Lighthouses of Cape AnnApril 29, 2021 / Good to Know, History/Maritime, Outdoor Adventures, Things to Do & See
Five iconic lighthouses stand tall along the Cape Ann coastline to protect seafarers from rocky shores and shoals. They offer historians and romantics alike a glimpse into Cape Ann’s maritime lore and legacy. Lighthouses are a comfort to mariners to this day, and despite the use of GPS and electronic aids for navigation, they still symbolize home and safety.
Annisquam Harbor Lighthouse
Annisquam Harbor Lighthouse (Annisquam Light) was erected in 1801 to mark the entrance to the Annisquam River at Wigwam Point, a popular Native American summer encampment. The quaint lighthouse is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard and is no longer accessible from the nearby village of Annisquam in Gloucester. Best viewing opportunities are by water or from Wingaersheek Beach.
Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse
Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse (Straitsmouth Light) was built in 1835 to mark the entrance to nearby Rockport Harbor. The lighthouse is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, but is owned by the Town of Rockport including the 1.8 acres it sits on. The rest of the 31-acre island is owned by the Massachusetts Audubon Society as a bird sanctuary. Visit thacherisland.org.
Thacher Island Twin Lighthouses (Twin Lights)
The South tower has a red light flashing 5 times at 20 second intervals. The North tower has an amber steady light which is maintained by the Thacher Island Association as a “Courtesy” light in memory to mariners who have passed. Also known as Cape Ann Light Station, the Twin Lights are the only fully operational multiple lights on the coasts of the United States. Visit thacherisland.org.
Eastern Point Lighthouse
Eastern Point Lighthouse was erected on Gloucester’s Eastern Point to mark the harbor entrance in 1832. In addition to the light, there is a large lighthouse station, which continues to serve as housing for the U.S. Coast Guard. One of the station’s more famous occupants was Winslow Homer. The noted artist spent a year living at the light in 1880. Although not open to visitors the lighthouse presents a wonderful view, especially from the vantage point of the adjacent Dog Bar Breakwater. Visit massadubon.org.
Ten Pound Island Lighthouse
This quaint lighthouse is located on Ten Pound Island in Gloucester Harbor. The light was constructed in 1821 to mark the island and act as a marker for navigating Gloucester’s inner harbor. The island is easily visible from many locations along Gloucester’s waterfront. Tiny Ten Pound Island boasts housing America’s first Coast Guard station. The light was restored and relighted through the efforts of the Lighthouse Preservation Society. Visit lighthousepreservation.org.