In 1873, Congress approved the funds to replace the existing Thomas Point Lighthouse with a screw-pile type of structure. By 1964 it was the last manned lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay, and it was not until 1986 it was automated. It is currently the last unaltered screw-pile cottage-type lighthouse on its original foundation in the Chesapeake Bay. Through the following years concerns for its preservation brought it a National Register of Historic Places listing in 1975 and National Historic Landmark status in 1999. In 2004, ownership of the lighthouse passed to the city of Annapolis, Maryland, which now maintains the structure in conjunction with Anne Arundel County, Maryland, the Annapolis Maritime Museum, and the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society. The United States Coast Guard continues to maintain the navigational aids.
The Annapolis Woodworkers Guild involvement with the Thomas Point Shoals Lighthouse began in 2016 when the lighthouse was vandalized. Vandals broke into the lighthouse and destroying glass, railing pickets and interior damage. Will Hottle, the Guild president at the time, contacted the US Lighthouse Society and offered the Guild’s assistance to repair damage. He was told the vandalism damage repairs were already underway, but there were other issues at the lighthouse that the Guild could address. An inspection tour to the lighthouse was arranged for interested Guild members. They found significant exterior weather related damage.
It was agreed that the primary task for the Guild was to fix/replace the rotted siding, wood trim, windows, shutters, etc.
On May 19, 2017 Guild members Bernie Lammers, Virgil Ramey, and Jim Church began the repair work to the lighthouse. Since then they have been joined by Guild members Jim Francis, Bruce Morris, Lon Slepicka, and Paul Hansen.
All volunteers must take a 20-30 minute boat ride with their tools to work on the lighthouse. Of course, a work day depends very much on the weather. To facilitate the logistics of carrying power tools on each trip to the Light House, Bernie Lammers, got a $2500 grant to buy the necessary power tools which could be left on site.
The agreed upon method for most repair was to use a Dutchman approach for the smaller rotted areas. The decayed material must first be removed and then a liquid stabilizer is applied followed with epoxy for the repair. The Abattron Product for such repairs was considered the best after several types were considered. For the much larger type of repair, solid wood was machined to replace the removed wood. Mahogany wood of choice for such repair.
As of 2018, much repair work has been accomplished, however, there is still work to be done. Work will resume in the spring of 2019.