Gloucester Harbor Lighthouse Cruise

Ok I can tell by my stats that the lighthouse theme is running on empty so I’ll wrap it up for awhile with this last post on the lighthouses I saw on my day in Gloucester.

It was such a beautiful day that I took the Lighthouse Harbor Cruise, not a Boston Harbor Cruise but a Gloucester Harbor Cruise.

The earliest lighthouses were nothing more than bonfires built on hillsides to guide ships .

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Sometimes they were lit to draw ships onto the rocks so they would run aground and the pirates could loot the cargo. Obviously a better way was needed.

Lighthouses  are old, very old. The first was in the old world. It guarded the harbor entrance to Alexandria in 285 BC!


The first American Lighthouse was built in Boston Harbor in 1716.

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By 1771 there were 9 lighthouses in North America, all marking entrances to ports. 1771 was also the first time a lighthouse was built to mark a dangerous spot rather than a harbor entrance.

Fast forward to today. I’m going to share 5 lighthouse with you; the Lighthouses of Cape Ann.

#1. Ten Pound Island Lighthouse

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This is a quaint little light located on (where else) Ten Pound Island which is within Gloucester Harbor. It was built in 1821 to aid in navigating Gloucester’s inner harbor. Tiny Ten Pound Island also boasts housing America’s first Coast Guard Air Station.

#2 Eastern Point Lighthouse

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This light was built in 1832 on Gloucester’s Eastern Point  to mark the harbor entrance. In addition to the light, there  is a large lighthouse station which continues to serve as housing for the U.S. Coast Guard.

#3. Thatcher Island Twin Lighthouses

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Also known as Cape Ann Light Station, these twin lights are the only surviving multiple lights on the coasts of the United States. The towers were constructed so that when a ship sights on both towers they point to true north, allowing sailors to check their compasses.

#4. Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse

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Built in 1835, Straitsmouth Light marks the entrance to Rockport Harbor, a neighbor of Gloucester’s. Although the small lighthouse is maintained by the Coast Guard, the island itself is a bird and wildlife sanctuary owned by the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

#5. Annisquam Harbor Lighthouse

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Annisquam light was built in 1801. It marks the entrance to the Annisquam River at Wigwam Point, a popular Native American summer encampment. With the construction of the Blynman Canal the Annisquam River connected Ipswich Bay and Gloucester Harbor.

There is so much to say about these lighthouses, how tall, how bright, what color is the light, how many flashes and of what duration; but to answer all those questions I’d be writing a book, not a post.  🙂 So I’ll leave that to the experts.

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