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Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse Welcomes Visitors

    The Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse is a Chesapeake Bay treasure that belongs to all of us. It has a wonderful history and still stands where it always has on Thomas Point on the South River’s northern shore at the entrance to the Bay. It is listed on the National Historic Register as the last remaining screw-pile-style lighthouse in its original location and still an active aid to navigation.
    The lighthouse has been undergoing major restoration since 2006. Volunteers working under the direction of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, Chesapeake Chapter — removing lead paint, scraping, sanding, painting, refinishing and restoring — have created a shining gem.    
    Overall the outside of the cottage was in good condition. Now it has been repainted, the tin roof painted its original red and some porch walk floorboards replaced. The galley is completely finished, painted a 1900s dove gray color with white trim. Pantry, table, lamp and cabinet furnish it. We await the installation of a wood stove.
    The next room had two lives. During the keepers’ time, it served as the assistant keeper’s bedroom, with quick access up the spiral staircase to the lantern room. The U.S. Coast Guard manned the light from 1939 until it was automated in 1986 and continue to maintain the light. Now this room has been restored as the Coast Guard communications room. It has government green walls, original carpeting, matching gray desk and bookcase with 1960s books, charts, communications, radio and TV.
    Work has begun on the keepers’ sitting room, which will have furniture of the era. The fourth room on this level will recreate the principle keeper’s bedroom. The upstairs area is where visiting keepers or assistants slept, where the machinery for the fog bell was located and lamp oil was stored. It now houses NOAA’s automated equipment for the light and the foghorn. The original floors are in remarkably good condition and only need some polishing to shine.
    Now is a great time to come see your light. The restoration work is at a good place for you to imagine how the keepers lived and spent their days. You can stand on the porch walk and be thrilled seeing the boats passing by. Up in the lantern room, you see the beacon that guides us all home safely time after time.
    The Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse is owned by the City of Annapolis. U.S. Lighthouse Society (USLHS.org) oversees restoration and reservations. The Annapolis Maritime Museum runs the tours.
    The remaining tour dates are August 29, September 5, 12 and 27 and October 10. Tour information: amaritime.org.

–Bobbie Carew, docent, Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse