There were many places on the Lighthouse Trip of 1999 that we were really looking forward to visiting, but none with quite as much anticipation as the Concord Point Lighthouse at Havre de Grace, Maryland. Elizabeth lived in Havre de Grace for a short time in 1973, just before her Daughter Dana was born, only about 4 blocks from the lighthouse. In those days, the lighthouse was a wreck and nearly abandoned, not yet found by folks that cared about the historic structure. In fact, she couldn't really remember it even being there. We once again followed the driving instructions that we had printed out from the Cheslights Website, and they got us right to the lighthouse. While we were there, we meet a group of folks from the Chesapeake Chapter of the US Lighthouse Society, and I told them how we had learned about this and all the various lighthouse we were visiting, and how much we loved their Website.
After a few minutes of talking and only after we had told them about our Website, we went in to explore the lighthouse and talk for another 30 minutes with two of the local folks that volunteer service on the weekends at the lighthouse.
When we finished climbing the lighthouse and taking pictures, we rode around in Havre de Grace and found what we think is the house Elizabeth lived in there in 1973. Surprising was that although the town, the lighthouse and the waterfront were all totally restored, the house she used to live in was a wreck. It was such a shadow of it's former self, she never was totally sure we had the right house.
The Story Continues.
After leaving Havre de Grace, we drove to the next place that Elizabeth lived in that area of the country, the Army base at Aberdeen, Maryland. Dana was born in the Army Hospital at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
Here is that hospital.
We drove around looking for the house that she lived in when she was there, as she described it, a World War Two era military dependant family house. But all we found is the land where it used to stand. Obviously torn down years ago.
This is a shot of the place that house used to stand.
At the Army base is the Military Ordinance Museum. It was closed by the time we got there, but we did spend about an hour walking around looking at the outside displays of tanks and field artillery. Here is a shot of me with a 27,000 pound bomb from World War Two and some Nike Missiles that carried conventional warheads.
A Short History of the Concord Point Lighthouse located at Havre de Grace, Maryland.
In 1826 the Maryland General Assembly authorized the construction of a lighthouse at the point where the Susquehanna River meets the tidal flow of the Chesapeake Bay. This very hazardous area was then known as Point Conquest. John Donohoo, a local contractor, was the designer and builder of the lighthouse. He also built many other lighthouses in the area that look very similar to the Concord Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse is constructed of Port Deposit Granite. The walls are over three feet thick at the base and narrow to eighteen inches at the top. It is thirty-six feet in height. Originally the lighthouse was fitted with nine whale oil lamps, but was changed to a center post light with a sixth order Fresnel lens in 1854. The lens in the lighthouse presently is a fifth order lens on loan from the St. Michael's Maritime Museum. We were told by the guide at the lighthouse, that after the Coast Guard decommissioned the lighthouse in 1975, the original sixth order lens was stolen. The first lighthouse keeper was an Irish immigrant, John O'Neill. He rose to prominence during an attack by British forces at this site during the War of 1812. One of the old artillery pieces is located right next to the lighthouse. O'Neill was captured and sentenced to be hung, but his daughter Matilda intervened and convinced his British captors to release him. He was released, and served as lighthouse keeper and town commissioner until his death in 1836. While there have been many keepers over the years, at least one member of each generation of the O'Neill family kept the light while it was manually illuminated. The lighthouse was electrified in 1920. The last keeper was Harry O'Neill, who began his service in 1919. Local documents describe the area as being "seriously blighted" by 1924, and apparently remained that way for many years. The Coast Guard decommissioned the lighthouse in 1975, soon after that the lens was stolen, and soon after that, a group of concerned citizens incorporated as "The Friends of Concord Point Lighthouse, Inc.".
The Lighthouse and surrounding park, complete with the historic John O'Neill Potato Cannon was restored in 1979. The old Lighthouse Keeper's House, a stone house located across the street, is currently being restored under the direction of the Maryland Historical Trust. The Lighthouse is located in the town of Havre de grace at exit 89 on Interstate 95. It's right in the center of the town in Concord Point Park at Concord and Lafayette Streets. It is open on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays from 1pm till 5pm, May through October. It is the oldest continuously operated lighthouse in the state of Maryland.
Photos of other nearby lighthouse and lighthouses built by John Donohoo
The Battery Island Lighthouse, also known as Fishing Battery, Shad Battery, was originally used as a fishing depot. It was built in 1853 on a remote island about 3 miles south of the town of Havre de Grace, Maryland.
The Poole's Island Lighthouse was built in 1825 by John Donohoo. It was restored in 1996. Presently it is owned by the US Army and not open to the public. It is located on restricted federal property.
Turkey Point Lighthouse
Situated on a cliff at the confluence of the North East and the Elk Rivers, overlooking The Chesapeake Bay. Built in 1833 by John Donohoo, it's located in the Elk Neck State Park in Cecil County, Maryland.
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