Long Island Head Light

Sept. 10, 2019

Long Island Head Light, Long Island, Boston Harbor, Boston, Massachusetts

Established in 1819.


Station Established: 1820
First Lit: Oct. 1819
Operational: Yes - 1918
Automated: Yes- Aug. 7, 1989
Deactivated: 1982 - 1985
Foundation Material: Granite
Construction Material: Brick
Tower Shape: Cylindrical
Markings: White with Black Lantern
Relationship to Other Structures: Separate
Original Lens: A Fixed Light 9 Lamps and One Reflector 
Tower Height: 52 feet
Range: –6 miles
Original Optic: Three and one Half-Order Fresnel Lens 
Present Optic: Solar Power & Modern Plastic Lens
Characteristics: FlW6s – Flashing white every 2.5 Seconds
First Keeper: Jonathan Lawrence
Current Use: Active Aid to Navigation
Fog Signal: None
National Register Status

Historical Information:

* Originally it was referred to as the Inner Harbor Light.
* The island occupied by a state prison hospital, was part of Boston Island Nautical Recreational Area.
* In 1918 a committee of The Boston Marine Society noted a large number of vessels that passed close by Long Island as they entered the harbor. Congress Subsequently appropriated $11,500 for a Lighthouse in 1819.
* In 1843 IWP Lewis- Civil Engineer to the United States Light House Survey reported deterioration of the leaky tower and the lights obstructed Lantern’s room framework.
* Long Island was rebuilt three times after the original construction. It was rebuilt in 1844 by Boston Iron Co. It was 34’ high.
* In 1858 the optics were refitted with a Fourth Order Fresnel Lens exhibiting a fixed white light.
* In 1870 Fort Story was built in the rear of the Lighthouse with a 10 gun battery
* In 1881 a new keeper’s house and cast iron light was built.
* From 1899 to 1939 Fort Story was expanded to update the Coastal Defense System. Because of the fort’s expansion Long Island Head Light had to be relocated to keep it from injury by the firing of the guns 
* In 1901 the current white cylindrical brick Lighthouse was completed.
* 1982- 1985 the Coast Guard decommissioned Long Island Head Light. The tower was refurbished and the light was relit in 1985
* It received a major renovation in the summer of 1998.

Researched and written by Linda Herman, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.