City of New Bedford
Contact Address Information:
133 William Street
New Bedford was a leading whaling port in the mid-19th century, with a fleet of 239 ships. Mabel Small, wife of Keeper Arthur Small, was killed on Palmer Island during a hurricane on September 21, 1938. After a hurricane wall was built in New Bedford Harbor, the light was discontinued. It was abandoned and fell victom to vandalism. It was restored in the late 1970s, then again in 1999, when it was relighted as a private aid to navigation.
Tower Height: 24
Height of Focal Plane: 34
Characteristic and Range: White flash: two seconds on, six seconds off.
Description of Tower: White, conical stone tower with black cast iron lantern.
This light is operational
Date Established: 1849
Date Present Tower Built: 1849
Date Deactivated: 1963-1999
Date Automated: 1941
Optics: 1857: Fifth order Fresnel lens; now 250 mm solar powered.
Fog Signal: 1900: Fog bell and striking mechanism in pyramidal tower; later bell tower was attached to lighthouse tower.
Current Use: Private aid to navigation.
Open To Public? Grounds only.
Palmer Island is accessible at low tide from New Bedford's hurricane barrier. It can be seen from some spots onshore, including the upper stories of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. It can also be seen from the New Bedford-Cuttyhunk Island ferry; call (508) 992-0200 or see www.cuttyhunkferryco.com for information. Whaling City Expeditions offers daily harbor tours leaving Waterfront Park; call (508) 984-4979 or see www.whalingcityexpeditions.com.
Mapquest URL: Click here to get a map to this lighthouse!
Listed on the
National Register of Historic Places
Keepers: William Sherman (1849-1853); Charles D. Tuell (1853-1861); George Cowie (1872-1891); Arthur Small (1922-1938); Franklin Ponte (c. 1939-1940); Martin Maloney (c.1941).