James Island

Aug. 27, 2019

James Island Light (Janes Island Light), Maryland


Name of Lighthouse: Janes [James] Island
Location: mouth of Little Annemessex River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore
Date Built: 1867
Type of Structure: screwpile light
Characteristics: fixed white light
Lens: fourth order (L. Sautter & Co., Paris)
Height: 38’ above mean high water
Foghorn: fog bell struck by machinery every 15 sec.
Construction Materials: Wood
Deactivated: 1935
Status: Destroyed

Historical Information:

  • A lightship marked this location beginning in 1853. In 1866 it was replaced by a relief vessel because the lightship was in need of repair.
  • A screwpile lighthouse replaced the relief vessel in 1867.
  • In January of 1879 the first screwpile was damaged by ice and a second one was built to replace it. This one was exactly like the second Hooper Strait Light and showed a fixed white light.
  • This must have been a particularly icy location as in the winter of 1893 the light was again visited by ice and was damaged. Apparently repairs were made and the second Janes Island light lasted until 1935 when ice again damaged the light – this time it sinking it.
  • The next light installed in 1936 was a skeletal tower erected on a caisson base which stands 37 feet high. This is what stands there today.

Researched and written by William Simms, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Light House Society.