The Point Lookout Lighthouse

Point Lookout Lighthouse

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The Tester, July 25, 1958

The following article was printed in the Tester newspaper.  The original pictures follow the article, and are also  included in the pictures section of the website.   Special thanks to Charlie Kidd for bringing this article to our attention and to the Public Affairs office at Patuxent Naval Air Station for providing a high resolution version of the article!

Guiding Light for Bay and River

 

Point lookout lighthouse- on the southernmost tip of St. Marys County peninsula- dates from 1830, with parts of the original building still standing.

But history of the site pre-dates the 1800s.   The original colonists named the area St. Michaels and in 1612 Captain John Smith thought the name Sparks Poynt appropriate.  The name was again changed, this time to the one it presently bears, Point Lookout, about 1648.

During the Civil War, the Hammond General Hospital and U.S. General Depot for Confederate prisoners of war occupied the area.   During the time, 17,890 Rebel soldiers were confined there.  Twin monuments just north of the lighthouse have been erected in commemoration of the southern fighting men who died while prisoners.

In 1939, U.S. Coast Guard personnel assumed control of the lighthouse, a responsibility they still exercise.  Present light keeper is a Civil Service employee, George J. Gatton.   The two Coast Guardsmen are Charles L. Kidd, jr., EN3, USCG and James R. Bronico, SN, USCG.

Primary duty of these men is maintenance and operation of the light and fog signal station.  They monitor radio beacons from Wolfs Trap, Smith Point, Thomas Point and Cove Point, and maintain short wave ship-to-ship shore communications as well.

The men, their wives and children, live in government-owned homes which are integral parts of the light tower proper.   Entrance to the tower is accomplished from a high staircase in the house leading to the dome making it unnecessary to leave the building to enter and tend the light.

Though fairly isolated, the duty is readily called choice by men of the Coast Guard assigned there.

Article and pictures courtesy of the Tester, U.S. Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, Friday, July 25, 1958, Vol. XV- No. 29, Pages 4-5.

 


 

 

 

 

The 121 year old bell still tolls a warning.

 


The Point Lookout Lighthouse beacon stands guard to guide distressed ships in the night.