Piney Point Quick Facts
Year Station Established: 1836
Is the Light operational? No
Year Light First Lit: 1836
Year Deactivated: 1964
Tower Height: 30 ft.
Original Optic: 4th Order, Fresnel
Present Optic: Removed
Existing Keepers Quarters? Yes
Year Constructed: 1836
Number of Stories: 2.5
Architectural Style: Altered
Construction Materials: Brick
Piney Point Lighthouse
Piney Point, MD
(7 photos, 165KB total download)
Last Visited: September, 2007
Built in 1836, the Piney Point Lighthouse and keeper’s quarters are located 14 miles up the Potomac River from the Chesapeake Bay. This beacon stands preserved today as a witness to a bygone era of high society entertaining American Presidents such as James Monroe, Franklin Pierce, Theodore Roosevelt and other notables including Daniel Webster, Daniel C. Calhoun, and later, the inimitable Kate Smith.
The lighthouse and keeper’s quarters were built by master lighthouse builder, John Donahoo for the contracted price of $3,888. The circular tower stands 35 feet tall from its base to the coping and the walls are 3 feet 10 inches thick at the base and 2 feet 3 inches at the parapet. This lighthouse was the tenth of the 12 lighthouses built by Donahoo in his lifetime.
The Piney Point Lighthouse was a working beacon from 1836 until 1964 when it was decommissioned by the United States Coast Guard. This lighthouse served river navigators through the Civil War years, the steamboat era, and both World Wars as witness to U.S. munitions testing. In 1980 the vacated property was deeded to St. Mary’s County by the federal government.
Time and tide had taken its toll by the time preservation efforts of the Piney Point Lighthouse began in earnest in 1990 by the Museum Division of St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks. The Lighthouse was restored and the outbuildings were renovated. The Keeper’s Quarters are a private residence for security and grounds keeping purposes. The recently restored tower steps allow visitors a bird's-eye view of the area at the Annual Piney Point Celebration in May. The lighthouse tower is open for climbing during visitor museum hours of operation.
St. Mary's County, MD
The grounds of the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park are open sunrise to sunset 7 days a week. The museum, Lighthouse Lens Museum Store, maritime exhibit and lighthouse will open Friday April 13 and offer staffed hours of operation Friday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October. Special opening in December for the holiday season.
Nearest Address: 44701 Lighthouse Rd, Piney Point, MD
- From I-95/I-495 take exit 7A onto SR 5 south
- Stay on SR 5 for 25.5 miles then turn right onto SR 249 / Piney Point Rd.
- Take Piney Point Rd. for 7.4 miles then turn right onto Lighthouse Rd. (also called SR 498)
- Stay on Lighthouse Rd. for about 1.4 miles to the end at the Piney Point Lighthouse and Museum.
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