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Lazaretto Point Lighthouse

Sept. 10, 2019
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Lazaretto Point Lighthouse, Lazaretto Point, Maryland

LAZARETTO POINT LIGHT

Name of Lighthouse: Lazeretto Point 
Location: Lazaretto Point
Date Built: 1831
Type of Structure: Conical tower
Operational: No
Date Automated: 1916
Deactivated: 1954
Height: 31’
Foghorn: bell tower
Construction Material: Brick
Original Lens: eleven oil lamps with reflectors
Characteristics: fixed white light.
Status: Original demolished, a replica stands in its place

Historical Information:

  • Built in 1831 by John Donahoo to mark the harbor entrance for the increase in maritime traffic into Baltimore Harbor.  The site was already owned by the government and had been the site of a smallpox hospital which had already been closed.  Originally it had eleven oil lamps and reflectors.  A keeper's house and a fog bell tower were also built at that time.
  • In 1852 a fourth order Fresnel lens was installed.
  • In 1863 Lazaretto point became the site of a lighthouse depot.  The depot serviced many of the lights in the bay providing storage and re-supply to the lighthouse tenders.  Many of the lighthouses in the bay were prefabricated at the Lazaretto depot and then placed on their supports.
  • In 1870 the fixed white light was changed to red.
  • In 1914 the light was electrified and the lens was changed to a 3-½ order.
  • By 1920 the light was considered less useful because of all the other buildings around it and in 1926 the tower was torn down and a steel tower was erected to replace it.  As more and more the of lights were automated the work of the depot was cut back and much of the work was shifted Portsmouth.
  • In 1936 a fire destroyed the old hospital building and damaged the keeper’s dwelling.  A new keeper’s house was build using materials from the old keeper’s house and the old hospital building.
  • In 1954 the steel tower was torn down as well.
  • In 1958 the depot was shut down and the land was sold.  The area became a shipping terminal.
  • In 1985 the replica was built in honor of Norman G. Rukert Sr. who had owned the Rukert Terminals Corporation and who had been a historian who had loved the Baltimore waterfront.  The original plans for Lazaretto Light were found in that National Archives and used to build the replica.  The replica is not an active aid.

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