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Name: Palmer Island Light   Map it!

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Also known as: Palmer's Island Light

Nearest Town or City:
New Bedford, Massachusetts, United States

Location: Acushnet River, west side of New Bedford Harbor entrance.

Click to enlarge: Photo   
Photo: Jeremy D'Entremont
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Managing Organization:
City of New Bedford

Telephone: 508-979-1400


Contact Address Information:
133 William Street
New Bedford
Massachusetts, United States

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 for information. Whaling City Expeditions offers daily harbor tours leaving Waterfront Park; call (508) 984-4979 or see

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).


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