In the mid-1880's, Congress authorized funding for
the dredging of channels into Baltimore. Two lights -
Leading Point and Hawkins Point, were built as a set
of range lights to mark the Brewerton Channel, on the
south side of the Patapsco River. The range lights
cross Thomas Cove, near what is now Fort Armistead Park.
The channel was named
for Henry Brewerton, a Civil War era engineer responsible
for defenses in Baltimore and Point Lookout. The lights
were referred to as the Brewerton Range lights in 1915
when a single keeper, William Raabe,
took responsibility for both lights.
The two lights were first lit on November 1, 1868.
Hawkins Point light, the front light, sat on a screwpile
foundation. It exhibited two lights at 28 and 70 feet above
ordinary tide. The upper light was exhibited from a tower
built atop the lighthouse. The tower was removed in the 1900's.
Leading Point light, the rear light, was a brick building with
a lantern room and unique large black ball on which served as a day mark.
When a vessel approached the channel on the correct course,
the lights would line up with one another.
In 1886, Thomas C. Chappell, owner of Hawkins Point Farm,
requested that Hawkins Point be torn down, as it
interfered with his plans for developing the area.
The new structures would render the Brewerton Range lights
ineffective. When the government tried to buy the property,
the purchase price was far higher than the government would
pay. The case went to court, and the court ruled in favor
of the government.
In 1924, two lights were replaced by skeleton towers.
the skeleton tower at Hawkins Point was built on the foundation of the
original screwpile. The skeleton towers are still active today.
Forgotten Beacons, Hornberger and Turbyville pp. 50-51
The Lighthouses of the Chesapeake, de Gast p. 160
Lighting the Bay: Tales of Chesapeake Lighthouses, Vojtech pp. 76, 78, 170