havre De Grace. This first light was doomed because of Donohoo�s relative inexperience and by 1838, it had to be rebuilt. The total cost of the original light surpassed $5,600.
In 1882 it became apparent to the Lighthouse Board that the light, in its original location, was of little use because it was so removed from the expanding shoal. A new and less expensive screw pile light was constructed and remains today. The land on the point where the original house was built was sold to private interests for $426, one hundred dollars less than the original purchase price.
This light is off shore at Annapolis, MD, and can only be reached by boat. One of the last octagonal, screw pile, lights still in the water on the East Coast. Marinas on the South and Severn Rivers would be able to provide a lead to those who would be willing to ferry passengers out to take a look.
February 14th, 2013
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