Sandy Point Shoal lies just north of Annapolis. The shoal
extends nearly a mile into the bay. In 1858 the Lighthouse Board
completed a cottage-style lighthouse on the shore of Sandy Point
to mark this navigational hazard. The light housed a fifth-order
Fresnel lens. A fog bell was added in 1863.
The shore light proved ineffective. Vessels that drew more
than 10 feet of water could not pass closer than a mile from
the lighthouse. The small lighthouse and bell were difficult,
if not impossible to see or hear, especially in bad
weather. In 1874 the Lighthouse Board requested $40,000 for
an offshore light. This request was denied by Congress.
After several subsequent requests were denied, $25,000 was
finally appropriated in 1882. Original plans called for a screwpile
design, but after the Sharps Island light was carried off by
ice in 1881, a caisson design was adopted.
Construction began in August 1883, and the light was first displayed
on October 30, 1883. The three-story brick structure housed the
keepers on the first two floors, while the third floor served as a watch
area. An additional floor within the caisson served as a storage area.
In 1890 the light was changed from flashing to fixed. The lighthouse was
also painted, due to deterioration of the brick face.
1890 brought new life to the old shore light. It became
the rear range light in a pair of range lights
assist ships in locating the entrance to the Craighill Channel.
In 1963, the lighthouse was changed from flashing back to fixed, and
was automated. The station was vandalized in June 1979, and the Fresnel
lens smashed. Although the Coast Guard posted a $1250 reward for information
leading to an arrest, no one was ever charged. The lens was replaced by
an acrylic lens.