The Choptank River Lighthouse is a replica of a six-sided screwpile lighthouse that guided mariners along the Choptank River for generations. The replica was completed in fall 2012. It's located on the end of Pier A at Long Wharf Park (Water and High Streets) in Cambridge, on Maryland's beautiful Eastern Shore. The lighthouse is normally open to the public for free, self-guided tours daily from 9am-6pm, from May through October. Off-season, visitors can see the lighthouse by appointment by calling 410-463-2653. The lighthouse includes a small museum, with exhibits about the original lighthouse's history and the area's maritime heritage. The City of Cambridge dockmaster's office is also located in the lighthouse.
The lighthouse is just a few blocks from historic downtown Cambridge, with award-winning restaurants, shops, galleries, and museums. Find out more about Downtown Cambridge. The lighthouse is located in Dorchester County, known for its natural beauty, history, and great boating and outdoor recreation opportunities. Find out more about Dorchester County.
Special event rental
Looking for a distinctive and beautiful spot for an upcoming event? The lighthouse is available for special event rentals. What a great space for an event with beautiful water views all around! The lighthouse can accommodate up to 30 people. For details, call 410-228-4031.
History of the Choptank River Lighthouse
The Choptank River Lighthouse once stood between Castle Haven and Benoni Points on the Choptank River, near the mouth of the Tred Avon River. The lighthouse station was established in 1871 by the U.S. Lighthouse Service, a government agency that later became today's U.S. Coast Guard, the service which still manages America's navigational aids. The lighthouse was the only manned lighthouse inside the Choptank River to guide ships to Cambridge, and farther up-river to Secretary and Denton. In the late 1880s and early 1900s, steamboats passed the lighthouse regularly, sailing from Baltimore and stopping at Long Wharf for produce, seafood and passengers. Many older residents of Cambridge remember the pleasant overnight trips to and from Baltimore past the Choptank River lighthouse.
The original lighthouse at the Choptank River Station was built in 1871 at Baltimore's Lazaretto Lighthouse Depot, moved on a barge to the site and loaded onto the iron skeleton legs which were screwed into the substrate of the Choptank River. An ice floe in 1918 demolished this first structure. Instead of building a new structure, the Lighthouse Service elected to move the spare Cherrystone lighthouse, then in storage at Cape Charles, Virginia, to the Choptank River Station. The Cherrystone lighthouse was put in place in 1921 at the Choptank River site, making it the only lighthouse in the Chesapeake that has served two states. The structure, pictured here, stood at the station until 1964, when the house was removed under the Coast Guard's modernization program. Today at the site there's a small flashing light to guide boaters.
The Choptank River lighthouse in the Cambridge marina is a replica of this last lighthouse, utilizing original plans made available by the National Archives. The hexagonal cottage-style house stands on pilings similar to its namesake screwpile network of "legs" on a platform at the end of Pier A at the Cambridge City Marina. The footprint of the structure is 42' from one hex point to the other, and sits on a 60' by 60' platform with an overall height approximately 40'. The lighthouse is visible by water, greeting boating visitors to the marina. It can also be seen from the U.S. Route 50 Choptank River bridge and the nearby city.