The Point Lookout Lighthouse

Point Lookout Lighthouse

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Light House Service Organization

Lighthouses have a long history that pre-dates the formation of these United States of America.    The first session of Congress provided funds for lighthouses, because they were necessary to ensure the free flow of goods and people to the U.S.   Lighthouses were first administered by the Secretary of the Treasury, future president Alexander Hamilton.  In 1820, the Fifth Auditor of the Treasury, under the leadership of Stephen Pleasanton, took control of the lighthouses.   Point Lookout was built in 1830, with many exchanges between the government and the landowner Jenifer Taylor.   In fact, the lighthouse was built and occupied for 2 years before the transfer of land was officially completed!   In 1852, Congress placed control of the lighthouses in the hands of the United States Lighthouse Board, which was composed of three officers, three army engineers and two civilians; the Secretary of the Treasury served as the ex-officio president of the board.   In 1903, responsibility for the lighthouses was once again transferred, this time to the Department of Commerce and Labor.   In 1910, Congress established the Bureau of Lighthouses, with top management appointed by the president.    In 1939, the responsibility for lighthouses was transferred to the Coast Guard.

Source: Putnam, George R. "Beacons of the Sea," National Geographic Magazine, January 1913, pp. 1-53. George Putnam headed the Bureau of Lighthouses from 1910 to 1935