by Don Uvick


Boston Harbor
Little Brewster Island, Boston Harbor, Mass (1716, 1783)
In 1679 a Dutch traveler noted in his diary of seeing a beacon on Little Brewster Island. It could have benn a bonfire, a torch on a pole or more likely a coal-fired brazier on a pole. In 1713 there was a petition to replace the beacon with a lighthouse. In 1718 the first keeper, George Worthylake, and his family drowned, and a 13 year old Benjamin Franklin wrote a ballad about it, titled “Lighthouse Tragedy.” In 1751 a fire destroyed the interior of the wooden tower, severely damaging the walls. In 1775 the British blockade the harbor and tried to repair the lighthouse, but 300 Americans assaulted and totally destroyed it. In 1783 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts paid to rebuild the tower to its present height of 75 feet.
Brandt Point
Nantucket (1746, 1759,1774,1783,1786,1788, 1825,1856,1901)
Occulting red 4s. Height above water 26 ft
This has been rebuilt many times. It is the second lighthouse that the US established. It is located on the west entrance to Nantucket Harbor. The tower to this light is considered the lowest light in New England.
Old Brandt Point
Nantucket (1856)
This lighthouse is now a private residence. It is also part of the Coast Guard station at Brant Point. It is located in close proximity to the Brant Point Lighthouse.
Cape Cod
Truro (Cape Cod)
This lighthouse is also called Highland Lighthouse station. The physical location of the light marks the first landfall on the transatlantic route to Boston. The light is 183 feet above the water and can be seen a distance of 20 miles
Chatham Harbor
Chatham (1808, 1863, 1877)
Originally this lightstation consisted of twin wooden towers. In the 1830's the wooden towers were replaced by brick ones. The southern tower was rebuilt in 1863 and the entire lightstation was rebuilt in 1877. The new towers were made of cast iron. The northern-most tower was moved to Nauset in 1923.
Derby Wharf
Salem (1870)
The 12-foot tower has one door, no windows or ornamentation and is of the Federal Revival architectural style. The National Park Service maintains the lighthouse after The Friends of Salem Maritime restored the lighthouse.
Eastern Point
East Gloucester (1832, 1848, 1890)
The present Federal Revival styled, 36 foot tall lighthouse was erected in 1890. It is on the east side of Gloucester Harbor, site of the famous Fisherman’s Memorial Statue (which is featured onGordon’s frozen fish products).
Martha's Vineyard (1828, 1935)
The lighthouse is accessible from North Water Street in the town of Edgartown on the island of Martha's Vineyard. The original lighthouse was built in 1828 on granite blocks. The present lighthouse was brought to this location in 1935 from Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Fort Pickering
Winter Island, Salem, Mass (1871)
The tower is brick covered by a cast-iron sheath. As the century ended, Salem’s days as an international port declined, and the cost of maintaining this lighthouse and Derby Wharf Lighthouse was considered too expensive. Fort Pickering was deactivated in 1897. It is maintained by the City of Salem. It is located on Winter Island Maritime Park.
near Boston and Lynn, Mass (1871)
aka Marblehead Neck (1895) This is the only skeleton lighthouse in New England. The tower is 105 feet tall and is cast-iron, has eight 84-foot tall pilings that are 12 feet apart and anchored to concrete foundations. There are spiral stairway to the watchroom has 105 steps. The light was discontinued by the US Coast Guard in 1948, and it was then sold to a Mr. Hovey, who presented the tower and the surrounding land to the Town of Marblehead.
Minot's Ledge
Cohasset (1850)
This lighthouse is built 1 mile off the coast on a 25 foot ledge - visible only at low tide. The first structure could only be built during low tide and took three years to complete. Despite pleas from the keepers to strengthen the tower, nothing was done and the lighthouse was totally destroyed the following year in a storm. The next tower was finished in 1860. The one, four, and three light signal has earned it the nickname "The I Love You light" or "Lovers Light".
Nauset Beach
North Eastham (1877)
This light was moved from Chatham in 1923. It was the northern most tower of the 1877 Chatham twin lights. It was moved to Nauset Beach to replace the last wood tower of the set known as the Three Sisters. The tower is a conical cast-iron type rising to a height of 48 feet. Currently, (1996) efforts are underway to move the tower due to the erosion of the cliffs near the station.
Nobska Point
Falmouth (1829, 1876)
The first beacon on Nobska Point was a whale-oil lamp with a reflector in a tower that arose from a stone cottage's roof. In 1876 it was replaced with the present lighthouse. It is located at Nobska Point in Wood's Hole harbor south of Falmouth, MA. It is an iron cylindrical 40 foot tower lined with brick. As most lights, this one was automated in 1985.
Race Point
Provincetown (1816, 1876)
It is located at the head of Cape Cod at the entrance to the harbor of Provincetown, MA. It is accessible by foot or four wheel drive along a marked route that borders a protected nesting area. The tower is 40 feet high and was built with iron plates and brick. The beacon was electrified in 1957 and automated in 1978.
Sankaty Head
Nantucket (1849)
Flashing white 7.5s. Height above water 158 ft.
This light is located about 1 mile north of the town of Siaconset, Nantucket Island. The tower is unique in construction in that it is brick from the bottom of its 5 foot deep foundation to a height of 54 feet above ground, then the builder added another 6 feet of coursed granite blocks. The overall height of the lighthouse is 70 feet. Sankaty Head was the first light station in Massachusetts to receive a Fresnel lens: a 2nd order optic purchased in France for $10,000. Its beam could be seen out to 25 nautical miles. The lens was electrified in 1938 and the light's candlepower was increased seven-fold. The original tower still stands today (1992). Its light is considered one of the brightest on the Atlantic coast. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has predicted that Sankaty Head will fall into the sea at least by the end of the century if it is not moved. Contributions may be sent to Save Our Sankaty, P.O. Box 814, Siaconset, MA 02564.
Scituate (1811)
This lighthouse is located on Cedar Point at the end of Lighthouse Road. It has a granite octagonal tower and bird-cage lantern. During the War of 1812 a British landing party entered the Harbor, planning to burn down the lighthouse. The absent keepers daughters extinguished the light and sent their brother to get the local militia. The girls then played a fife and drum in the nearby woods, successfully fooling the British into believing that the American troops were coming.
Stage Harbor
Chatham (1880,1933)
This lighthouse is located near Chatham Lighthouse on Cape Cod. Before losing its lantern room this lighthouse was 48 feet tall. This lighthouse is now a private residence. It received its name because its location was once a staging area for fisherman.
Ten Pound Island
Glouchester Harbor (1821,1881)
Equal interval 6s. Height above water 57 ft.
In 1821 a 40 foot tall stone tower, a covered passageway, a wood framed house, a storage shed, and a stone and slate oil house were built. The stone tower was replaced by the present 30 foot tall, cast-iron brick-lined structure in 1881. The structure shows Italianate influence not usually seen in lighthouses. The station was discontinued in 1968 and only the foundations are left of the keeper's quarters and oil house.
Thacher's Island
Cape Ann (1771)
Flashing red 5s. Height above water 166 ft.
It differs from most other Massachusetts lighthouses by having a flashing red beacon. The island is named for the family of Anthony Thacher, surviving passengers of the shipwrecked Watch and Wait in 1635.
Wing's Neck
Bourne (1849)
The first lighthouse on Wings Neck was built in 1849 on 12 acres of swamp land. In 1878 the 38 foot tall hexagonal wooden tower was destroyed by fire. The octagonal wooden tower sits on a fieldstone foundation and is sheathed in oak shingles. A covered walkway connects the tower with the keeper's house. The light was discontinued in 1945 and it has been a private residence since 1947. The owners were hosts to the Von Trapp Family and Maria often swam around the penisula.

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Copyright © 1999-2005. Donald K. Uvick. The photographs on this and other pages are protected under copyright laws. They may not be reproduced, stored, manipulated, and/or digitized without the written permission of Donald K. Uvick.

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