Boston Light. Photo by Jwgetchell (CC 4.0)


Happy 300th Birthday Boston Light!

Originally lit in 1716, Boston Light, the nation’s first lighthouse turned 300 this week. Built on Little Brewster Island in Boston Harbor, the first light was destroyed in 1776 by retreating British forces during the American Revolutionary War.

Caption: “To the Merchants of Boston this View of the Light House is most humbly presented By their Humble Servt Wm. Burgis.” Reproduction of mezzotint. United States Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division (PD)


The current lighthouse was rebuilt in 1783, and when they subsequently raised it to its present height in 1859, a new lantern room was added, with a new 12-sided second-order Fresnel lens, that is still in use today.

Flashing every 10 seconds, the 1,800,000 candlepower beam is visible for 27 nautical miles.

Photo by MBTafan2011 (CC 3.0)


Boston Light is the second oldest working lighthouse in the United States (after Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey), and is the only lighthouse to still be actively staffed by the United States Coast Guard.


posted by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee