Interesting Facts about the First Lighthouse in America

Ashley | 08 - 10 - 2020
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Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt is the first known lighthouse. It was built by Ptolemy 1 and Ptolemy 2 and is constructed between 300 and 280 B.C. It was about 450 ft in height and was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. However, it was later destroyed in the 1300s. The tallest lighthouse in the US is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. But if you are wondering which was the first lighthouse in America, it is in Boston on Little Brewster Island. In this article, you will learn everything about the first lighthouse in the US.

Boston Light is considered the first American lighthouse. Where was the first lighthouse in the US located? It is located on Little Brewster Island in outer Boston Harbour, Massachusetts. It was built in 1716 and it is also the second oldest working lighthouse in the United States. The oldest working lighthouse in America is Sandy Hook Lighthouse. Boston Light was designated a National Historic landmark in 1964. 

History of Boston Light

Boston Light was first lit on September 14, 1716. The height of the lighthouse was raised to 75 ft high with walls 7 ft 6 inches thick at the base. However, the original lighthouse was destroyed by the British but was later rebuilt in 1784. George Worthylake was the first keeper of the lighthouse. Worthylake was once paid £50 and his salary was raised to £75 in 1717. Worthylake, his wife, and his 15-year-old daughter while returning to the island after attending church were drowned. They were buried in the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground in Boston’s north end. 

Boston Light Underwent a Major Renovation in 2012.
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Saunders was later appointed as a temporary keeper and died after a few days of taking his job. Later, Jonathan Bruce was appointed as a keeper in 1811. While he was on duty, he and his wife witnessed one of the most thrilling incidents in history, the encounter between the American ship Chesapeake and the British ship Shannon on June 1, 1813. Again in 1856, the height of the tower was increased to 98 feet. During World War 2 it was extinguished as a safety measure but later on June 2, 1945, it was again placed in operation. 

Thomas Knox was assigned as the first post-revolution keeper. He worked there for 27 years and two of his brothers were also working as harbor’s pilot. In 1790, when Thomas’ father passed away he inherited his father’s island in the harbor. The Boston Harbor lighthouse was ceded by the federal government in 1790. Governor John Hancock his destination to another man but Thomas continued to work as a pilot. In 1794, his salary per year was $266. 67 and was raised to $333.33 in 1796. 

When Charles E. Blair was the keeper from 1862 to 1864 witnessed prisoners being transported to Boston Harbor’s Fort. The station was then equipped with 1, 800,000 candle power lights that could be visible for 27 nautical miles. 

In September 2013, Sally Snowman was appointed as the resident coast guard keeper and was assisted by Auxiliarist of the Coast Guard Auxiliary Watchstanders. She is the first woman keeper in the light house’s history. Boston Light was automated in 1998 and it flashes its light every 10 seconds. Boston Light underwent a major renovation in 2014 and was reopened for visitors in 2015. 

On your trip to Boston light be ready to climb around 76 stairs to enjoy the breathtaking view!

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