Last Visited: September, 2007
A report by Lt. William D. Porter to the Secretary of the Treasury, Levi Woodbury, in 1838, provides the earliest reference to establishing a navigational aid at Drum Point. Lt. Porter urged that a beacon-light be placed on Drum Point at the mouth of the Patuxent River.
No apparent action was taken until 1853 when Lt. A. M. Pennock of the Light House board again urged the board to take steps to build a lighthouse. On August 3 1854, a congressional appropriation for lighthouses, lightships, buoys, etc., included $5,000 for a lighthouse on Drum Point. You must have Java enabled on your browser Initially, the Drum Point light station was to be located on land. Debates between the state and federal governments over ceding state land to the federal government, fair value of the land, and size of the site went on until 1856. At that time a survey of the site was made for a ten acre plot on the south-most point of land at Drum Point. However no lighthouse was ever built because the transaction was never completed.
Official records reveal nothing further until 1874 when a petition to Congress was sent by various steamboat company captains and agents calling for a light and fog bell at Drum Point. The Maryland general Assembly on April 6, 1874 passed an act of cession allowing the U.S. government to purchase land, not exceeding five acres, from any resident in the state. It also empowered the governor to convey title to any submarine site up to five acres. this legislation led to a spat of screwpile lighthouse construction in the 1870s and 1880s, since it became easier for the federal government to gain title to submarine sites, having only to deal with state authorities.
On February 15, 1883 a deed transfer was signed by Governor William Hamilton conveying five acres of submerged land about one-sixteenth nautical mile due south from Drum Point.
Work on the white hexagonal wooden structure and its wrought iron screwpile base was started on July 17, 1883. A Fresnel lens of the fourth order was shipped from the Office of the Light House Engineer in Staten Island, new York, and the light was first exhibited on August 20, 1883. From a height of fifteen feet the fixed red light was visible thirteen nautical miles in clear weather. In poor visibility the fog bell would ring a double blow every fifteen seconds.
This screwpile, cottage-type light is only one of three remaining from forty-five that once served the Chesapeake Bay at the beginning of the twentieth century. Decommissioned in 1962, the lighthouse fell victim to vandals until moved to its present site in 1975.
In 1975 the lighthouse was moved to the Calvert Maritime Museum and beautifully restored, complete with furnishings of the early twentieth century. It has become the waterfront's main attraction and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Calvert Maritime Museum
The Drum Point Lighthouse is open year round, weather permitting, except for when the museum is closed on certain holidays. Your admission fee for the museum also allows you to tour the lighthouse.
Nearest Address: 14150 Solomons Island Rd, Solomons, MD
- From Baltimore take I-95 south to I-695 East/South, to I-97, to US301 east.
- Once on US301 take exit 23. At the end of the ramp continue staight on Riva Rd.
- Stay on Riva Rd. for about 0.5 miles then get onto SR 665 south.
- In about another 0.5 miles get onto SR 2 south.
- You'll stay on SR 2 south for 51 miles into the town of Solomon.
- At that point SR 2 will go to the left, SR 4 straight. Go left onto SR 2
- Stay on SR2 for about 0.7 miles and turn left into the Calvert Maritime Museum.
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