Fort Carroll Light

Aug. 6, 2019

Fort Carroll Light, Sparrows Point, Maryland

Originally built in 1854, current structure built in 1900.


Location:  Patapsco River, MD – Just before the Frances Scot Key Bridge
Date Built:  1854
Type of Structure:  Square wooden tower
Characteristics:  Not active
Status:  Standing, but in very poor shape.  Not active

Historical Information:   

  • Fort Carroll is a man-made island in the middle of the Patapsco River built to protect the approach to Baltimore. Construction on the fort began in 1847 and Robert E. Lee oversaw a phase before becoming superintendent of West Point. Fortifications of this type rapidly became obsolete and the fort was not completed to plans. It was minimally gunned during the Civil War, abandoned after World War I, and used again briefly during World War II by the Coast Guard.
  • The small wooden lighthouse was first built in 1854 and was moved several times during the Fort’s construction. It marked the turn from the Brewerton Channel to the Fort McHenry Channel going into and out of Baltimore Harbor. The keeper lived in a separate dwelling on the Fort’s grounds.
  • The lighthouse was completely re-built in 1898 and this second tower is the one visible today.
  • The light was discontinued in 1931. After World War II both the fort and the lighthouse were abandoned. While still standing, it is in an extreme state of decay.

Researched and written  by Matthew B. Jenkins, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.