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C HESAPEAKE CLA SSIC

Bloody Point Bar Lighthouse by J. Cassin Sutor

J

ust off the southern tip of Kent Island, Chesapeake sailors have seen the torched and hollow frame of the Bloody Point Bar Lighthouse. Built in 1882, the 37-foot tall lighthouse standing in seven feet of water warned sailors and mariners of the nearby shoals off Poplar Island that borders one of the Chesapeake’s deepest shipping channels. Erected in 1882 with a $25,000 budget, the architect was Thomas Evans, and the project was conceived in an ironworks on Sharps Island. The lantern first shone from its caisson on October 1, 1882. The lighthouse earned its gruesome moniker through legend. Many years before the construction of the lighthouse, a group of Native Americans were said to have been invited to join colonists at the point under friendly pretense only to be slaughtered. Other local lore indicates that a villainous French pirate was hung there, deeming the point “Bloody Point.” In 1899, the lighthouse underwent standard maintenance renovations replacing the fog bell, pipes for water tanks, and other miscellany. The light went practically untouched until 1960, when a dramatic fire broke out. Two young Coast Guardsmen were on duty, and they fought the flames until they realized it was futile. They abandoned the station, fearing that the flames would soon reach the 500-gallon fuel tank. A Coast Guard cutter and two other boats worked to extinguish the fire for more than six hours, but the lighthouse was destroyed. The damage from the fire, coupled with resulting corrosion, water damage, and cracks from frozen

130 April 2014 SpinSheet

##Bloody Point Bar Lighthouse in 1885. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard

water in the caisson nearly destroyed the lighthouse entirely. In 2006, the lighthouse was purchased at auction by a Nevada-based lawyer. Bidding for the 124-yearold lighthouse started at $5000 and capped out at $100,000. The ultimate buyer, Michael Gabriel, is committed to restoring the light, and is considering installing a brew-

ery by using a desalination process to create water and use the excess for his new microbrew. Gabriel says, “We want to create a unique beer here, and it will be unique—the only one made from seawater.” No name has been announced, but keep an eye out for this brackish brew hopefully entering local restaurants in the coming years.

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