Guiding Light: John Donahoo’s Legacy and the Concord Point Lighthouse

Take a trip back in time to explore the historic Concord Point Lighthouse in Havre de Grace, MD. The second oldest lighthouse in Maryland, this iconic structure has been an integral part of the town since 1827. The lighthouse, at the confluence of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay, watches over sailors navigating the Upper Chesapeake Bay for nearly 150 years. Where once bay schooners and keel boats sailed, now modern recreational sailboats sail past this historic landmark.

The Concord Point Lighthouse takes its name from the street it’s on, Concord Street. After the Revolutionary War, Havre de Grace renamed many of its streets in celebration of the American victory. Concord Street was named for the first American victory of the war, the Battle of Concord in 1775. Thus, the lighthouse became known as the Concord Point Lighthouse.

Whether you enjoy going to wineries, eating ice cream (who doesn’t?) or going hiking, Harford County offers a lot to see and do!

Originally commissioned by Congress to aid navigation, local contractor John Donahoo won the bid to build the lighthouse for $3500. Known for his craftsmanship, Donahoo completed the tower and dwelling in record time. He went on to construct another dozen lighthouses around the Chesapeake Bay.

Throughout the years, the lighthouse has seen its fair share of changes. From whale oil lamps to a fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1854, it has adapted to the evolving needs of maritime navigation. In 1920, automation took over, marking a new era for this beacon of light. Yet, through all the changes, its purpose remained the same.

The Concord Point Lighthouse Preservation Society fully restored the landmark and opened it to the public. Now, visitors can explore the keeper’s house, which serves as a museum. Or, they can climb the 27 granite stairs to the top for panoramic views of the bay. On site volunteers provide visitors the lighthouse’s history and answer questions.

Other John Donahoo Lighthouses

If you enjoy lighthouse trivia, then you’ll appreciate that this isn’t the only Donahoo-constructed lighthouse in Maryland. Donahoo also constructed 11 other lighthouses in Maryland.

Donahoo received training and experience through apprenticeships or practical hands-on work in construction and carpentry. He honed his expertise and experience in building lighthouses through years of practical experience and dedication to his craft. Some of the notable lighthouses he constructed include:

Know Before You Go

There is only on street parking near the lighthouse, but it’s not likely to be hard to find a nearby space. The lightkeeper’s house serves as a museum for the lighthouse and, except for the recreated kitchen, is not set up as a house; only the first floor is open. Over the years, the lightkeeper’s house has been renovated extensively, and little of its original features remain intact.

A pleasant little park surrounds the lighthouse. You can walk out on a pier — if you do, take a minute or two to appreciate the bird carvings!

Getting there: 700 Concord St, Havre de Grace, MD
Hours: April through October, Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Website: Concord Point Lighthouse

Check out other fun things to see and do nearby: