1884: The Installation of a Maryland Lighthouse

July 26, 1884

A pivotal milestone occurred in the construction of a lighthouse in Maryland’s Eastern Shore region. This milestone specifically involved setting up the cottage-like superstructure for Great Shoals Light at the mouth of the Wicomico River, a 24.4-mile (39.3-kilometer)-long tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

The components for that superstructure had been manufactured at the Lazaretto Depot in Baltimore and then shipped to the construction site for assembly and installation. Twenty days after this section was put in place, Great Shoals Light first went into service. John E. Graves served as the lighthouse’s first keeper.

In 1882, the Maryland General Assembly had officially requested that a lighthouse be built within the deep and narrow channel at the entrance to the Wicomico River. The U.S. Congress appropriated funds for such a navigational aid the following year.

For more than eight decades, Great Shoals Light remained in operation and helped safeguard numerous vessels traveling through that section of Maryland. This lighthouse was deactivated in 1966, with its longtime superstructure removed from the screw-pile foundation and replaced with an automatic light.

Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard

For more information on Great Shoals Light, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Shoals_Light

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