Cove Point Lighthouse

July 23, 2019

Cove Point Lighthouse, Calvert County, Maryland


Location: Western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, 4 miles north of the entrance to the Patuxent River
Date Built: Commissioned December 1828
Type of Structure: Conical brick tower with detached keeper’s dwelling. Separate fog bell building.
Height: 38 feet
Characteristics: Flashing white
Foghorn: Yes
Builder: John Donahoo
Appropriation: $6,000
Range: 19 miles
Status: Standing and Active

Historical Information:

  • The lighthouse was built in 1828. Several years later in 1837 fog bell was also installed.
  • In 1855 the light was improved when a fifth order Fresnel lens replaced the original reflector system. It was improved even more when in 1857 a larger fourth order Fresnel lens was installed.
  • In 1858 the fog bell apparatus was replaced with a weight driven clock-work type mechanism. 
  • In 1901 the current bell shed was built to house the engine that powered the second class Daboll trumpet fog horn. There were several changes to the fog signal which was eventually removed sometime in 2005. The back up bell to be used as emergency back up was mounted on a frame to the roof. That bell is still there today. 
  • In 1912 the characteristic was changed from fixed varied by flashes to an occulting white light every 30 seconds. 
  • In 1928 the light was converted to electricity (It was kerosene before.) A radio beacon was also installed at the station. 
  • In 1969 the air-powered horn was replaced with an electric diaphone signal.
  • In 1984 the radio beacon was discontinued. 
  • 1n 1986 the station was automated. An automatic fog detector and an automated lamp changer was installed. 
  • In 2000 the light station was turned over to Calvert County and is open for visitation thru the Calvert County Marine Museum. This is still an active aid to navigation but the buildings are being maintained by the museum. 

Researched and written by Anne Puppa, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.