Piney Point Lighthouse
Piney Point Light.jpg
Piney Point Lighthouse
Piney Point Light is located in Maryland
Piney Point Light
Piney Point Light is located in the United States
Piney Point Light
LocationPiney Point in St. Marys County, Maryland, about 13 miles from the mouth of the Potomac River
Coordinates38°08′08″N 76°31′47″W / 38.1355°N 76.5297°W / 38.1355; -76.5297Coordinates: 38°08′08″N 76°31′47″W / 38.1355°N 76.5297°W / 38.1355; -76.5297
Year first constructed1836
Year first lit1836
Tower shapeconical tower
Tower height34 ft (10 m)
Original lensfifth-order Fresnel lens
ARLHS numberUSA-601[1][2]
Heritageplace listed on the National Register of Historic Places 
Piney Point Coast Guard Light Station
Nearest cityPiney Point, Maryland
Area2 acres (0.81 ha)
Built byJohn Donahoo
NRHP reference No.76002171[3]
Added to NRHPJune 16, 1976

The Piney Point Lighthouse was built in 1836 located at Piney Point on the Potomac River in Maryland just up the river from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The Coast Guard decommissioned it in 1964 and it has since become a museum. It is known as the Lighthouse of Presidents because several early US Presidents visited or stayed on the grounds.[4]


Congress appropriated $5000 to build the lighthouse in 1836. The lighthouse was built by John Donahoo and had a range of 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi). The lamp was replaced in 1855 with a Fresnel lens upgrading the range to 11 nautical miles (20 km; 13 mi).

A bell tower was added in 1880 and was in service until 1954 when Hurricane Hazel damaged it beyond repair.

The federal government deeded the property to St. Mary's County in 1980 and in 1990 the Museum Division of St. Mary's County Department of Recreation and Parks began to renovate the grounds.

Exhibits at the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum focus on the lighthouse, the United States Coast Guard, the Piney Point area, and the story of the Black Panther U-1105 German submarine sunk in the Potomac that now serves as a shipwreck dive preserve.

The Potomac River Maritime Exhibit displays four historic wooden vessels in a separate building.

Visitors can climb the lighthouse tower when the museum is open for operation.

The nearby Piney Point Elementary School in Tall Timbers, Maryland is named after the lighthouse.


  1. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Maryland" (PDF). United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
  2. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of the United States: Maryland". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  4. ^ W. M. Whittington (November 1975). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Piney Point Coast Guard Light Station" (PDF). Maryland Historical Trust. Retrieved 2016-01-01.


  • "Piney Point Lighthouses Museum". Archived from the original on October 6, 2006. Retrieved October 8, 2006.
  • "Piney Point Lighthouse".
  • "Piney Point Elementary School". St. Mary's County Public Schools. Archived from the original on 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-07-09.
  • Chesapeake Bay Lighthouse Project - Piney Point Light

External links

  • Piney Point Coast Guard Light Station, St. Mary's County, including photo from 2000, at Maryland Historical Trust