Ten Pound Island Lighthouse

Oct. 22, 2019

Ten Pound Island Lighthouse, Gloucester Harbor, Gloucester, Massachusetts

Originally built in 1821, current structure built in 1881.


Station Established: 1821
First Lit: Oct. 1821
Operational: Yes 
Automated: Yes- 1934
Deactivated: 1956 – Aug. 7,1989
Foundation Material: Brick
Construction Material: Stone / Cast Iron
Tower Shape: Conical stone was replaced by Cast Iron
Markings: White with Black Lantern- Original Brown
Relationship to Other Structures: Separate
Original Lens: Argon Lamps
Tower Height: 39 feet
Range: 5 miles
Original Optic: Fifth Order Fresnel Lens 
Present Optic: 375 mm Lens in 1966 / 250 mm Lens in 1976
Characteristics: Fixed White Light- 3 second red alternating 3 seconds of darkness
First Keeper: Amos Story
Current Use: Active Aid to Navigation
Fog Signal: Now automated horn with 2 blasts every 20 seconds-previously had a fog bell
National Register Status 

Historical Information:

* In 1820 The Commonwealth of Mass chutes and the town of Glouster ceded approx. 1.7 acres to the U.S. Government for the erection of an inner Harbor Lighthouse. 
* In 1821 a 40’ stone tower, house storage shed was built for $24,200.00 
* In 1881 stone tower was replaced by the present cast iron structure. 
* There are numerous roomers on how Ten Pound Island received its name. One was for the amount of money that was paid to the Coral Indians for the property.  
* Historian Joseph Garland wrote that it was more likely named for the number of sheep in pens (also known as pounds) on the island. 
* Another roomer is that a ten-pound cannonball fired from Stage Fort across the harbor reached the island. 
* Ten-pound Island was the most painted. The great American artist Winslow Homer painted it. Artist Fritz Hugh Lane also painted it. 
* During Winslow Homer’s stay he stayed with the Light keeper. He painted approx. 50 painting of the island and the Lighthouse.  
* In 1925 a Coast Guard air station was placed on the island with one small scout plane. Later 2 amphibious vehicles were added to the station. The purpose of the station was to catch rumrunners in the area during Prohibition. 
* In 1956 Ten Pound Island Light was decommissioned. The Fifth Order Frensel Lens was removed and replaced by a modern optic. The modern optic was placed on the bell tower. Later it was moved to a skeleton tower.  
* The Fifth Order Frensel Lens is now in The Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland Maine. 
* In the late 1980’s The Lighthouse Preservation Society initiated the restoration of the lighthouse. This took two years to complete. 

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