2021 55¢ Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses – Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, Maryland
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: August 6, 2021
First Day City: Highlands, NJ
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 40,000,000
Thomas Point Shoal Light is located off the coast of Maryland, in the Chesapeake Bay. It is a screw-pile lighthouse, meaning it is built on metal posts (piles) screwed into the bottom of the bay.
The first lighthouse on Thomas Point was built in 1825 on shore and consisted of a stone tower. It was later replaced in 1838, but did not hold up well against the erosion of the point. In 1873, Congress finally decided a screw-pile light would be a better fit for the region. Thomas Point Shoal Light was built out in the bay in 1875 and lit for the first time that November. The cast iron beams holding up the lighthouse were sunk 12 feet into the bottom of the bay to keep the structure secure.
Being exposed in the bay, the Thomas Point Shoal Light has been subject to much battering over the years. In fact, in 1877, winter ice shook the original lens loose and destroyed it. After the lens was replaced, additional supports were added to the screw-pile foundation, providing more stability. By 1964, it was the last manned lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay. It was automated in 1986.
As of 2021, the Thomas Point Shoal Light was the last unaltered screw-pile cottage-type lighthouse on its original foundation in the Chesapeake Bay. It is a symbol of Maryland and represents its rich history.