Friends of Point Lookout is a 501(c)3 volunteer organization established in 1985. It’s focus is on preserving and presenting this site in it’s original historical context. Through living histories and presentations throughout the year, it’s maintains the grounds of one of the only remaining earthen- walled Civil War fortifications remaining in Maryland. Point Lookout sponsors historic programs and demonstrations throughout the year. Contact the park for a current schedule of historic programs. Popular annual festivities include: April-- Park Days -- Join the Friends of Point Lookout as they work to maintain one of the only remaining earthen-walled Civil War fortifications remaining in Maryland. June-- Blue and Gray Days -- Featuring artillery and infantry demonstrations, dress parade and evening programs in Civil War Fort #3. September-- Artillery Weekend -- Living history volunteers show the different styles of artillery that were used during the Civil War. October-- Invasion of Point Lookout -- Living history volunteers will shed light on Point Lookout’s importance during the War of 1812. Artillery and infantry demonstrations will take place throughout the event. Those who would like to donate or join Friends of Point Lookout can Contact Bob Crickenberger at: 3448 Brookside Dr Chesapeake Beach, MD 20732 FEIN: 52-1841294 The Reconstruction and Preservation of Civil War Point Lookout (Parts of this article are excerpted from the forthcoming book, “If It Were Not for Hope...The Civil War Prison Camp at Point Lookout, Maryland,” (unedited) by Robert E. Crickenberger). The last official owner of the 400 acres of the Point Lookout peninsula, the Point Lookout Grand Hotel Company, would sell a majority of what it owned at Point Lookout, to the State of Maryland in 1965. The State of Maryland purchased the property with the intent of creating a new recreational state park in southern Maryland. The Hotel Company retained seventeen acres for its hotel and resort on the Chesapeake Bay side of the Point. The purchase did not include the acre or two on the southern tip of Point Lookout where the lighthouse and the Naval Station were located at the time of the deal. The   new   stewards   of   this   property,   the   Maryland   Park   Service,   initiated   a   Master   Plan   in   1966 outlining   a   massive   project   to   create   an   environmentally   friendly   park   that   would   include   public   picnic areas,    a    boat    launch,    playgrounds,    and    public campground.   It   also   included   the   use   of   the   acres of   beaches   afforded   by   both   the   Chesapeake   Bay and   Potomac   River   shorelines;   much   like   the   first recreation-seeking         vacationers         had         for generations.   It   was   noted   that   the   newly   acquired ground   also   included   an   area   that   was   once   used as    a    prison    for    Confederate    prisoners    of    war captured   during   the   Civil   War. The   plan   stated   that there   would   be   no   need   to   preserve   or   interpret the    site    as    there    was    a    National    Cemetery maintained   by   the   federal   government   outside   the immediate    borders    of    the    park.    Therefore,    no plans   were   made   by   state   park   officials   to   conduct any   preservation   projects.   There   was   no   mention of   the   earthen   fort   located   on   the   Potomac   River shoreline   as   the   state   did   not   receive   possession of this designated acre and a half, until 1967. While on a visit to the park in 1977, the park manager gave this author an extensive tour of the two major historical sites that included the heavily overgrown earthen fort and the prison site. As the Master Plan did not include the fort site in its description of the park, I asked the manager if there were any plans by the park service at that time to restore the fort or to identify the prison site. He stated that in accordance with the Master Plan, there were still no plans outlined or budget provided, to interpret or preserve any of the historical sites within the park property. However, he did explain that if the sites were to be preserved, it would have to be accomplished, by donated, volunteer labor. Accepting his implied invitation, I began as an official volunteer for the Maryland Park Service during the early months of 1978. Since the time of its acquisition by the State of Maryland, efforts, and activities by various volunteer groups such as the Youth Conservation Corps, area Boy Scout troops, Frederick Community College Vocational School, the Friends of Point Lookout, and the staff of Point Lookout State Park, have performed extensive preservation and reconstruction projects on these two significant sites. This effort has also included the interpretation of what remains of the prison site, also known as Camp Hoffman, during the war. Their volunteer efforts had their desired effect on the Maryland Park Service and the visiting public. A renewed Master Plan for the Land Unit at Point Lookout was published by the park service in 1996. In the narrative, the efforts of these volunteer groups was recognized by the park service as a vital resource to the State government and its citizens. As soon as the property that contained the historic earthen fort had become part of the park two years after the State acquired the property, volunteer groups began to clear the fort of debris and overgrowth. Their efforts have successfully returned Redoubt No.3 and its reconstructed buildings to their war-time appearances utilizing the plans drawn by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers during the Civil War. Historic living history programs continue to be performed by volunteers bringing attention to the historic site. The park service has since found that both the prison site and the fort to be integral parts of the history of St. Mary’s County and the State of Maryland. In 2022, the Friends of Point Lookout had provided funding for the creation and installation of eight new interpretive signs throughout the park involving the interpretation of Point Lookout during the Civil War, the modern-day hotel, and a significant moment in Black History. During the recent years of 2023 and 2024, the Friends of Point Lookout, in partnership with the Maryland Park Service, with a grant provided by the Maryland Historical Trust, have begun to replace the constructed southwest corner of the prison stockade. This recent work includes the creation and installation of ten new additional Civil War interpretive signs and one environmental sign within the park boundaries. The Friends of Point Lookout continue today providing living history programs providing support and maintenance of the historic sites and structures of Point Lookout.
Point Lookout Prison Camp   “If It Were Not For Hope,  How Could We Live In A Place Like This?”  The Civil War Prison Camp at Point Lookout, Maryland July 1863 – August 1865  New Book by Robert E. Crickenberger, Jr.
Friends of Point Lookout, Inc.
Point Lookout Reconstructed Prison Gate Officer Quarters Inside Point Lookout reconstructed barracks and officers building View ofthe beach behind the Office Quarters Fort Parade Ground with Cannon and flag pole Gate into the Fort New Signage at Point Lookout Union Veteran Reserve Corp Prison Guards Inside the recontructed NCO and Enlisted barracks Original plans of the defences of the fort Point Lookout Entrance New signage in front of the fort at Point Lookout Bridge into Point Lookout Camp
Click on photos to enlarge
Volunteers posing for a photo Volunteers fix redoubt of The Fort Parade Ground Inside the Restored Fort at Point Lookout Volunteers hang Camp Entrance sign Volunteers install new interpetive signs Original Plans for the enlisted barracks
Redoubt #3 Panel outside the fort Confederate Prisoner Bob Crickenberger with Federal Guards by Cannon Spring Repairs and Maintenance 2024 Spring Repairs and Maintenance 2024 Spring Repairs and Maintenance 2024
Copyright © 2024 Robert E Crickenberger