Eastern Shore Lighthouses

Former Eastern Shore Lighthouses

and current small beacons


This list contains lighthouses once located on or near the Eastern Shore. This list also mentions existing automated beacons, which replaced the lighthouses.

Janes Island (MD) | Tangier Sound | Watts Island | Pungoteague River
Cherrystone Bar | Old Plantation Flats | Hog Island | Killock Shoal


Janes Island Lighthouse (Maryland) (1867 - 1879, 1879 - 1935)
A lightship was stationed here in 1853. In 1867, it was replaced by a screwpile lighthouse. The lighthouse was destroyed by moving ice on January 20, 1879. Another lighthouse was built, but it also was destroyed by moving ice, in 1935. The next year a skeleton tower on a caisson base was installed.
The current light is 37-feet high and has a 4-second flashhing light. The light has red and white sectors and a horn which is used from September 15 through June 1. This beacon is located in Tangier Sound west of Crisfield, Maryland. Although it is in Maryland, this beacon is important for mariners entering or leaving Virginia waters while sailing in Tangier Sound.
Located about 2 miles east of here, in the Little Annemessex River, was Somers Cove Lighthouse (1867 - 1932). It has also been replaced with a small modern beacon.

Tangier Sound Lighthouse (1890 - 1961)
Once located in the Chesapeake Bay southeast of Tangier Island. It was a square screwpile lighthouse built in 1890. A wrecked schooner which was lifted and carried by moving ice collided into the lighthouse on February 13, 1905. It became automated before being torn down in 1961.
The current light is a 45-foot high steel tower with a 6-second flashing light was built on the original foundation. The light has red and white sectors.
Best View from shore: It is not visible from shore due to extreme distance.

Watts Island Lighthouse (1833 - 1923 / 1944)
Once located in the Chesapeake Bay 700 yards south of Watts Island, halfway between the Eastern Shore peninsula and Tangier Island. In 1867, a 48-foot tower with a fifth-order Fresnel lens replaced the first lighthouse. The keeper's house was built in 1891. The lighthouse was automated in 1923. A winter storm in 1944 toppled the tower and the house. The tiny island (Little Watts Island) has completely eroded away.
The current beacon is a 15-foot high marker with a flashing light. Nautical charts name this location as "Watts Island Rocks".
Best View from shore: It is not visible from shore due to extreme distance.

Pungoteague River Lighthouse (1854 - 1856)
Once located just offshore in the Chesapeake Bay near the entrance of Pungoteague Creek in Accomack County. It was the first screwpile lighthouse built in the Chesapeake Bay. It was commissioned on November 1, 1854. Unfortunately, it lasted only 459 days. It was overturned by moving ice on February 2, 1856. Of any lighthouses on the Bay, it had the shortest recorded existence. A privately maintained beacon was placed here for a while. Then, in 1908, a flashing light on a concrete-filled caisson was installed over the same foundation.
The current beacon, now called Pungoteague Creek, is 24-feet high.

Cherrystone Bar Lighthouse (1858 - 1919, *1921 - 1964*)
Once located just south of the town of Cape Charles, adjacent to the channel leading to the town. It was a hexagonal screwpile with a fourth-order Fresnel lens. It was built in 1858 and discontinued in 1919. It was replaced with an automatic light on a steel skeleton tower built on a caisson. The lighthouse was removed in October 1920, placed on a barge, and sent to the docks at Cape Charles. On April 20, 1921, it was shipped, by barge, to the old Choptank River Light in Maryland. The Choptank Light was removed and replaced with the Cherrystone Light. In 1964, the newer Choptank River Light (the former Cherrystone Bar Light) was dismantled forever.
The current beacon, marked "C", is 30-feet high and has a 4-second flashing light.

Old Plantation Flats Lighthouse (1886 - 1962)
Once located several miles southwest of the town of Cape Charles. It marked the entrance to the channel leading to Cape Charles. It was lighted September 5, 1886. It was a white rectangular lighthouse with a combination screwpile and concrete pylon foundation. On January 1893, ice hit the structure and the shock of impact knocked over and broke the Fresnel lens. A spare fifth-order lens was substituted in February. In 1918, the lighthouse was hit by ice again and was severely damaged. It was at this time that the screwpiles were reinforced with concrete. The lighthouse was demolished in 1962, and a simple modern beacon was erected at the foundation ruins.
The current light has a 4-second flash and stands 39-feet high. See Also: Old Plantation Flats Replica

Hog Island Lighthouse (1852 - 1896, 1896 - 1948)
Once located in Northampton County's northern most barrier island on the Atlantic shore. It was a short tower, made of masonry, built in 1852 and it lasted until 1896. A new lighthouse was built in 1896. It was taller and lasted until 1948. It was a black pyramidal steel superstructure tower similar to the current Cape Charles lighthouse. The first-order Fresnel lens is on display along the waterfront in Portsmouth, VA.
The most important beacon here now is located at Quinby Inlet. It is 28 feet high and its 4-second flashing light is visible up to 8 miles.

Killock Shoal Lighthouse (1886 - 1939)
Located at the north end of the Chincoteague Channel adjacent to Chincoteague Island. It was a rectangular screwpile built in 1886, automated in 1923, and dismantled in 1939.
The current structure is a steel tower erected on the original foundation, but it is not a lighted beacon.
Best View from shore: from the waterfront at Chincoteague, and at a distance from the bridge over the Chincoteague Channel.

9/16/05


end of tour return to port

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