BNHA Seven-Foot Knoll Lighthouse


Chesapeake Bay Gateway

National Register of Historic Places

Interpretive Framework

Seeking Prosperity on the Chesapeake: Baltimore History from Colonial Times through the 1800s

Shaping a Monumental City: The City’s Growth in the 20th Century

Resource Type

Points of Interest

Harbor Bridge Walk & Pier 3

Baltimore, Maryland 21202

For 133 years, the Seven-Foot Knoll Lighthouse and its beacon marked dangerous shoals at the mouth of the Patapsco River, about 12 miles downstream from its present location in the Inner Harbor.  In 1933, the lighthouse’s keeper risked his life in heavy seas and winds to rescue five crewmembers of a sinking tugboat in the station's small motor launch. As the oldest surviving Chesapeake Bay screw-pile lighthouse used as an aid to navigation, Seven-Foot Knoll is unique in its round construction built entirely with iron boilerplate and not wood.  (The term “screw-pile” refers to the lighthouse’s cast-iron pilings with corkscrew-like bases, which could be screwed into the soft mud of the sea floor.)  In active use until its move to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in 1988, the Seven-Foot Knoll Lighthouse is a popular addition to Historic Ships in Baltimore maritime museum.