Home Maps Resources Calendar About
Resources Calendar About
Upper Cedar Point, MD  Lighthouse destroyed.   

Select a photograph to view a photo gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

See our full List of Lighthouses in Maryland

Upper Cedar Point Lighthouse

1820 – Authorized by act of Congress on May 15, 1820, a light-vessel for Upper Cedar Point, $6,660.

1837 – A light-boat has been built and stationed off Upper Cedar point, in the Potomac, according to the decision of the Navy Board in reference to the appropriation “for a light-boat or light-house in the Potomac river, between Matthias point, in Virginia, and Maryland point, in the State of Maryland.”

1838 – Upper-Cedar-point light-boat.—Captain and crew absent. At half past eight P. M., the mate called on board the cutter, from whom I obtained the following information: The boat requires calking, painting, and some other slight repairs; the lantern is hidden by the head of the slides; it cannot be seen three hundred yards when the boat is head on.

1845 – Upper Cedar Point (light-vessl), off said Point, below the Narrows, and about 44 miles below Mount Vernon. One lamp with 6 cylindrical wicks, 34 feet elevation from deck. Built (first) in 1821. New vessel built in 1839, tonnage 72.

1855 – Upper Cedar Point, Potomac river.—This light-vessel was thoroughly repaired last spring, and was fitted with a new illuminating apparatus, consisting of a lantern containing 16 panes of large sized plate-glass, and a new Costan lamp, in place of the old style lantern of 48 panes of small sized common glass and the old style common bowl-lamp. The Costan lamp was first exhibited on the 17th May, 1855.

1859 – The light-vessel removed from the Ocracoke inlet, in North Carolina, under the operation of the 3d section of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1859, is being repaired and refitted for use as a relief vessel for the waters of Pamlico sound, and the vessel removed from the Nine-feet shoal, in the same waters, under the operation of the same act, has been transferred to the Potomac river to take the place of the Upper Cedar Point light-vessel nearly worn out.

1860 - Ninefoot shoal light-vessel has been fitted out, and sent to occupy the station of the Upper Cedar Point light-vessel, on the Potomac river, this latter vessel having been found to require extensive repairs.

1861 – Between the 19th and 24th April, 1861, the two light-vessels in the Potomac were wantonly burned, and four in the Chesapeake between the mouth of the Potomac and Hampton Roads were removed and their apparatus carried off or destroyed. Two of these light-vessels were subsequently recaptured, but they had been stripped of everything that could be removed.

1864 – Two of the light-vessels which were mentioned in the last annual report as being detained in New Bedford, under the lien law of the State, for debts due by the contractor, have been placed upon the stations on Upper and Lower Cedar Points in the Potomac river, for which they were originally designed. A competent guard for their protection has been detailed from the army.

1867 – Before the war, the aids to navigation in this district included a great number of light-vessels, many of which were in waters not subject to heavy seas, and but rarely to ice of such mass and strength as to make it dangerous to permanent structures. The rebellion had swept away all the light-vessels in the sounds of North Carolina, and some of those in the lower Chesapeake. In reestablishing these stations the opportunity was presented to carry into effect an object long had in view by the Board, viz., to replace the light-vessels, wherever practicable, by permanent structures, because of their greater economy, both in construction and maintenance. Generally the stations occupied by light-vessels are of such a character that the screw-pile light-house is the most eligible form of construction for any permanent substitute. This is particularly the case in the district in question, owing to the slight elevation of the adjacent shores and their swampy formation, the shallow water and the nature of the bottom. Since the last annual report screw-pile light-houses have been erected upon the eight following stations, formerly occupied by light-vessels, viz: Roanoke river, Harbor island, Southwest Point Royal shoal and Long shoal, in North Carolina, Upper Cedar Point, Hooper's straits, and Janes' island, in Maryland, and Lower Cedar Point, in Virginia, at a total cost of one hundred and twenty-one thousand and one dollars, ($121,001,) which, under the authority of the second section of the “act making appropriations for light-houses, light-boats, buoys, &c, and providing for the erection and establishment of the same, and for other purposes,” approved March 3d, 1859, has been charged to the appropriation for “seamen's wages, repairs, &c, of light-vessels.” Thus far, no light-vessel removed or destroyed by the rebels has been replaced by a new one built for the purpose.

1867 – Upper Cedar Point—Upon the completion of the new screw pile light-house intended as a substitute for this vessel, it was lighted for the first time on the night of July 20, 1867, and the vessel taken to Norfolk, put on the ways, her sheathing thoroughly repaired, and painted red. On the 17th August she was taken in tow by the tender Heliotrope and placed upon the Willoughby Spit station, the iron vessel formerly occupying it being no longer fit for service. The vessel now marking Willoughby Spit is in excellent condition in every particular.

1868 – Upper Cedar Point.—In good condition.

1869 – Lower Upper Point. In good condition.

1877 – On the shoal off Upper Cedar Point, above the mouth of Tobacco River, Maryland. Discontinued – December 20, 1876.

1877 – Upper Cedar Point, Potomac River, Maryland.—On the establishment of the light at Mathias Point Shoal, this light was discontinued. The structure remains as a fog-signal station and day-beacon.

1883 – Upper Cedar Point, above the mouth of Port Tobacco River, Maryland.—The light at this station, which had been discontinued since December, 1870, was relighted on September 1, 1882. The station is in excellent order.

1884 – Upper Cedar Point, Potomac River, Maryland,—Boat-hoisting apparatus was placed in position in October and an additional smoke-stack put up.

1888 – Upper Cedar Point, Potomac River, Maryland.—Two red sectors were inserted, one of about 22 ½ degrees to cover the shoals on the Virginia side between Dade's Shoal and Maryland Point, and the other of about 31 degrees, the southern edge to mark the northern edge of the channel above Mathias Point, April 15,1888.

1897 – Upper Cedar Point, Potomac River, Maryland.—On October 10 the red sector in the light showing between the bearings NE. 3/8 N. and NE. by E. 5/8 E. was discontinued. Various repairs were made

1900 – Upper Cedar Point, Potomac River, Maryland.—New model fifth-order lamps were installed. Ruby glass was supplied for the red sector. Various repairs were made.

1919 – Keeper Andrew J. Jarvis awarded lighthouse efficiency flag for 1919.

1920 – A.J. Jarvis, keeper, assisted government launch I-9 which had run aground near station. Happened on April 8, 1920.

1920 – A.J. Jarvis, keeper, assisted Steamer Col. J.E. Sawyer which ran ashore in vicinity. Happened on April 27, 1920.

1922 – On April 12, A.J. Jarvis, keeper of Upper Cedar Point Light Station, Md., and Thomas H. Barnes assistant keeper, went to assistance of two oystermen whose boat had become disabled.

1925 – Thomas H. Barnes, keeper of Upper Cedar Point Lighthouse, Md., on July 12, rendered assistance to the three occupants of a disabled motor boat, encountering a severe storm while taking the party ashore.

1930 – T. J. Steinhise, keepers, Upper Cedar Point Light Station, Va., rescued the owner and his family when the motor boat Verdoma went aground on a bar near the light station on April 12.

1945 – Station was rebuilt.

1951 – Upper Cedar Point Lighthouse was automated on December 5, 1951.

1963 – Upper Cedar Point Lighthouse was dismantled in 1963 and replaced with a light atop a skeletal tower mounted on the screwpile foundation.


  • Head: James Treakle (1867 – 1869), Thomas Bates (1869 – 1872), Richard M. Smoot (1872 – 1876), Peter Street (1876 – 1881), George R. Drew (1881 – 1887), Thomas E. Speake (1887 – 1917), Andrew J. Jarvis (1917 – at least 1922), John E. Morgan ( – 1925), Thomas H. Barnes (1925 – 1929), Thomas J. Steinhise (1929 – 1930), John C. Lewis (at least 1939), Floyd E. Crewe (1943 – 1947), Richard J. Wessells (at least 1948).
  • Assistant: George Faunce (1867 – 1872), James Treakle (1872), W.H. Hodgkins (1872 – 1873), Bazil D. Mullen (1873 – 1875), Mary E. Smoot (1875 – 1876), Buena V. Speake (1895 – at least 1917), David L. Barnett (1918 – ), James W. Simpson (at least 1919), William R. Hudgins ( – 1920), William A. Davis (1920 – 1921), Thomas H. Barnes (1921 – 1925), A.H. Etheridge (1925 – at least 1926), Thomas H. Barnes (1929 – 1944), William Flemming (at least 1948), James B. Ligon (at least 1948).

Copyright © 2001- Lighthousefriends.com
Pictures on this page copyright Coast Guard, used by permission.
email Kraig