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Hooper Island Light

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Location 4 mi west of Middle Hooper Island in the Chesapeake Bay
Coordinates 38°15′22.5″N 76°14′59.3″W / 38.256250°N 76.249806°W / 38.256250; -76.249806
Year first constructed 1902
Year first lit 1902
Automated 1961
Foundation Pneumatic caisson
Construction iron
Tower shape round "sparkplug" tower
Markings / pattern White on brown base
Focal height 63 feet (19 m)
Original lens fourth-order Fresnel lens
Current lens solar-powered
Range 9 nautical miles (17 km; 10 mi)
Characteristic Flashing White, 6 seconds
Fog signal Horn, 1 every 30 seconds Operated continuously from Sept. 15 to June 1
Admiralty number J2080
ARLHS number USA-377
USCG number 2-7590

The Hooper Island Light is a lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay, west of Middle Hooper Island in Maryland.


The initial request of a light at this site was made in 1897, but construction was delayed until 1901 after the Variety Iron Works Company failed to deliver materials in time. Unlike earlier caisson lights in the bay, the foundation was placed using the pneumatic process, in which the caisson is kept under pressure to expel water, and the interior is excavated to bring the cylinder down to the desired depth.

The tower is taller than other Maryland sparkplug lights because of the provision for a watch room as well as a lantern atop the tower, the only example in the state. A fog bell was originally housed on the lower gallery but was later moved to the watch room level, a backup to the fog horn added in the 1930s. The characteristic was changed several times through the years, with different patterns of flashes and eclipses.

Along with many other Chesapeake Bay lights, automation came in the early 1960s. In 1976 the original fourth-order Fresnel lens was stolen, and it was replaced with a solar-power lamp.

The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 2, 2002 as Hooper Island Light Station. The structure was officially turned over to the U.S. Lighthouse Society in June 2009, but the light remains active.

  • Hooper Island Light Station, Dorchester County, including photo from 1991, at Maryland Historical Trust
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