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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
"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.