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Choptank River Light facts for kids

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Choptank River Light
Choptank light 2.PNG
Undated photograph of Choptank River Light, Maryland (USCG)
Choptank River Light is located in Maryland
Choptank River Light
Choptank River Light
Location in Maryland
Choptank River Light is located in the United States
Choptank River Light
Choptank River Light
Location in the United States
Location southeast of Bernoni Point at the mouth of the Tred Avon River, SE of Oxford, Maryland
Coordinates 38°39′20″N 76°11′08″W / 38.6555°N 76.1855°W / 38.6555; -76.1855
Year first lit 1871 (second light in 1921)
Deactivated 1964
Foundation screw-pile
Construction cast-iron/wood
Tower shape hexagonal house
Original lens sixth-order Fresnel lens (replaced with fifth-order lens in 1881)

The Choptank River Light was a screw-pile lighthouse located near Oxford, Maryland. In its second incarnation it was the only such light moved from another location in the Chesapeake Bay.


The first light at this location was built in 1871 by Francis A. Gibbons, replacing a lightship which was stationed there the previous year. A ten pile arrangement similar to that of the York Spit Light in Virginia was used. Initially equipped with a sixth-order Fresnel lens, it was upgraded to a fifth order lens in 1881 after ice piled up around the foundation and disturbed some of the outer piles, tilting the house slightly. A second ice flow in 1918 piled up 30 feet (9.1 m), knocking the house from the piles and destroying it.

Although consideration was given to using a caisson structure, it was decided instead to reuse the house from the Cherrystone Bar Light, which had been deactivated in 1919. This was moved by barge and placed on a new six pile foundation in 1921, making the new light the only working lighthouse to be moved from one location to another in the bay. This light lasted until 1964, when the house was dismantled as part of the general program of eliminating such lights; a skeleton tower on the old piles replaced it.

A replica of the second Choptank River Lighthouse was built on the waterfront in Cambridge, Maryland and is open for tours. It was dedicated September 22, 2012.

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