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Name: Cape Ann Light   Map it!

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Also known as: Thacher Island South Light

Nearest Town or City:
Rockport, Massachusetts, United States

Location: Off Cape Ann, approach to Pigeon Cove.

Click to enlarge: Photo   
Photo: Jeremy D'Entremont
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Managing Organization:
Thacher Island Association


Contact Address Information:
P.O. Box 73
Massachusetts, 01966, United States

The 1771 twin towers on Thacher Island were among the first twin lights in North America. In 1932 the north light was discontinued. In 1980 the Coast Guard automated the south light and left the island. The Thacher Island Association was formed and provides caretakers who live on the island. The Association works with the Town of Rockport's Thacher Island Committee and has been gradually restoring the buildings on the island. The site is now a National Historic Landmark.

Tower Height: 124

Height of Focal Plane: 166

Characteristic and Range: Flashing red every five seconds, visible for 17 nautical miles.

Description of Tower: Conical unpainted granite tower with black cast iron lantern.

This light is operational

Other Buildings?
North lighthouse of twin lights, 1816 2.5 story brick keeper's house, second keeper's house, brick oil house, equipment building (c. 1902), 1991 boathouse.

Date Established: 1771

Date Present Tower Built: 1861

Date Deactivated: 1775-1793

Date Automated: 1980

Optics: 1861: First order Fresnel lens; now VRB-25, solar powered.

Fog Signal: 1853: Fog bell; later fog whistle, then diaphone horn; now automated horn with two blasts every 60 seconds.

Current Use: Active aid to navigation.

Open To Public? No.

You can visit the island on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. from July through the end of August (weather permitting) aboard the Thacher Island launch. It's a 30-minute ride to the island. You must make reservations in advance by calling 978-546-7697. The Thacher Island launch only accommodates 15 passengers, and there's only one trip each Saturday. You can also visit using your own boat or kayak, but keep in mind that there is no dock on the island, only the ramp used for the Association's launch. Only small rowboats and kayaks are allowed to land on the ramp. Two guest moorings are available about 50 yards offshore. If you'd like to use one of these moorings, you must call the caretaker in advance at 978-546-2326. Bring a dinghy to land on the ramp. The twin lighthouses on Thacher Island are visible from a number of places along the coast of Rockport. Good views are possible from Eden Road, near MA 127A, and from Good Harbor Beach. Better views are possible from occasional lighthouse cruises offered by the Thacher Island Association; call (978) 546-7697 for information. Cape Ann Cruises offers lighthouse cruises in summer, see The Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands offer occasional lighthouse cruises passing Thacher Island; call (781) 740-4290.

Mapquest URL: Click here to get a map to this lighthouse!

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Keepers: James Kirkwood (1771-1775); Samuel Huston (1784-1792); Joseph Sayward (1792-1814); Aaron Wheeler (1814-1834); Austin Wheeler (1834-1837); Charles Wheeler (1837-1849); William Hale (1849-1853); Lancelot Kelly Rowe (1853-1855); James Collins Parsons (1855-1861); William H. Tarr, assistant (1855-1861); James C. Parsons, Jr., assistant (1855-1861); Benjamin Parsons, Jr., assistant (1855-1861); Albert Giddings Hale (1861-1864); Eben Abbott, assistant (1861-1864); Alexander Bray (1864-1869); Joseph Wingwood (1869-1871); Michael Dundon (1871-1872); Albert W. Hale (1872-1881); Addison Franklin Tarr (1881-1912); Alfred Eisner, assistant (c. 1880s); Elliott C. Hadley, assistant (c. 1880s); Albert Whitten, assistant (c. 1890s); Frank Hall, assistant (c. 1890s); James Allison, assistant (c. 1890s); John Cook, assistant (1911-1918); Eugene Norman Larsen, assistant (c. 1910s); Howard M. Carter, assistant (c. 1910s); Thomas J. Creed, assistant (c. 1910s); Elmo Mott (1918-1926); George Gustavus, assistant (c. 1910s); Maurice A. Babcock, assistant (1919); William Daggett, assistant (c. 1920); George Howard, assistant (c. 1920s); Simeon Orne (1919-1933); George Seavey, assistant (c. 1920s); Austin Beal, assistant (c. 1920s); Hoyt Smith, assistant (c. 1920s); Herbert Needham, assistant (c. 1920s); Cecil Kelly, assistant (c. 1920s); George Seavey (1933-1945); Austin Beal (1945-?); Harry A. Wilbur, assistant (c. 1940s); Douglas Saunders, assistant (c. 1940s); James Davis, USCG (c. 1969); John Wigger, USCG (c. 1969); Michael Graham, USCG (1975-1977), George Sanborn (Sandborn?), USCG (1980), Kenneth Wood, USCG (1980), Marty Smith, USCG (1980)

Nearby Lodging: A six-room apartment is available in the assistant keeper's dwellling; call 978-546-7341 for information and reservations. Those wishing to camp on the island may obtain a permit by calling 978-546-2326.

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