Turkey Point Lighthouse. Elk Neck State Park, MD.
Originally built to work in concert with the Concord Point and Pooles Island lighthouses, the tower situated on the high bluffs of Turkey Point commenced operation in 1833. Two years previously, Congress had appropriated the sum of $5,000 for the lighthouse, dwelling, and a four-acre tract. John Donahoo brought the project in under budget, completing both the beacon and the squat keeper’s building for only $4,355. Although only 35 feet in stature, the Turkey Point Lighthouse has a focal plane of 129 feet above mean high tide. Of all the lighthouses on the Chesapeake Bay, only the tall towers at Cape Henry and Cape Charles have a higher focal plane.
The bluffs at the point are visible for several miles from the Bay, and have been a notable landmark since colonial days. Captain John Smith even mentioned them during his first journey into the Chesapeake during the early 1600s. When the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal began operations in 1829, Turkey Point Lighthouse became even more important for mariners as it marked the course change from the Bay to the Elk River, which, in turn, leads to the C&D Canal.
Turkey Point Lighthouse has been distinguished by a number of long tenured female keepers. The first of these was Elizabeth Lusby, who took over for her husband Robert after his 1844 death and served until 1861. Rebecca L. Crouch similarly replaced her deceased husband as keeper; her term of service lasted from 1873 to 1895. Rebecca’s daughter, Georgiana S. Brumfield, moved to the station with her parents at the age of sixteen, and kept the light for 24 years after her mother’s passing, spending a total of 54 years at Turkey Point.
In April 2000 the lighthouse was decommissioned and stewardship of the property was turned over to the non-profit Turkey Point Light Station (TPLS) Inc.
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