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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Solomons in Calvert County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Welcome to Drum Point Lighthouse

 
 
Welcome to Drum Point Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
1. Welcome to Drum Point Lighthouse Marker
Inscription.  
"The necessity of a light at this point is very great, as all vessels bound up or down the Chesapeake put in at this place during the winter to seek protection from floating ice; and as the entrance is formed by a low sand spit, which cannot be seen at night, vessels are often obliged to anchor outside the above mentioned point until daylight, and in consequence, are often driven ashore in heavy ad adverse winds."
(Lt. William D. Porter, 1883)


Drum Point Lighthouse was built in 1883 to mark the northern approach to the Patuxent River. it was originally located due south of Drum Point, 120 yards offshore, on five acres of submerged land conveyed by Maryland to the federal government.

A white-painted hexagonal wooden structure was built on seven iron screwpiles. All parts were prefabricated and numbered, enabling assembly in only thirty-three days. A fourth-order Fesnel lens was installed and first lit on August 20 1883, showing a fixed red light. The living quarters contained four equal-sized rooms on the first floor — kitchen, sitting room, and two bedrooms. The second floor contained
Welcome to Drum Point Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
2. Welcome to Drum Point Lighthouse Marker
two additional rooms, one housing the bell striking mechanism. Four 200-gallon tanks collected water from the roof.

[Captions:]
1938 chart of the Patuxent River showing the original location of Drum Point Lighthouse. In 1911, the light was changed to a fixed white with three red sectors. The red sectors alerted mariners to the presence of shoal waters.

Back from the Brink

In 1962, the lighthouse was replaced by a nearby automated beacon-type light and the keepers were withdrawn. In 1974, thanks to a strong effort by the Calvert County Historical Society, it was acquired by the Calvert County Government. (CMM363)

On March 27, 1975, the lighthouse began its two-mile journey from Drum Point to Solomons. The pilings were cut off at the waterline and the entire structure moved in one piece. The lighthouse was moved by B. F. Diamond Construction Co. of Savannah, Georgia, which was building the Thomas Johnson Bridge at the time. (P-666)

Drum Point Lighthouse on its new foundation shortly after its arrival at the Calvert Marine Museum. Following extensive renovations, the lighthouse was reopened as a historic site on June 24, 1978. (P-680)

A Changing Landscape

The earliest known photograph of the
Welcome to Drum Point Lighthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
3. Welcome to Drum Point Lighthouse Marker
lighthouse, about 1907. Note the storage platform underneath the structure, built around 1899, and the outside ladders, the only means of access to the cottage at the time. (P-1033)

Keeper William Yeatman with his children — Loretta, Louis, Estelle, and William — in 1918. By this time, a shoal had built up between the shore and the lighthouse, enabling a footbridge to be constructed. (P-2156)

In the 1950s, when this photograph was taken, a person could almost walk out to the lighthouse. (P-687)

Drum Point Lighthouse Today

(Right) The fourth-order Fresnel lens was originally lit by kerosene lamp. Keepers were required to clean and fill the lamp and polish the lens. It was not until 1944 that the lens was electrified.

(Above) Retired keeper John Hansen inside the kitchen, 1978. From 1883 until 1962, there was a total of nineteen keepers — sixteen civilians and three U.S. Coast Guardsmen. Until 1944, married housekeepers were allowed to have their families with them. After that time, a keeper and two assistant keepers were stationed at the lighthouse. (CMM1201)

(Left) A mechanical bell striker is located on the second floor. In bad weather, the keeper had to wind the mechanism by hand every two hours, causing its
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hammer to strike the 1400-pound bell two blows every fifteen seconds.
 
Erected by Calvert Marine Museum.
 
Location. 38° 19.873′ N, 76° 27.804′ W. Marker is in Solomons, Maryland, in Calvert County. Marker can be reached from Solomons Island Road South (Maryland Route 2) just south of Thomas Johnson Road, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14200 Solomons Island Road South, Solomons MD 20688, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Drum Point Lighthouse (was here, next to this marker but has been reported permanently removed. ); Wm. B. Tennison (here, next to this marker); The Business End of a Screwpile (here, next to this marker); Calvert Marine Museum's Dee of St. Mary's (here, next to this marker); Power Bateau (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Wm. B. Tennison (a few steps from this marker); This flagpole (a few steps from this marker); Sailing Bateau Witch of the Wave (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Solomons.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
 
Categories. Notable BuildingsWaterways & Vessels
 

More. Search the internet for Welcome to Drum Point Lighthouse.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 31, 2019. This page originally submitted on August 31, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 34 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 31, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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