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Name: Boston Light  

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Also known as: Boston Harbor Light

Nearest Town or City:
Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Location: Little Brewster, outer Boston Harbor.

Click to enlarge: Photo   
Photo: Jeremy D'Entremont
Related Photos

Managing Organization:
U.S. Coast Guard

Boston Light was America's first light station (1716) and the last to be automated (1998). It is still staffed by the Coast Guard. The first lighthouse was destroyed by the British at the close of the American Revolution in 1776; the present lighthouse was built in 1783. Boston Light was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964. Little Brewster Island is now part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.

Tower Height: 89

Height of Focal Plane: 102

Characteristic and Range: White flash every 10 seconds, visible for 27 nautical miles.

Description of Tower: Conical white rubblestone tower with black cast iron lantern.

This light is operational

Other Buildings?
1884 two story wood keeper's house, 1876 brick fog signal building, 1899 boathouse, 1884 cistern building, 1889 brick oil house. An 1859 duplex keeper's dwelling was destroyed by the Coast Guard in 1960.

Earlier Towers?
1716: Stone tower destroyed by British in 1776.

Date Established: 1716

Date Present Tower Built: 1783

Date Automated: 1998

Optics: 1859: Second order Fresnel lens, still in use.

Fog Signal: 1719: Fog cannon (now in base of lighthouse); c. 1851: Fog bell; 1869: New Stevens striking apparatus for fog bell; 1872: Daboll fog trumpet; 1887: First class siren; now automated fog horn with one blast every 30 seconds.

Current Use: Active aid to navigation, part of national recreation area.

Open To Public? Yes.

There is also a small display of artifacts in the entryway to the lighthouse. The station's 1719 fog cannon is also on display.

The Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands run periodic trips to Boston Light in summer. The cruise from Long Wharf in Boston is about one hour and visitors get to climb to the top of the lighthouse. Call (781) 740-4290 for details and reservations. The Boston Harbor Islands Partnership runs 3 1/2-hour trips to Boston Light on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from early June to mid-October at 10 am and 2 pm; call (617) 223-8666 for details. Boston Light can also be seen from several locations on shore, including Fort Revere, Nantasket Beach and Point Allerton in Hull. It can be seen more distantly from the shores of the towns of Winthrop, Revere and Nahant. To reach Fort Revere in Hull: Take MA 3 through the Hingham rotary to Summer Street, marked with a "Nantasket 3" sign. Then go left on Washington Boulevard, and bear left into merging Nantasket Ave. Continue north to Hull. The fort is open all year. The lookout tower at the fort is open in summer from 1 pm to 5 pm daily. Boston Light can also be seen from the second floor of the Hull Lifesaving Museum at Point Allerton in Hull. The museum is the old Point Allerton Lifesaving Station, first captained by the famous lifesaver Joshua James. The museum is open July and August, Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 pm; the rest of the year it's open weekends and Monday holidays from noon to 5 pm. Closed January 1, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Call (781) 925-5433 for more information.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Keepers: George Worthylake (1716-1718); Robert Saunders (1718); John Hayes (1718-1733); Robert Ball (1733-1774); William Minns (1774-1776); Thomas Knox (1783-1811); Jonathan Bruce (1811-1833); David Tower (1833-1844); Joshua Snow (1844); Tobias Cook (1844-1849); William Long (1849-1851); Zebedee Small (1851-1853); Hugh Douglass (1853-1856); Moses Barrett (1856-1862); Charles E. Blair (1862-1864); Thomas Bates, Jr. (1864-1893); Alfred Williams (1893); Albert M. Horte (1893-1894); Henry L. Pingree (1894-1909); F. E. Tarr (1909-1910); Levi B. Clark (1910-1911); George Kezer (1911); Mills Gunderson (1911-1916); Charles H. Jennings (1916-1919); James Lelan Hart (1919-1926); Maurice Babcock (1926-1941); Ralph C. Norwood, (Lighthouse Service then Coast Guard, 1941-1945); Franklin A. Goodwin (Coast Guard, 1945); Julio DiFuria (Coast Guard, 1945-1946); Eldon W. Beal (Coast Guard, 1946); Leo F. Gracie (Coast Guard, 1946-1948); Stanley Batt (Coast Guard, 1948); Joseph F. Lavigne (Coast Guard, 1948-1950); John D. Hall (Coast Guard, 1950); Robert C. Merchant (Coast Guard, 1950-1951); Clinton M. Davis (Coast Guard, 1951); Ray O. Beard (Coast Guard, 1951-1952); Robert A. Reedy (Coast Guard, 1952); John Curran (Coast Guard, 1952-1953); Paul B. Guy (Coast Guard, 1953-1954); Hubert B. Jones (Coast Guard, 1954-1955); John E. Horner (Coast Guard, 1955-1959); J. B. Collins (Coast Guard, 1959-1960); Gottfried Schiffers (Coast Guard, 1960-1962); Wiiliam F. Mikelonis (Coast Guard, 1962-1967); Vernon T. Springer (Coast Guard, 1967-1969); Allick Rust (Coast Guard, 1969-1971); Dennis I. Reed (Coast Guard, 1971-1972); Edward J. O'Shea (Coast Guard, 1972-1973); James H. Clark, Jr. (Coast Guard, 1973-1974); James H. Turner (Coast Guard, 1974-1975); Alan D. Achorn (Coast Guard, 1975-1977); Carlon F. Brietzke (Coast Guard, 1977-1978); Marvin D. Gonzalaus (Coast Guard, 1978-1980); H. L. Murra (Coast Guard, 1980-1982); James F. Burt (Coast Guard, 1982-1984); Paul V. Dodds (Coast Guard, 1984-1985); Guy A. Veillette (Coast Guard, 1985-1987); Joe B. Lanard (Coast Guard, 1987); K. J. Galvin (Coast Guard, 1987-1988); Dennis Dever (Coast Guard, 1988-1990); Alexander ("Sandy") Booth (Coast Guard, 1990-1992); Wesley J. Pannett (Coast Guard, 1992-1995); Reid Hair (Coast Guard, 1995-1997); Scott Stanton (Coast Guard, 1997-1999); Richard Himelrick (Coast Guard, 1999-2001), Petty Officer Pedro Gonzales (Coast Guard, 2001-).


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