Sharps Island Lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay

A switch up a bit from birds!

One of our recent boat outings was on a beautiful sky blue, fluffy cloud day.  The winds were calm.  That meant a great 20 mile boat-run out of the Choptank River to the Chesapeake Bay.  Maybe we’d be lucky to see a huge ship passing by.

No huge ships sighted, but outside the Choptank River entrance sits Sharps Island Lighthouse.


DSC_4286-1 52719

Sharps Island Lighthouse


Constructed in 1881, Sharps Island Lighthouse is a cast iron caisson structure filled with concrete, with a brick-lined cast iron tower built on top.  It presently sits in ten feet of water.

This is the third lighthouse at this location.  Sharps Island Lighthouse lost its last resident keepers in 1951, following automation of its light.


DSC_4319-1 52719

Sharps Island Lighthouse


Sharps Island Lighthouse got its characteristic tilt during the winter of 1976-7 when large ice flows, some piled as high as 40 feet, pushed against the tower and tipped it to the south at about a 15-20 degree angle.


DSC_5496-1 52719

Sharps Island Lighthouse


Although fundamentally sound at the time, the Fresnel lens was still removed and replaced with a 250mm plastic beacon that flashed a white signal with a red sector.


DSC_4337-1 52719

Sharps Island Lighthouse


Although still warning boaters & sailors of the dangerous shoals, Sharps Island Lighthouse began rapidly deteriorating with water damage and interior rot.  It became more than what the Coast Guard and Maryland wanted to invest to renovate.

In 2006, Sharps Island Lighthouse was declared excess property and made available to federal & state agencies, non-profits, and historical preservation groups for free.  However, no legitimate entity had an interest.

In 2008, Sharps Island Lighthouse was disposed through an online auction, noting that “the lighthouse was physically inaccessible, the iron plates in the caisson were cracked and corroding, and the wooden floor on the first level was unstable”.  The terms of the sale gave the Coast Guard access to the structure, allowing them to continue maintaining it as an active aid to navigation.

The buyer from Delaware paid $80,000.  Since their purchase, the buyer has done nothing to the lighthouse.

Declared in 2017 to now be too dangerous, the Coast Guard stopped maintaining the lighthouse and its light went out.  Any efforts now to save it will cost the private owner an enormous amount of money.  Today, Sharp’s Island Lighthouse remains on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List of Endangered Lighthouses.  🙁


DSC_5501-1 52719

Sharps Island Lighthouse with a male Osprey on watch


Oh, did I say a post with no birds??  My bad!!  😉


DSC_5517-1 52719

Female Osprey on the other side of the lighthouse, incubating on their nest


DSC_5528-1 52719

There’s the Mrs!


It is so nice of the private owner to provide this nice waterfront property for the Osprey this season!



error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: