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Recreation and Parks - Museum Division


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The Piney Point Lighthouse,
Museum
and Historic Park

The Piney Point Lighthouse Museum is a white two-story structure on the north campus of the park and houses museum exhibits, the Lighthouse Lens Museum Store and offers restrooms and visitor information. Guests are encouraged to begin their visitor experience at the museum where you can sign in, pay admission, and obtain a tour guide who will then provide escort to the Potomac River Maritime Exhibit on the north campus and the lighthouse and keeper's quarters on the south campus.  Those who desire to climb to the top of the lighthouse must be accompanied by a staff person or volunteer.

Museum exhibits focus on the construction and operation of the  lighthouse, lighthouse keepers, the role of the United States Coast Guard, and the story of the Black Panther U-1105 German submarine sunk in the Potomac that now serves as Maryland's first historic shipwreck dive preserve.


Lighthouse Lens Museum Store 
The museum store offers an array of Piney Point Lighthouse souvenirs, nautical gifts, books, jewelry, clothing, children's corner and more! The store is operated by the Friends of the St. Clement's Island and Piney Point Museums with proceeds returning to support museum programs, projects and exhibits. The Lighthouse Lens is your destination for unique quality gifts. And for the "one who has everything," consider a gift membership to The Friends! Museum members receive a 10% discount on store purchases.
 
The Potomac River Maritime Exhibit
Also located on the northern campus is the building that houses the collection of four historic wooden vessels on loan from the Paul Hall School of Maritime Training and Education. The collection is comprised of a 67-foot skipjack (Joy Parks), an 84-foot bugeye (Dorothy A. Parsons), a log canoe, and Potomac River dory boat. The exhibit focuses on the life of the watermen who sustained a livelihood working the waters of the Potomac for crabs, fish and oysters.

Piney Point Lighthouse Park and Pier

Come by boat! The Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park is also accessible by boat. The pier connects to the boardwalk that surrounds the lighthouse and picnic area. The scenic riverside venue of the lighthouse offers guests an aesthetic panorama and serene escape with comfortable benches and picnic tables to accommodate an extended visit.
For those coming by land, bring a picnic lunch or dinner and enjoy the shaded picnic area near the lighthouse. The beautiful new sidewalks and boardwalk make the south campus area handicap accessible. The pier offers a beautiful view of the Piney Point and St. George Island areas.
This site is available for rental for special events. Contact the site supervisor at 301-994-1471 for more information.

The park also offers a kayak launch located on the north campus next to the Potomac River Maritime Exhibit. It rest on the serene waters of the Piney Point Creek and paddlers are invited to discover this lovely Potomac River tributary. Launch is open during staffed hours of operation.
Piney Point Lighthouse
“The Lighthouse of Presidents”
 
Built in 1836, the Piney Point Lighthouse and keeper’s quarters are located 14 miles up the Potomac River from the Chesapeake Bay.  This beacon stands preserved today as a witness to a bygone era of high society entertaining American Presidents such as James Monroe, Franklin Pierce, Theodore Roosevelt and other notables including American statesman Daniel Webster, American Vice President John C. Calhoun,  and later, the inimitable singer Kate Smith.
The lighthouse and keeper’s quarters were built by master lighthouse builder, John Donahoo for the contracted price of $3,888.  The circular tower stands 35 feet tall from its base to the coping and the walls are 3 feet 10 inches thick at the base and 2 feet 3 inches at the parapet.  This lighthouse was the tenth of the 12 lighthouses built by Donahoo in his lifetime.

Time and tide had taken its toll by the time preservation efforts of the Piney Point lighthouse began in earnest in 1990 by the Museum Division of St. Mary's County Department of Recreation and Parks. The lighthouse was restored and the outbuildings were renovated and preservation efforts remain ongoing. The lighthouse tower is open for climbing during visitor museum hours of operation and offers a stunning view of the Potomac River and the Piney Point area.

HOURS OF OPERATION

March 25 to September 30
Open daily: 10 am to 5 pm

October through December
Friday to Monday: 12 noon to 4 pm
Call for extended holiday schedule in December

January through March 24
Museum closed to the public. Guided tours and bus tours available by pre-arrangement with site supervisor: April Havens (301-994-1471)

Museum Closed: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day

  • Admission: $7.00 adults, $3.50 senior citizens and military personnel, students: FREE for children 5 and under. Admission includes a guided tour of the museum, Potomac River Maritime Exhibit, and lighthouse tower on the south campus.
  • Large group/student/bus tours welcome! Pre-arranged group tour rates for 20 or more: $3.50 per adult, $2 per student/senior citizen/military persons. To pre-arrange a tour, contact site Supervisor April Havens, april.havens@stmarysmd.com or 301-994-1471.
  • The Piney Point Lighthouse, Museum and Historic Park is available for site rental for weddings, picnics, etc. Contact the site Supervisor for fees, policies, and reservations.
  • Pier and docking facilities
  • Kayak launch available during staffed hours.
  • Museum, maritime exhibit, board walk, pier are handicap accessible.
  • Grounds open sunrise to sunset, year round.

Piney Point Lighthouse
Museum & Historic Park
44720 Lighthouse Road
Piney Point, Maryland 20674

Map  
301-994-1471 
 301-994-1918 FAX

Directions
Street Sign
From Baltimore/Washington, D.C.:
 
Take 495/95 to exit 7a (Route 5 south to Waldorf).  Follow Route 5 south through Leonardtown to Callaway.  Turn right on Route 249.  Drive 9 miles to Piney Point making a right onto Lighthouse Road to the end.

From Virginia: 

Take State Route 301 to 234 east to Leonardtown. Turn right on Route 5 South through Leonardtown to Callaway.  Turn right on Route 249.  Drive 9 miles to Piney Point making a right onto Lighthouse Road to the end.

Map

Time and tide had taken its toll by the time preservation efforts of the Piney Point Lighthouse began in earnest in 1990 by the Museum Division of St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks.  The Lighthouse was restored and the outbuildings were renovated.  The Keeper’s Quarters are a private residence for security and grounds keeping purposes.  The recently restored tower steps allow visitors a bird's-eye view of the area at the Annual Piney Point Celebration in May. The lighthouse tower is open for climbing during visitor museum hours of operation.

Lighthouse Keepers

  • 1836 Philip Clark

  • 1873 Elizabeth Wilson

  • 1840 Henry C. Heard

  • 1877 Helen Tune

  • 1845 Charlotte Suter

  • 1883 Thomas W. Costin

  • 1846 William B. Taylor

  • 1910 George Costin

  • 1849 John N. Nuthall

  • 1910 William Slacum

  • 1850 Martha Nuthall

  • 1911 Loch Humphries

  • 1861 Robert Marshall

  • 1919 William Yeatman

  • 1865 Henry Steinhise

  • 1931 William Goeshy
  • 1869 Noah Wilson

 

 

 

 

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