To view the 1833 to 1990 history of the Turkey Point Light Station in pictures select: TPLS History In Pictures


To view the pictures from 1991 to today for the Turkey Point Light Station select: TPLS Recent History In Pictures


To view the the important dates in the life of the United States Lighthouse Service: TPLS Important Dates in Time

Listed here are the important dates for the Turkey Point Lighthouse.                       

1831 - 31 March Congress appropriated $5,000 to “enable the Secretary of the Treasury to provide, by contract, for building a light-house on or near Turkey Point, at the mouth of Elk River,”

1832 - 26 December purchased 4 acre lot on Turkey Point Bluff.


1833 - Thirty-five foot masonry tower and wooden keeper's quarters built by John Donahoo on 100-foot bluff overlooking the Elk and North East Rivers. The cost of originally constructing both the keeper's house and the lighthouse was $4,355. When the lighthouse was built in 1833, a visitor would find the lighthouse, keeper's house, a boat landing, a stable, a wood shed, and a smoke house.


1833 August – 1841 - Head Keeper: Robert C. Lusby


1841 – 1843 - Head Keeper: John C. Waters


1843 – 1844 - Head Keeper: Robert C. Lusby


1844 – 1862 - Head Keeper: Elizabeth Lusby took over for her husband when he past


1855 - Fourth-order Fresnel lens with a single lamp was installed.


1861 - The District Engineer had built “250 yards of new fencing (white picket) at Turkey Point light station” to keep cattle from invading the lighthouse yard & garden. This protected about four acres of ground.


1862 – 1865 - Head Keeper: Edward Cloman


1865 – 1873 - Head Keeper: John M. Crouch


1867 - The lantern was completely refitted and designed to properly display the Fresnel lens


1873 – 1895 - Head Keeper: Rebecca L. Crouch Took over from husband when he pasted


1888 – In April a fog-bell room erected. At the same time the fencing was thoroughly repaired and about 180 linear feet of plank       walkway was laid from tower to new fog-bell room.


1889 - Extensive improvements were made on the keeper's quarters including raising the roof one story providing an additional "four habitable rooms," and adding a new front porch.


1895 – 1919 - Head Keeper: Georgiana S. Brumfield took over for her mother Rebecca Crouch when she pasted.


1895 - Wire rope was renewed for the fog bell striking machinery; the stable, wood shed, and the smokehouse were rebuilt; and 900 feet of fencing was renewed.


1897 - The "back building used as a kitchen" was torn down and a new one with a porch and pantry built. Two old brick pavements were re-laid and a new one added. A 3-inch-plank walk 240 feet long was also built.


1899 - A "new model fourth-order lamp" was installed, the fog bell hammer adjusted, and a new spring for the striking mechanism installed.


1913 - Concrete oil house was erected with a 275 gallon black kerosene tank on the west side of it.


1919 – 1922 Head Keeper: Caleb B. Stowe


1921- Caleb Stowe noticed a disabled powerboat with seven men onboard and towed it with the station's boat to Town Point Wharf (east side of Elk River the Lighthouse is on the west side).


1922  - 1925  Head Keeper: Clarence Winfield “Harry” Salter


1923 May - C. W. Salter noticed that a motorboat towing a "Floating Department Store Loaded with Bankrupt Merchandise" valued at $25,000 had become disabled, and the barge was about to be caught in a strong northeast wind. He and his wife took the station's boat and towed the barge to safety under to a point out of the wind.


1925 - 1945 - Head Keeper: Fannie May (Mae) Salter (43 years old) named the official lightkeeper by President Calvin Coolidge, a distinction that no other female lightkeeper can lay claim to, after death of her husband.


1929 - Unspecified repairs were made at Turkey Point Lighthouse due to hurricane damage.


1930 - The property was described as consisting of a lighthouse tower valued at $3,000, a fog signal valued at $225, oil house at $500, storehouse at $230, keeper's quarters at $4,400, and the four acres of property valued at $1,000.


1933 - The oil lamp in the lens was upgraded to an Aladdin incandescent vaporized kerosene lamp. Light Keeper’s house was renovated. Large walnut tree was probably removed at that time. Everything painted white but sheep barn, it was painted gray.


1938 – The originally installed red sector of the lantern room was described as consisting of two pieces of glass, one 17 1/4 inches wide and one 15 5/8 inches wide, both 1/8-inch thick and 35 1/4 inches long. This was to warn ships of approaching shallows. The boat landing had been discontinued by this time.


1940 - New flag pole put up. Scrawled in script into the cement of the flag pole foundation before it hardened is the name "Fannie M Salter " on the west side and "August 19, 1940" on the east side.


1942/3 - World War II, the fog building was modified into a two-story watch tower, with the watch room accessed by an exterior set of stairs. Chesapeake and Delaware Canal became an important inland shipping corridor due to the threat of submarine warfare off the Atlantic. Because of this increased shipping, the Turkey Point Lighthouse became an especially important aid to navigation, and a detachment of Coast Guard personnel were assigned to the station as a precaution against saboteurs


1942/3 - Electicity was installed at Turkey Point. The lighthouse was electrified and an electric fog horn and radio telephone were installed. A 100-watt bulb in combination with the lens produced 680 candlepower of light. This meant all the keeper had to do was flip a switch at the end of each day. The Keeper still had to clean the lens and windows of the lantern room.


1947 – August- Fannie Mae Salter retires at age 65 after 22 years of service in August and light fully automated. Automation forced the closure of most stations, ending lighthouse keeping all together. The last manned station to automate was Little Brewster Island in 1998.


1948 - The light was changed to a white light that flashed every 6 seconds.


1950 - 1972 - There was a lot of vandalism done to all the buildings at the station to include the lens being stolen.


1971 – Bell Watchtower was removed by US Coast Guard


1972 - When the original Fresnel lens was stolen, and later recovered, the lighthouse stairs were taken out by the Coast Guard, and replaced with a set of metal ladders. The Fresnel lens was replaced by an acrylic lamp. The tower’s brick floor as covered by poured concrete, the lower window sealed off, and a steel door was put in place to seal the only entrance to the tower to prevent any further vandalism. The Keepers’ house and out buildings were torn down by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.


1979 – The light is shot out and replaced by a solar powered 250mrn acrylic lens by the US Coast Guard.


1990 - Trees and brush had grown around the lighthouse partially blocking the visibility of the red sector. US Coast Guard and Maryland Department of Natural Resources personnel used a bulldozer, chain saws, and clippers to clear an eight acre area around the lighthouse.


1993 - The North East Maryland's Lion's Club and the US Coast Guard paint the Turkey Point Lighthouse tower.


1995 - Turkey Point Light Station, Inc. (TPLS) a non-profit was established to restore the light station to its original condition.


1997 - Clint Eastwood’s movie “Absolute Power” has several scenes filmed on site.


1999 - TPLS paints the Tower


2000 - US Coast Guard decommissions light.


2001 - The lighthouse was leased to the non-profit Turkey Point Light Station Inc. The organization seeks to have the light reactivated and certified by the US Coast Guard as a private aid to navigation.


2002 - November 30 the light is reactivated by TPLS and serves as private aid to navigation to this day.            


2002 - December 2 the Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places


2006 - Ownership of Turkey Point light tower and facilities are transferred to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Elk Neck State Park.


2006 - TPLS signs renewable 30-year lease as Chief Operations Agent to maintain lighthouse and begins to raise funds to rebuild the Keeper’s house, wagon shed, bell house, ect.


2006 - TPLS restored the brick floor in lighthouse.


2007 – TPLS had a new wooden staircase made of white oak (MD State tree), as per original specifications, to replace the aluminum ladders. They contracted with Ross Gibson to reconstruct the steps and ladder so that visitors could access the Lantern Room and enjoy the beautiful view of the Chesapeake Bay. Mr. Gibson and his expert workers used historically accurate methods and materials. Reconstructing the stairs was a three-month process, and cost the organization about $49,000.


2007 – TPLS purchased and installed a gift shop.  This was necessary because it was unable to continue the gift shop in the lighthouse due to the construction of the new stairs and ladder. Merchandise expanded to include cold water, sodas and snacks for visitors on hot summer days.


2008 - New Flagpole erected by TPLS.


2010 – TPLS replaced three quarters of the original sidewalks around the station.


2011 - TPLS Installed pervious pavers outside the Lighthouse and Oil House doors so that visitors did not have to deal with the dust and mud.


2012 – TPLS contracted with Ross Gibson to combat the problem of moisture in the Lighthouse. The base of the outside walls was dug out and sealed with a special clay like soil     and the stairs were treated with a protectant. Also installed equipment to constantly monitor   the moisture levels.


2013 - TPLS had the exterior catwalk, railings and the inside of the Lantern Room painted along with the Lighthouse door.


2019 – TPLS restored the Kerosene tank and platform.


More to come!


Our season, this year, will begin May 1st and run thru the end of October. The Lighthouse is open to climbers on weekends from 10AM to 2PM (weather permitting). The gift shop is open from 10AM to 2PM. There is no charge to view the Chesapeake Bay from our lantern room. The staircase in the lighthouse is open to climbers who can reach the metal handrail. Donations are gratefully accepted.

Please note that our hours of operation are dependent upon weather conditions and the availability of volunteers