Anne Arundel County Park Ranger Davis Burman accepts delivery of a new outdoor display placard for Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse. Photo by AACo. Park Ranger Eric Rule.

US Lighthouse Society Puts New Spotlight on Bay Landmarks

By Greg Krawczyk, Program Coordinator for US Lighthouse Society Chesapeake Chapter

The Fort Carroll Lighthouse on the Patapsco River has been on the Lighthouse Digest “Doomsday List” for 26 years now. And because it’s located offshore, most people just don’t know much about it. To help bring attention to this deteriorating light, the Chesapeake Chapter of the US Lighthouse Society brought a brand new outdoor display placard to a place where they could reach a wide audience: Fort Smallwood Park in Pasadena, Maryland, which overlooks the Fort Carroll Lighthouse.

This Anne Arundel County park, with an average annual attendance of over 300,000 visitors, is uniquely situated on a peninsula at the entrance to the Patapsco River. On most days at least five local lights, including Fort Carroll, are visible there. 

The goal of the Chesapeake Chapter’s efforts to add outdoor displays to key vantage points is simple: to educate people on, and raise awareness for, historic lighthouses. Each display gives visitors a timeline of the lighthouse’s history, the oldest-known photo, and interesting facts about it.

On-shore lighthouses, like many on the Bay, often have a whole museum devoted to telling their stories. But the offshore ones rarely have any local method to inform people who see the lighthouse from shore the significance of what they’re looking at.

The displays come at a cost of about $1,000. The Anne Arundel County Park staff was nice enough to install the display at no cost to the US Lighthouse Society.

A second outdoor display placard was just installed this month at Thomas Point County Park, the spot with the best view of the iconic Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, where renovations just wrapped up, as Bay Bulletin recently captured on video.

Appropriately, the display placard is installed where two previous Thomas Point Lighthouses had stood before the current light was built out on the shoal. There were no unveiling ceremonies for these new educational tools because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but folks embracing socially-distant walks in county parks will see them on full display.