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Hawkins Point, MD  Lighthouse destroyed.   

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Hawkins Point Lighthouse

1866 – For the establishment of beacon lights to mark Brewerton Channel, Patapsco River, Maryland, July 28, 1866, $30,000.

1867 – The work on the beacons to mark the Brewerton channel, Patapsco river, is progressing. The iron-work of the foundation of the southeast and most important structure is completed, and the superstructure is in a forward state. The land upon which it is proposed to build the northwest beacon has not yet been obtained; neither has the legislature of Maryland yet passed the necessary act ceding jurisdiction.

1868 – Brewerton channel—The work on the lights to mark this channel in Patapsco river, which was under progress at the date of the last annual report, has been completed, and the lights will be exhibited for the first time on the evening of November 1, 1868. These two structures, one near Hawkins's Point, the other on Leading Point, are distant apart 1 1/8 mile, bearing N. W. and S. E. from each other, both being exactly in range with the axis of Brewerton channel. The front light, Hawkins's Point, is built in six feet water, upon a screw pile foundation, with a frame superstructure to accommodate two lights, one above the other, at heights respectively of 28 and 70 feet above ordinary tides, the space between them being open. The rear light, Leading Point, is built on the bluff point, and consists of a brick dwelling surmounted by a lantern, showing one light at an elevation of 40 feet above the ground, and 70 feet above ordinary tides. When a vessel is on the true course coming up or going down the channel, the three lights will be seen in line, one above the other; but whenever this course is departed from, however slightly, to port or starboard, a corresponding change in the positions of the lights will be observed.

1869 – Hawkins's Point.—This iron screw-pile light-house was completed and lighted on the evening of November 1,1868. A new boat is to be supplied.

1878 – Hawkins's Point, south side of Patapsco River, Maryland.—The nature of the superstructure of this station is such that it seems impracticable to prevent the roof of the lower building from leaking, though it is frequently repaired. The timbers of the upper framework of the structure are decaying so rapidly that it will soon be necessary to rebuild it, unless one of the lights is discontinued. The advisability of the latter step is now being considered by the board.

1879 – Hawkins’s Point, Maryland. Only one fixed white light instead of two, hitherto exhibited; the upper light discontinued, May 1, 1879.

1881 – Hawkins's Point, south side of Patapsco River, Maryland.—A new tin roof was put on the light-house in April, and other necessary repairs made.

1885 – Hawkins's Point, Patapsco River, Maryland.—A gallery was built around the house; the lower stairway was removed to the outside to give more room; an iron ladder was made, and a new landing platform placed under the house; a new coal and wood bin was built; the tin roof and the floors, washboards, windows, and shutters throughout the house were repaired, and minor items of repair attended to. The house was then painted inside and out.

1886 – Hawkins's Point, on the shoal near Hawkins's Point, Patapsco River, Maryland.—The owner of the tract on shore known as the “Hawkins's Point farm” requested the removal of this light-house, on the ground that it interfered with a system of improvements proposed, and claimed that the site of the light-house was included in a tract of submerged land granted to a former owner under a patent issued by the governor of Maryland in 1861. The attempt made to purchase sufficient land upon the point to preserve the range made with the Leading Point light, for marking the Brewerton Channel, was met by such an exorbitant price that it may be necessary to procure the land under the condemnation law of the State.

1887 – Hawkins's Point, Patapsco River, Maryland.—The Board, at its session on February 8,1887, appointed a committee, consisting of one of its members and the inspector and engineer of the fifth light-house district, to ascertain and report the value of that portion of the site needed at Hawkins's Point light-station and of the easement across the space between Hawkins's Point and Leading Point Lights, said easement to consist of an agreement from its owner to refrain from building any structure on a strip of land 60 feet wide between the lights high enough to obscure the rear range from vessels navigating the Brewerton Channel. The committee visited the locality on February 22, made an examination of the property, considered the information in its possession, and recommended that, if the title to the site of Hawkins's Point light-station should be considered valid, its owner be offered the sum of $2,500 for a circular area of 2 acres, in the center of which Hawkins's Point lighthouse stands, and for a perpetual easement of the specified strip of land, and that, if this offer be not accepted, measures be taken to acquire title and easement by condemnation under the laws of the State of Maryland. This offer having been made and declined, the matter was put in the hands of the law officers of the Government, and the necessary preliminary steps are now being taken for the condemnation of the property needed.

1888 – Hawkins's Point, Patapsco River, Maryland.—The smoke-stack, which was blown down in a storm in July, was replaced and repaired. But little has been accomplished during the year toward securing the condemnation of the land occupied as the site of this light-house and of the strip required for the range with the Leading Point light. A petition for condemnation was filed in the circuit court of Anne Arundel County, on November 28, in accordance with the laws of Maryland. The time of the United States attorney has been largely occupied in contesting the demand of the alleged owner for rent of the light-house property used by the Government since he claimed to have acquired the title.

1889 – Hawkins's Point, Patapsco River, Maryland.—The old smoke-pipe was removed and replaced by a new one. In the case of Thomas O. Ghappell vs. James M. Waterworth, keeper of Hawkins's Point lighthouse, a decision was made by Judge Morris, of the United States circuit court, which, if not appealed and overruled, will effectually dispose of claims for compensation arising from the occupation by the United States of submarine sites for light-houses. It is held by the court that private rights are subject to the public right of navigation; that in the case cited it was not an appropriation of private property to erect the light house, but the owner of the land took it and held it subject to its use for the purposes of navigation; that the erection of light-houses is a reasonable and proper exercise of the power of the United States to regulate commerce, and comes from the paramount right of the United States to use the waters for the interest of commerce; that it has the right to use the soil under the water as the water itself, and that the ownership of the State from the beginning was subject to the rights of navigation.

1890 – Hawkins's Point, Patapsco River, Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.—The proceedings in the county court for the condemnation of lands at Hawkins's Point and an easement of land for the Brewerton Channel Range were dismissed, and a petition was filed in the United States court for the condemnation of the easement, under the act of Congress approved August 1,1888. It is understood that the matter will shortly come to trial.
This light and Leading Point Light are used as a range to guide vessels into the harbor of Baltimore. The owner of a strip of intervening fast land, which, by reason of a turn in the river, lies between the two lights, proposed to erect thereon buildings which would obstruct the range. As mariners objected and appealed to the Board, measures were taken to obtain by purchase the easement or right to send unobstructed rays of light over this land. The owner, however, asked such an exorbitant price that the Department of Justice, at the instance of the Light-House Board, initiated proceedings for the condemnation of the easement desired. These proceedings were pressed with vigor, and were vigorously opposed by able counsel, and after having been removed from the State to the United States court, which necessarily caused much delay, a decree was obtained condemning the easement desired, and awarding the owner $3,500 as damages therefor. As this was regarded as a substantial victory for the Government, the decree was accepted. The legal expenses incurred in the State and United States courts, for proceedings which ran through portions of the terms of two United States attorneys, amount to about $1,000. It is therefore recommended that an appropriation of $4,500 be made to satisfy, and to pay the expenses of obtaining this decree of condemnation.

1891 – Hawkins Point, Patapsco River, Maryland.—The amount, $3,500, awarded by the jury of condemnation for the easement between this and the Leading Point Light was paid to the owner from the current appropriation for repairs, etc., of light houses. By act of Congress approved March 3, 1891, $1,000 were appropriated to pay for the services of the United States attorneys who represented the Government in the case. Various repairs were made.

1892 – Hawkins Point, Brewerton Channel range, Patapsco River, Maryland; Leading Point, Patapsco River, Maryland.—In July, 1891, the brush and trees were removed from a strip 65 feet wide extending across Hawkins Point, to open the range for Brewerton Channel formed by these lights.

1897 – Hawkins Point, Patapsco River, Maryland.—Trees and underbrush which obscured the range between this and the Leading Point light were cut down.

1924 – A new application of electrical apparatus to lighthouses where electric current is available has been introduced at Brewerton Chanel Range Rear Light, marking the dredged channel leading to Baltimore, Md. The range has been greatly improved by increasing the candlepower of the rear light from 2,500 to 40,000 candlepower and elevating the focal plane to clear all trees, so that the light is in view a considerable distance before reaching the axis of the channel. The new light has been installed in duplicate with control apparatus that is automatic, thereby terminating the services of the keeper, permitting the dwelling to be sold or transferred to the Public Health Service, and in consequence effecting a maintenance saving of about $1,2000 annually to the Lighthouse Service.
A skeleton pipe tower 55 feet high, galvanized throughout to reduce corrosion, has been erected on the range line in front of the former tower and dwelling. The new tower supports two 18-inch parabolic locomotive headlight lanterns, one placed above the other in a suitable housing. Electric current from the local power company is supplied to 150-watt lightship lantern lamps in the focus of each lantern. A relay is in series with the service lamp which switches off the spare lamp when the current is turned on. Should the filament of the service lamp break, the spare light is automatically put into operation.
The current is switched on at sunset and off at sunrise by a jeweled clock wound automatically by a universal electric motor. A star wheel on the dial of the clock is turned on-fifth revolution daily, which alters the time the current is switched on and off daily to correspond with astronomic time of sunset and sunrise, respectively.
Periodic inspection at three-month intervals are required to check the time and calendar date of the clock, lubricated the clock motor, and install new electric lamps. The complete cost of the installation was approximately $2,400 which is well under the appraised value of the dwelling and land no longer needed.

1924 – The superstructure of Hawkins Point Lighthouse was demolished and an automatic light was erected on the screwpile foundation.

2015 – Light atop screwpile foundation was removed and a new light was built out in the river to serve as the front light of Brewerton Range: “Project consisted of the demolition of the pyramidal skeletal tower erected in 1924 near Hawkins Point, Baltimore, MD. The tower was de-energized and light and solar panels were removed before the complete tower was removed.
The rebuild consisted of driving H piles, pouring concrete base, welding, installation of the ice cone, anodes and solar panels. Also, the installation of the upper platform with grating and hand rails, and bird deterrents. An equipment shelter was built along with an optics platform. Lighting, ladders and miscellaneous equipment were installed.”


  • Head: John McDonaugh (1869), Samuel Waterworth (1869 – 1877), Thomas J. Waterworth (1877 – 1882), James W. Waterworth (1882 – 1890), Kate L. Waterworth (1890), Herman Dehl (1890 – 1896), John Peterson (1896 – 1915), Mrs. John Peterson (1915).
  • Assistant: T. B. Williams (1868 – 1869), Theodore Hamlin (1869), Ross Johnson (1869 – 1870), William R. Brown (1870), John Freeman (1870), Andrew J. Flemming (1870 – 1871), Hellen Isabella Waterworth (1871 – at least 1875), Thomas J. Waterworth (1876 – 1877), James M. Waterworth (1877 – 1882).

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