June 25: Boston Light, a 300th anniversary lighthouse tour

 

Update: Event photos


bl1Founded in 1716, Boston Light is America’s oldest light station and today the last manned lighthouse in the Coast Guard system.  Over the years, the lighthouse was celebrated in a poem by young Ben Franklin, thrice burned by Patriot forces, then blown up by the retreating British.  Since being rebuilt in 1783, it has guided sailors safely into Boston Harbor and served as the base of operations for dramatic rescues on the high seas.

In celebration of the 300th anniversary of Boston Light, we will take a ferry to Little Brewster Island to get up close and personal with it.  While on the island, we’ll have an opportunity to talk to lighthouse keeper Sally Snowman, explore the historic structures on the island, enjoy panoramic views of the Boston skyline and Boston Harbor Islands, and climb 76 steps to the top of the lighthouse to view its 1859 Fresnel lens.

Boston Light

Boston Light

This two-acre island is best known as the home of Boston Light, the country’s oldest continually used lighthouse site (1716). Originally financed by a tax of a penny-a-ton on all vessels entering and leaving the harbor, the stone lighthouse was largely destroyed by the British when they evacuated Boston at the close of the Revolutionary War, but was rebuilt in 1783. In 1859, the tower was raised 14 feet to its present height of 102 feet above sea level, enabling its light to flash 27 miles out into the Atlantic. By 1990, the Coast Guard had automated every lighthouse in the United States, with Boston Light scheduled to be last in the process. Preservation groups appealed to Congress and the Coast Guard and funding was appropriated to keep Coast Guard staff on the island, where they remain to this day, recording meteorological data in addition to maintaining the light and structures on the island.

National Park Service

The entire journey will take about 3 1/2 hours, so bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the island.  Also, please note that open-heeled shoes (sandals, flip flops, etc) aren’t permitted when climbing the lighthouse.

When

Saturday, June 25 at 9:30am (NOTE: The original time has changed, and this is now a morning tour.)

Where

Our tour will meet at the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center, located on the Rose Kennedy Greenway next to the carousel.  You can plug 200 Atlantic Ave into your GPS, which is about half a block away.  There are several parking garages in the vicinity, including on Long Wharf, Broad Street, State Street, Clinton Street, and Atlantic Ave.  Any garage that would work for Faneuil Hall or the Aquarium will be okay for this event.  Just check price and availability as you arrive, as they sometimes fill up.

Transit

Aquarium Station on the MBTA Blue Line is located less than a block down Atlantic Avenue.

Register

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