This is a press release from the State of MD and contains inaccuracies about the history of the lighthouse.   The lighthouse was built in 1830 (not 1832); relatives of the Yeatman family have documentation that indicates the smoke house was built in the early 1900s by a member of their family and was NOT built during the Civil War.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE             CONTACT: Michelle Byrnie
                                                                                       Raquel Guillory
                                                                                      Governor’s Press Office
                                                                                      (410) 974-2316
                                                                                      Dorcas Coleman
                                                                                      Dept. of Natural Resources
                                                                                      (410) 260-8002





Purchase of the St. Mary’s landmark will expand recreational and educational opportunities at Point Lookout State Park

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 22, 2002) – In an effort to help promote deeper understanding and protection of an historic cultural resource, Governor Parris N. Glendening announced today’s Board of Public Works approval of $450,000 in funding for the purchase of the celebrated Point Lookout Lighthouse at Point Lookout State Park in St. Mary’s County. The funds are committed to the counties through Program Open Space (POS), administered by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

"St. Mary’s County plays an extremely important role in the history of the Great State of Maryland," said Governor Glendening. "The funding being dedicated today for the Point Lookout Lighthouse project will not only be used to rehabilitate this hallowed landmark, but will also expand and enhance the facilities at Point Lookout State Park and enrich public understanding of the role of the Potomac River region in the development of our nation."

As a result of the Board’s decision, $450,000 in POS funding will go toward the transfer of ownership of five acres containing the Point Lookout Lighthouse and its outbuildings from the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Station at Patuxent River to the State of Maryland for use by the DNR. The Navy has determined that the transfer of the property to the State is the most viable option for its preservation and public use as an extension of Point Lookout State Park.

The Point Lookout Lighthouse property played a very important role in the early maritime history of the Potomac River as well as in Maryland’s Civil War history. Built in 1832, the lighthouse served Chesapeake and Potomac-bound vessels until 1965, the facility finally closing a year later after 136 years of service.

Transfer of the lighthouse and its surrounding five acres to the State will lead to the rehabilitation, public use and interpretation of the historic lighthouse and other significant structures on the site. These include a buoy shed constructed in 1883 for the repair and storage of navigation buoys for the middle Chesapeake Bay; a coal shed dating back to 1884, and a smokehouse which some have claimed to be "Spaulding’s Photographic Gallery," the only surviving building from the Point Lookout Civil War Prison and Hospital complex built in 1862-63.

Heritage tourism is very important to the economic future of St. Mary’s County. With St. Clement’s Island Museum, Historic St. Mary’s City, Sotterley Plantation, Greenwell and Point Lookout state parks, the lighthouses on the Potomac River, and numerous other sites and structures listed in the National Register of Historic Places, it is a favored destination for visitors from Maryland and the nation. Today’s transaction will allow for the integration of the Point Lookout Lighthouse structures into public tours and interpretive programs of the County’s historic sites, including those at Point Lookout State Park and along the St. Mary’s, Patuxent and Potomac rivers.

DNR’s Program Open Space is a nationally recognized program that provides funding for Maryland’s state and local parks and conservation areas. More than 3,000 county and municipal parks and conservation areas have been built through the program, improving the quality of life for all Marylanders.

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