Mornings in Annapolis – A Visit to Thomas Point Lighthouse

Shining a Light on the Interior of Our Famous, Screw-Pile Lighthouse

The weather couldn’t have been more fitting for a visit to a lighthouse – grey, dismal and chilly.  The type of day which, not so long ago and before we became so technologically enabled, made lighthouses more critical than often deemed today.   With that, a group of around 20 or so boarded a boat at the Annapolis Maritime Museum and headed out for the 20 minute ride to Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse.  The group was comprised of people who had traveled from as far away as Mississippi, Colorado and New York.  Yes, Marylanders too.

During the ride, the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse docents explained some of the history of the lighthouse, as historic photos were passed around.  It is the last remaining screwpile lighthouse in the United States, in continuous operation, at its original site.  That said, it’s actually the third Thomas Point Lighthouse – the other two were on land and lost due to erosion.  Here was a surprise to me – I had no idea there was another screw-pile lighthouse just north of Thomas Point at Greenbury Point.  The foundation of that lighthouse remains in place and is known as the spider buoy.

Ownership and maintenance of Thomas Point Lighthouse is a combined partnership of the U.S. Lighthouse Society (and its local chapter), the City of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.

The light itself is solar powered, flashes every five seconds and can be seen 17 to 21 nautical miles away.   The red sector denotes outside the channel and I was told, where captains came up with the quote, “If you see red, you’re dead.”  The clear glass denotes the north / south direction of the Intra Coastal Waterway.

Here’s another interesting tidbit – weddings can be done at the lighthouse.  How cool is that?  I also love that the lighthouse brings so many memories for those of us who’ve spent time on the Chesapeake Bay.  It figures prominently in my memories going back, well, a long, long time.  As I was Tweeting photos while on the tour, a friend Tweeted one of he and his wife the day they were married.  They were on a boat, both decked out, wedding dress and all, and there it was – Thomas Point Lighthouse just behind them.

There’s plenty of historic and technical information about Thomas Point Lighthouse on the internet, including on the pages linked above, so no need for me to delve into it.  I just wanted to share the photos and offer a glimpse of the interior for those who haven’t seen it before – either in photos or in person.  The tour I just went on was the last of the season, but there’ll be lots more next year and thereafter.  Do yourself a favor and go on one – you won’t regret it.











Foghorn of yesteryear and today












One Reply to “Mornings in Annapolis – A Visit to Thomas Point Lighthouse”

  1. Your next trip out the pedestal for the light will not appear so neglected. . I will see to that.
    I have been to TPSL many, many times since my first trip in 1994 and still get excited every time we go out on a work day.
    Glad you enjoyed your trip. Hope to meet you in the future.

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