Over the past several years Solomons VRSFD has taken great pride in not only creating unique state of the art apparatus but also in capturing the history of Southern Maryland in murals on these vehicles. With Ambulance 39 we complete our ambulance series which displays murals of the three lighthouses of the Patuxent River. Out of the three lighthouses only one remains in the location it was built.
Ambulance 38 features the Drum Point Lighthouse. Built in 1883 was located on the shores of the sandy shoal of Drum Point. After being decommissioned 1962 the lighthouse fell into disrepair and eventually was moved to the Calvert Marine Museum in 1975 where it was renovated and today hosts tours daily. This lighthouse is one of the most unique ones to Maryland due to its screw-pile design. The idea behind the screw-pile design was to allow for a lighthouse to be "screwed" into sandy or muddy sea or river bottoms. These style lighthouses were used in the Chesapeake due to its estuarial soft bottom.
Ambulance 37 features the Cove Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse is the only one at the mouth of the Patuxent River that is still in operation. It was built in 1857 to mark the shoal which was extended out into the shipping channel. In 1986 the lighthouse itself was automated and ownership was transferred ultimately to the Calvert Marine Museum in 2000. Today you can tour the lighthouse and even rent rooms in the keeper's house to stay overnight.
Ambulance 39 features the Cedar Point Lighthouse. In 1896 Cedar Point was approved to be built on a dangerous sand bar at the mouth of the Patuxent River. Because of the currents Cedar Point quickly over the years eroded which was also hastened by local sand dredging. In 1928 the lighthouse was abandoned and in 1981 the bell and cupola where removed. The bell now sits at the entrance to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, the cupola has been preserved and displayed at the Patuxent River Naval Museum, and the suburst pattern of wood slats are on display at the Calvert Marine Museum.
These three lighthouses served as important beacons to the Patuxent River and played a prominent role in our Southern Maryland History. They not only guided our fisherman in and out of the river but also played an important role in naval history where the local shores were utilized to support the amphibious invasion forces during World War II.
As the Solomons Volunteers look forward towards taking delivery of Truck 3 this year we also look forward to the potential of yet another mural showing our pride in our community and its history.