Cut-off Channel Range Rear Light Station

July 2, 2019

Cut-off Channel Range Rear Light Station's National Register of Historic Places Nomination


1. Name of Property


historic name: Cut-off Channel Range Rear Light Station

other names/site number: New Cut-off Channel and Craighill Channel Upper Rear Range Light (BA-1553)


2. Location


street & number: N/A not for publication: N/A

city or town: near Edgemore vicinity X

state: Maryland code: MD county: Baltimore code: 005 zip code: N/A


3. State/Federal Agency Certification


As the designated authority under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1986, as amended, I hereby certify that this nomination meets the documentation standards for registering properties in the National Register of Historic Places and meets the procedural and professional requirements set forth in 36 CFR Part 60. In my opinion, the property meets the National Register Criteria. I recommend that this property be considered significant. (___See continuation sheet for additional comments.)

Captain, U. S. Coast Guard,

Chief, Office of Civil Engineering 2/22/02

Signature of certifying official Date

Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard

State or Federal agency and bureau

In my opinion, the property ____ meets ____ does not meet the National Register criteria. (___ See continuation sheet for additional comments.)

_____________________________________ __________________

Signature of commenting or other official Date


State or Federal agency and bureau


4. National Park Service Certification


I, hereby certify that this property is:

____ entered in the National Register ______________________

___ See continuation sheet.

____ determined eligible for the ______________________

National Register

___ See continuation sheet.

____ determined not eligible for the ______________________

National Register

____ removed from the National Register ______________________

____ other (explain): _________________

__________________________________ ______________________ _________

Signature of Keeper Date of Action


5. Classification


Ownership of Property (Check as many boxes as apply)

___ private

___ public-local

___ public-State

X public-Federal

Category of Property (Check only one box)

___ building(s)

___ district

___ site

X structure

___ object

Number of Resources within Property

Contributing Noncontributing

_____ _____ buildings

_____ _____ sites

1 _____ structures

_____ _____ objects

1 0 Total

Number of contributing resources previously listed in the National Register 0

Name of related multiple property listing: Light Stations of the United States


6. Function or Use


Historic Functions (Enter categories from instructions)

Cat: transportation Sub: water-related

Current Functions (Enter categories from instructions)

Cat: transportation Sub: water-related


7. Description


Architectural Classification (Enter categories from instructions):

No Style

Materials (Enter categories from instructions):

foundation: brick and stone

roof: metal

walls: metal


Narrative Description (Describe the historic and current condition of the property.)1

Description Summary2

The Cut-off Channel Rear Range Light Station rests on four brick pier foundations, which support an iron exoskeleton square pyramid frame with an inner wooden tower built on a brick foundation. The wooden tower, which encloses a stairwell, is sheathed with corrugated sheet metal. The range light is located in the top of the wooden shaft at an elevation of 75 feet above the water. The rear range light is 1.3 miles northwest of the front range light, and together they work in tandem guiding vessels into a cut-off channel into the Patapsco River inside Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, which cuts several miles off the route to Baltimore. The rear range light is located onshore at the head of Old Road Bay, Pennwood Wharf, Jones Creek, Sparrows Point, north side of the mouth of Patapsco River, near Edgemore, Baltimore County, Maryland. Access to the property is via Sparrow Point Boulevard, within the Sparrows Point Bethlehem Steel Plant.

General Description

Existing Structures

Four corner brick pier foundations, each of which is capped by a single square-shaped brown stone cap, support a 3-story iron exoskeleton square pyramid frame. The corner posts are cast-iron columns connected by cast-iron knuckles. The horizontal crossbeams are made of I-beams. Diagonal cross supports are iron rods connected by pins to the knuckle connectors. Within the exoskeletal frame is a 4 1/2-story square wooden tower supported by a brick foundation. The tower, which encloses a stairwell, is sheathed with corrugated sheet metal. The brick foundation has a diamond shaped ventilation pattern formed by leaving out selected alternating bricks on both the north and south face. An entrance door is located on the south, or waterside, of the first level. The door is reached via a six-step wooden stairway with a small wooden landing at the door level. A cement stoop forms the stair landing at ground level. A brick walk runs east and west in front of the steps and, presumably, once connected to the keeper's house, which is now demolished. The door is a modern replacement wooden flush door not appropriate to the structure. A transom above the door has been filled with wood. Between the transom and the top of the door is a decorative wooden molding, which may be original fabric.

On the south side above the door on the second and third level, were four-over-four double-hung sash windows. These windows are now covered with plywood. On the upper half level of the south side, is a single pane for the range light to beam through. There is no fenestration on the west side of the tower. The north side has a window opening on the second, third, and fourth levels, but these are also covered with plywood. The east side has no windows, but a half paneled wooden door is located on the fourth level. This door accesses a small single-plank walkway attached to the top of the iron skeletal tower. This is probably a remnant of the former gallery, which surrounded the tower and allowed for maintenance and cleaning of the pane. The rail surrounding the former gallery had vertical bars between the lower and upper medial rail and a handrail above it. There were seven vertical balusters to a side to support the rails. From this gallery, a ladder ascended to a small platform just under the lantern pane. The tapering pyramid skeletal iron frame ends at the gallery or top of the third-level. The roof is a shallow pyramid standing seam metal roof. The tower is painted white and the roof black.

Previously Existing Structures

A dwelling, storehouse, and privy were built in 1885 adjacent to the range light. The keeper's dwelling was torn down in the 1920s.3


8. Statement of Significance


Applicable National Register Criteria (Mark "x" in one or more boxes for the criteria qualifying the property for National Register listing)

X A Property is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history.

____ B Property is associated with the lives of persons significant in our past.

X C Property embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components lack individual distinction.

____ D Property has yielded, or is likely to yield information important in prehistory or history.

Criteria Considerations (Mark "X" in all the boxes that apply.)

____ A owned by a religious institution or used for religious purposes

____ B removed from its original location

____ C a birthplace or a grave

____ D a cemetery

____ E a reconstructed building, object, or structure

____ F a commemorative property

____ G less than 50 years of age or achieved significance within the past 50 years

Areas of Significance (Enter categories from instructions):

Maritime History



Period of Significance: 1886-19294

Significant Dates: 1886, 1929

Significant Person (Complete if Criterion B is marked above): N/A

Cultural Affiliation: N/A

Known Design Source: none

Architect/Builder: unknown

Narrative Statement of Significance (Explain the significance of the property.)

The Cut-off Channel Range Rear Light Station is significant for its association with federal governmental efforts to provide an integrated system of navigational aids and to provide for safe maritime transportation in the Chesapeake Bay, a major transportation corridor for commercial traffic from the early nineteenth through twentieth centuries. The lighthouse embodies a distinctive design and method of construction that typified range light construction on the Chesapeake Bay during the second half of the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century.


After Congress appropriated $25,000 for the erection of range lights at the "new cut-off from Craighill Channel, approaches to Baltimore," arrangements were made for the purchase of a site for the rear beacon at "Holly Grove, Patapsco River." Work on the rear beacon and dwelling began in September 1885. It consisted of an "inner wooden shaft, covered with corrugated iron and supported by an iron skeleton frame, forming a frustum of a square pyramid, resting on stone and brick foundation piers." The dwellings of both the front and rear range were built onshore, according to a cottage plan, similar to those constructed at Cape Henry Light Station, Virginia. Workmen were transported from Baltimore and back by the steam launch Nettle. Both beacons were first lighted on January 15, 1886, even though all the work on the dwellings was not yet complete. All work was completed by the end of June. The "locomotive head-lights" were white, and the rear range was 65 feet above the water.5

In 1890, brick walks were laid between the buildings and to the outside of the enclosure. A plank walk was laid from the tower to the water's edge, and other minor repairs were made.6 A plat dated June 12, 1925, shows a small dwelling with two porches located just east of the tower. A storehouse is located just northwest of the dwelling and a privy just northwest of the storehouse. These structures were demolished in the 1920s. The "locomotive" type light is now replaced with a DCB 24.7


9. Major Bibliographical References


Clifford, Candace. 1994 Inventory of Historic Light Stations. Department of Interior, National Park Service, History Division, Washington, D.C., 1994.

de Gast, Robert. The Lighthouses of the Chesapeake. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London, 1993.

Holland, F. Ross, Jr. Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay: An Illustrated History. Maryland Historical Trust, Crownsville, Maryland, in press.

U.S. Lighthouse Board. Annual Reports, 1885-1902. Department of Commerce and Labor, Washington, D.C., 1885-1902.

Previous documentation on file (NPS)

___ preliminary determination of individual listing (36 CFR 67) has been requested.

___ previously listed in the National Register

X previously determined eligible by the National Register

___ designated a National Historic Landmark

___ recorded by Historic American Buildings Survey # __________

___ recorded by Historic American Engineering Record #

Primary Location of Additional Data

X State Historic Preservation Office

___ Other State agency

X Federal agency

___ Local government

___ University

___ Other

Name of repository: National Archives; Library of Congress; National Maritime Initiative, National Park Service; U.S. Coast Guard Headquarter, Historian's Office, Washington, D.C.


10. Geographical Data


Acreage of Property: Less than one acre

USGS Quadrangle: Sparrows Point, MD

UTM References: Zone Easting Northing

18 373690 4341565

Boundary Description:

Using the center of the light tower structure as a center point, proceed 120 feet south to form a radius. Using radius, proceed in a circle around the lighthouse. The boundary includes all land within the circle.

Boundary Justification:

The boundary includes the lighthouse and completely encompasses the structure.


11. Form Prepared By


name/title: Ralph E. Eshelman, Maritime Historian; originally prepared for the Maryland Historical Trust as part of a multiple property nomination for Maryland Lighthouses; reformatted in May 1998 by Candace Clifford, NCSHPO consultant to the National Maritime Initiative, as part of a multiple property documentation form for U.S. Coast Guard-owned light stations; edited and revised in August 2002 by Jennifer Perunko, NCSHPO Consultant, National Maritime Initiative, National Park Service

organization: Eshelman & Associates

date: February 9, 1996

street & number: 12178 Preston Dr.

city or town: Lusby state: MD zip code: 20657

telephone: 410-326-4877


Property Owner


name: U.S. Coast Guard, Fifth District

street & number: 431 Crawford Street

telephone: (757) 398-6351

city or town: Portsmouth state: VA zip code: 23705


1 The following description and associated photographs were reviewed in August 2002 by a US Coast Guard Aid to Navigation team responsible for the property. A document verifying that the description and associated photographs reflect the current condition of the property is on file with the Office of Civil Engineering, US Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC.

2 This section based in part on site visit on April 15, 1996.

3 Robert de Gast, The Lighthouses of the Chesapeake, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1993, p. 99.

4 The period of significance is based on the period during which the light station was "manned;" i.e., from completion of construction until automation, 1886-1929.

5 Lighthouse Board, Annual Report, 1885, p. 49; and 1886, p. 48.

6 Lighthouse Board, Annual Report, 1890, p. 99.

7 Robert de Gast, The Lighthouses of the Chesapeake, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1993, p. 99; Candace Clifford. 1994 Inventory of Historic Light Stations. Department of Interior, National Park Service, History Division, Washington, D.C., 1994, p. 126.

NPS Form 10-900 USDI/NPS NRHP Registration Form (Rev. 8-86) OMB No. 1024-0018


United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service National Register of Hi