Perhaps the most famous and beautifully designed lighthouse of the Chesapeake Bay is the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse. Constructed in 1875 on the mouth of the South River by the U.S. Lighthouse Service, Thomas Point replaced two stone lighthouses that had eroded. By 1964 as lighthouses were becoming automated, Thomas Point was the only lighthouse left in the Chesapeake Bay that was manned. The U.S. Coast Guard planned to replace it with a steel tower in 1972, but their proposal was unpopular to those who thought the lighthouse’s architectural beauty should be preserved.
Architecture and Features
Constructed with wood and cast-iron and built on a screw-pile foundation, Thomas Point is a hexagonal-house 43-foot tall structure painted white with a red roof crowned by a square black lantern. Modernization has given the lighthouse flashing red and white lights with respective ranges of 11 and 16 nautical miles. Its signature fog horn blares every 15 seconds.
National Historic Landmark
As a result of broad public support, the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse was selected for the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. After the Coast Guard automated it in 1986, the lighthouse was granted National Historic Landmark status in 1999. Only nine American lighthouses have received this distinction, and it is one of the most identifiable structures associated with Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay.
Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse Tours
Tours lasting two hours depart from a dock located behind the Annapolis Maritime Museum. The tour includes a 30-minute boat ride to the lighthouse, a 1-hour tour of the interior, and a 30-minute return boat ride. After arriving at Thomas Point, a knowledgeable guide will enlighten you about its history, including how 19th Century lighthouse keepers lived.
August, September & October 2017 Tour Details and Dates
Reservations are required. Tour seating is limited, so it would be wise to reserve well ahead of the date you prefer. Cost is $75 per person. Tours are conducted on Saturdays at 9 am and 12 noon.
August 5 and 19
September 2, 9, and 30
For More Information & Reservations: Thomas Point Lighthouse Tour
Your Inn Near the Lighthouse
The Annapolis Maritime Museum, where you will depart, is less than one and a half miles away from Gibson’s Lodgings, a historic inn located in downtown Annapolis. Call us to reserve your room at our toll free number (877) 330-0057. We’ll be very happy to serve you and your family throughout the year.