Anna Weems Ewalt putters around the bedroom where she was born 77 summers ago, plumping the pillows on the oak double bed, smoothing the pillow shams she washed and starched herself, rearranging the braided rugs she purchased for the hundredth birthday party of her birthplace -- the DRUM POINT LIGHTHOUSE. Now part of the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Maryland, the lighthouse is one of several nearby lighthouses open to visitors. "They gave me $200 to fix up the lighthouse for the birthday, and I turned back a dollar and 12 cents," says Ewalt, pointing out the new rugs, tablecloths and curtains in the sunny rooms of the two-story, six-sided cottage on stilts. The museum is inviting the public to the birthday party this Saturday, exactly a century after the lighthouse was commissioned. In addition to free tours of the lighthouse, the birthday bash will include films, a barbershop quartet concert and a balloon launch. Visitors will be able to tour the museum's indoor and outdoor exhibits on fossils, boatbuilding, Chesapeake history and marine life and, for a small charge, cruise on the museum's historic Chesapeake Bay bugeye. On August 20, 1883, when the first oil lamp was lit in its cupola some 45 feet above the water, the lighthouse stood a few miles away, at Drum Point, which juts into the Chesapeake Bay at the north side of the mouth of the Patuxent River. It perched on long wrought-iron pilings with screw- like blades twisted into the Bay's sandy bottom about 120 yards from shore. A rowboat, suspended from braces on the lighthouse walls, provided light-to-shore transportation. Keepers, members of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, logged the weather, filled the oil lamps, trimmed the wicks and polished the lens daily. In foggy weather, they had to continually wind and rewind the 600-pound weights that drove the hammer that struck the bell that warned sailors off the shoals. For their services, they received $575 annual salary, a uniform, an issue of such staples as pork, beef, flour, coffee and brown sugar, and, of course, housing for the whole family. During the time that James Locke Weems served as keeper, his son married and brought his bride to the lighthouse. "My mother and father stayed here for a couple of years while they were building their own house, and during that time I came along," she says. After the younger Weemses moved to their own home, within walking distance of Drum Point, she was a frequent visitor to the lighthouse. "Grandaddy would wipe my hands before I got up from the table to make sure I didn't get grease on the walls," she remembers, seated at the table in the lighthouse dining room and looking out the windows at the pleasure and work boats in the harbor below. "The walls were an awful gray, darker than this, but grandaddy kept the place looking spotless." Today, it's still -- or again -- spotless. The pine floors of the dining room, kitchen and master bedroom shine with scrubbing. What was once the living room now holds an exhibit on the restoration of the lighthouse, and visitors stop to watch a film before mounting the winding staircase to the bell room and a small bedroom upstairs. Still higher in the cupola is the gleaming prism lens, and a superb view of the fishing town of Solomons, the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay beyond. "Dr. Ralph Eshelman, the director of the museum, asked me to try to furnish the lighthouse in early 20th-century style, so I talked to garden clubs, I called all my friends. These are all things that people loved," Ewalt continues, spreading her arms to take in antique ro 1960, never had modern plumbing. A privy, built out over the water and reached via the wraparound porch, provided the sole sanitary facility, and water was collected on the roof and stored in four 200-gallon tanks, one in each of the four main rooms. "When my mother came to live here, Daddy went ashore to get her water," says Ewalt. "She wasn't going to drink any water that came off the roof. She was from Baltimore. My grandmother kept a horse and buggy on the shore, and some chickens. A lighthouse tender would bring kerosene for the lamps and coal for the stove. I guess it served all the lighthouses all the way down the Bay." The first lighthouse on the Chesapeake was built at Cape Henry before 1800, and by the early 20th century there were 74 lighthouses on the Bay, including 42 screwpile cottage-type lighthouses like the one at Drum Point. Screwpile lights, the first of which was built in England in 1838 to mark the mouth of the Thames, were quick and easy to construct and suited to the Chesapeake's soft bottom. The bad news is that they were easily toppled by ice floes. The light at Hooper's Strait on the Eastern Shore was found floating five miles from its original site in the icy winter of 1887, and the Pungonteague River Lighthouse, the first screwpile light on the Bay, withstood the ice only two winters before being carried away in 1857. Drum Point Lighthouse weathered the ice and the years, its closest scrape with destiny being a summer storm in 1933 that flooded the cottage, washed away the boat and forced the keeper to swim to shore. By 1960 silting had put the lighthouse practically on dry land and the Coast Guard, which took over from the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1939, replaced it with an automated beacon. Weather, vandalism and red tape threatened to destroy the abandoned lighthouse, but the Calvert County Historical Society finally steered the lighthouse clear of bureaucratic shoals and found the money to have it moved to the grounds of the museum in 1975. Of the 32 Chesapeake Bay lighthouses that remain intact, three are operated as museums. Both the Drum Point Lighthouse and the HOOPER STRAIT LIGHTHOUSE, a similar screwpile cottage light, were moved from their original locations, the latter to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. The CONCORD POINT LIGHTHOUSE, a 37- foot tower at the point where the Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay in Havre de Grace, still stands at its original site and has been restored by lighthouse buffs. Built in 1827 and decommissioned in 1975, the granite lighthouse is unusual in that the job of keeper was the exclusive right of one family, the O'Neills. John O'Neill fired a battery near the lighthouse on the British fleet during the War of 1812, and the government rewarded him, and his descendants, with the plum post. Lighthouse-keeping is still considered a plum in the Coast Guard, which mans three lighthouses on the Bay: the Cape Henry Lighthouse, the Thomas Point Lighthouse near Annapolis and the COVE POINT LIGHTHOUSE near Lusby, Maryland. Cove Point is considered the best of all since it's a family station. "You have to be married to live here," says Officer-in- Charge Thomas Stevely. "It's good duty. It can get a little boring. Some people would rather be at sea, and I kind of miss search and rescue operations myself." Cove Point, a 51-foot cylindrical stucco-covered brick tower built in 1828, has a family look about it. There's a small cottage and a large whitewashed house, which used to be a single-family dwelling (one past keeper had 19 children) but is now a Baltimore, a chore that must be done every three hours. A radio beacon signals "CP" in Morse code, so ships can plot their positions, and the light in the cupola at the top of the spiral staircase flashes every 10 seconds all night and in foggy weather. Normally, the light and the foghorn are activated by flicking a switch, but in case of emergency there's a kerosene lamp to put behind the lens and the old bell can still be rung by cranking up and dropping weights. "We drill with it every so often," says Stevely. Semper paratus. THE BIRTHDAY BEACON AND OTHER LIGHTS Drum Point Light's birthday bash begins at 10 this Saturday with interpretative tours of the restored lighthouse. Visitors will meet Anna Weems Ewalt, who was born in the lighthouse, and John Hansen, last keeper of the light. From 1 to 3, films will feature this and other lighthouses and at 6, hundreds of balloons in every color of the rainbow will be launched from the lighthouse porch. A dollar will buy a balloon and help support the continuing restoration of the lighthouse. The finder and the owner of the balloon returned from the farthest point will each receive a prize. After the balloons go up, there will be a barber shop quartet concert on the lawn. Directions: From the Beltway, follow Maryland Route 4 south to Solomons, a 11/2-hour trip. COVE POINT LIGHT -- is open to visitors from 10 to 6 daily, except when the foghorn is blaring -- a hazard to hearing. Visitors may mount the stairs, however, only when Coast Guard personnel aren't too busy to escort them. Directions: From the Beltway, follow Maryland Route 4 south, past Calvert Cliffs State Park to Maryland Route 497. Turn east on Route 497 and follow it to the very end. CEDAR POINT LIGHT -- To see the cupola of the Cedar Point Light, rescued by the Navy from the dying lighthouse that once guarded the south side of the entry to the Patuxent River from the Bay, visit the Naval Air Test and Evaluation Museum at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Lexington Park. The free museum, open 11 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 Sunday, also contains a model of the original wood-and-brick lighthouse. Follow Route 4 across the Johnson Bridge from Solomons to St. Mary's County. Turn south on Maryland Route 235 to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. HOOPER STRAIT LIGHTHOUSE -- at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is open daily 10 to 5. Admission is $2.50 for adults, $1 for children six to 16. From the Bay Bridge, take U.S. 50 south to Easton and Maryland Route 33 east to St.Michaels. CONCORD POINT LIGHTHOUSE -- Visitors may climb the winding granite steps to the top of the Concord Point Lighthouse every Sunday from 1 to 5. Admission is free. Follow I-95 north to Havre de Grace; then follow signs to the historic district. The lighthouse lies at the foot of Lafayette Street.