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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Skip Willits, 1991
Craighill Channel Lower Range Rear Light Station
Inventory No.: BA-1550
Date Listed: 12/2/2002
Location: Chesapeake Bay, Edgemere, Baltimore County
Category: Structure
Period/Date of Construction: 1873, 1937
Related Multiple Property Record: Light Stations of the United States
Description: The Craighill Channel Lower Rear Range Light Station consists of a square pyramidal exoskeleton cast-iron tower with a square wooden enclosed stairwell to the lantern room. The keeper's dwelling, removed shortly after automation in 1937, was a 1 1/2-story, mansard roofed, square wooden structure located at the base of the tower and built on the lighthouse's nine granite foundation piers. It had four windows on each side including the south side that also had a door. All these openings featured pedimented window heads and surrounds. On the mansard roof, were two gable-roofed dormer windows on each side. The dwelling had horizontal wooden siding and was surrounded by a wooden gallery balustrade. The wooden tower is covered with corrugated metal sheets. The metal sheet siding is continuous to the base of the tower indicating it was applied at the same time, or shortly after, the dwelling was torn down. A lantern room surmounts the top of the tower. From each of the four corner piers, an iron exoskeleton pyramidal column provides support to the inner wooden tower. The lower approximate 1/3 of the tower, where the keeper's quarters were located, was painted white, and the remaining upper portion of the tower was painted brown. The range light is a classic Fresnel lens in poor condition. The bull's-eye center has been replaced with a PYREX 7 marked "MADE IN (next area chipped out) 10" D. X 6 F.S.O." The brass frame of the lens is marked "HENRY - LEPAUTE a PARIS." The Craighill Channel Lower Range Rear Lighthouse is located in 2 to 3 feet of water, marking the south entrance to Craighill Channel, near the southerly end of Hart Island, northern Chesapeake Bay, western shore, near Edgemere. The lower range front light, which works in association with the rear light, is located 2.4 miles south. Owned and managed by the U.S. Coast Guard in District 5, access to the station is via boat. Significance: The Craighill Channel Lower Range Rear Light Station is significant for its association with federal governmental efforts to provide an integrated system of navigational aids and to provide for safe maritime transportation in the Chesapeake Bay, a major transportation corridor for commercial traffic from the early nineteenth through twentieth centuries. Built using an exoskeletal tower design, the tower embodies a distinctive method of construction unusual for the upper Chesapeake Bay. This type of offshore exoskeletal lighthouse tower was usually built in coastal regions where soft sand or coral required this technology. The only other skeletal lighthouses in the region using this technique are on shore; these include Cape Charles Lighthouse, Virginia, and a few range lights along the Delaware River in Delaware and New Jersey. The Craighill Channel Lower Range Rear Lighthouse is an early combination wooden tower with metal exoskeleton support. The tower contains a large percentage of original material. Most of the wood and all the metal framing material appears to date from its original construction and 1884, 1888, and 1897 alterations.


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