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Long Island Head Light is an historic lighthouse on Long Island in Boston Harbor, Boston, Massachusetts. The current brick tower is the fourth lighthouse on the island. The light was first established in 1819, largely as a result of a study conducted by the Boston Marine Society, which had built the daybeacon on Nixes Mate 14 years earlier. It was a 20-foot (6.1 m) stone tower known as "Inner Harbor Light". It was the second of the four Boston lights—103 years after Boston Light, but ten years before the first daybeacon at the site of Deer Island Light, and before The Graves Light, built in 1905.

Long Island Head Light
Long Island Head Lighthouse Boston 1900.JPG
Current Tower
U.S. Coast Guard photo
Long Island Head Light is located in Massachusetts
Long Island Head Light
LocationLong Island
Boston Harbor
Coordinates42°19′48.779″N 70°57′27.624″W / 42.33021639°N 70.95767333°W / 42.33021639; -70.95767333Coordinates: 42°19′48.779″N 70°57′27.624″W / 42.33021639°N 70.95767333°W / 42.33021639; -70.95767333
Year first constructed1819
Year first lit1901 (current structure)
Tower shapeCylindrical
Markings / patternWhite with black lantern
Tower height16 metre Edit this on Wikidata
Focal height120 feet (37 m)
Original lens3.5 order Fresnel lens
Current lensAcrylic
Range6 nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi)
CharacteristicFl W 2.5s
Fog signalnone
Admiralty numberJ0337
ARLHS numberUSA-449
USCG number1-10800[1][2][3]
Heritageplace listed on the National Register of Historic Places Edit this on Wikidata
Long Island Head Light
Area0.1 acres (0.040 ha)
Architectural styleItalianate
MPSLighthouses of Massachusetts TR
NRHP reference #87001481[4]
Added to NRHPJune 15, 1987

The stone tower fell into disrepair and was replaced by one of the earliest cast iron lighthouse structures, thirty-four feet tall (pictured below). In 1857, a fourth order Fresnel lens replaced the lamps and reflectors which had been in place. During the next twenty years it sustained damage in a number of storms. In 1881, it was replaced again, by a conical cast iron structure and a new wood keeper's house. Fort Strong was significantly enlarged around the start of the 20th century and it was necessary to move the lighthouse to a location out of the way of the concussion from the guns, so the current brick tower was constructed in 1900-01. Remnants of the fort can be seen to the southeast of the light in the satellite views available by clicking on the coordinates.[1][3][5]

The Coast Guard discontinued the light in 1982, but reconsidered the decision in 1985, and installed a modern, solar powered system. It received a major refurbishing in the summer of 1998.[1]

Long Island Head Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Long Island Head Light on June 15, 1987.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Massachusetts". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 2009-09-10.
  2. ^ United States Coast Guard (2009). Light List, Volume I, Atlantic Coast, St. Croix River, Maine to Shrewsbury River, New Jersey. p. 89.
  3. ^ a b Rowlett, Russ (2009-09-07). "Lighthouses of the United States: Northern Massachusetts". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  4. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
  5. ^ "New England Lighthouses, A Virtual Guide, Long Island Head Light, History". Jeremy D'Entremont. 2009-09-10.