CHC Cruise Facts – Fishing Battery

  1. A one acre, manmade island 2.5 miles south of Havre de Grace built by Robert Gale and John Donahoo in the early 1800s for the cutting, salting and packing of shad.
  1. It has also been called Edmondson’s Island (after an early owner) and Shad Battery, and Battery Island.
  1. Maryland Lighthouse Board bought a piece of the island in 1852 for $10 to build a lighthouse. John Donahoo won a contract to build the lighthouse which was in operation until 1921
  1. The lighthouse was replaced with a 38 foot beacon tower and automated in 1921.
  1. Island was also used by the Maryland Bureau of Fisheries as a shad hatchery in the mid to late 1800s.
  1. The Bureau of Fisheries actually purchase the island for $1500 in 1891.
  1. The U.S. Department of the Interior took over the island in 1942.
  1. Fishing Battery Island is now part of the Susquehanna Wildlife Refuge and is off limits to the public.
  1. Two additional islands just to the west of Fishing Battery were created from dredge spoil.
  1. In the 1990s the Battery Island Preservation Society was formed as a grassroots organization to restore the island and its structures.  The efforts never got off the ground due to financial and bureaucratic issues. 

Note: These “CHC Cruise Facts” were extracted from William B. Cronin’s book, The Disappearing Islands of the Chesapeake, published by The Johns Hopkins University Press in 2005 (ISBN: 0-8018-7435-I).  CHC volunteers are encouraged read more about Garrett Island by purchasing this book or checking it out at a local library.