Great Shoals Lighthouse

Aug. 27, 2019

Great Shoals Lighthouse, Chesapeake Bay, Wicomico River, Maryland

Screwpile style lighthouse, built in 1884.


Name of Lighthouse:  Great Shoals
Location:  Near the mouth of the Wicomico River, Chesapeake Bay, Eastern Shore
Date Built:  1884
Type of Structure:  Square screw-pile
Height:  37 feet above mean high water
Characteristics:  Fixed white (when in service)
Foghorn:  Bell
Appropriation:  $15,000
Status:  No longer standing

Historical Information: 

  • In 1882, in response to a request from the Maryland General Assembly, the Lighthouse Board requested funding for a screw-pile lighthouse at Great Shoals.  The purpose of the light was to guide vessels through a narrow channel entering and leaving the Wicomico River on Maryland’s, Chesapeake Bay, Eastern Shore.
  • Congress appropriated the funds in March 1883.  Construction was delayed while site surveys and borings were taken and the contract for the ironwork was bid out.  The square cottage was pre-fabricated at the Lazaretto Depot in Baltimore and all the components were shipped to the construction site in July 1884.  The light was completed in 32 days and commissioned August 15th.  The lantern exhibited a fifth order Fresnel lens.
  • Then abandoned, the lighthouse was dismantled in 1966.

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