Eastern Point Lighthouse is a historic and iconic lighthouse located on Cape Ann in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The lighthouse acts as a navigational aid for ships entering Gloucester Harbor, the United States’ oldest seaport. Since 1616, the harbor has supported fisherman, whalers, and commerce.
Gloucester residents requested a lighthouse in the early 1800s to preserve their prized fleets of elegant schooners. A lighthouse was built on Ten Pound Island in Gloucester Port in 1821, although it was not visible from outside the harbor. Seafarers were known to mix up Bemo Ledge and Eastern Point, resulting in multiple shipwrecks in Brace Cove. Before the construction of the Eastern Point Lighthouse, a grove of oak trees functioned as a marker for approaching the port.
After purchasing a suitable land for $100 from George Burnham, a lighted stone daymark was constructed on the point in 1829 for $1,188. The first true lighthouse was built in 1831 at a cost of $2,579. With the addition of a wrought iron lantern and a copper dome, Samuel Friend transformed the previous day marker into a lighthouse. On January 1, 1832, the thirty-foot tower’s fixed white light was turned on for the first time.
In 1848, the tower was rebuilt, and then again in 1890. The existing conical brick tower, which rises 36 feet tall, is the third. Built in 1879, the lighthouse features an adjacent two-story keeper’s apartment. The real light is located at a height of 57 feet above Mean High Water. Its white light can be seen from a distance of 20 nautical miles. In 1985, when the Eastern Point Lighthouse was automated, about twenty neighbors attended the ceremony. Carroll Wonson, the light’s original keeper’s great-grandson, was granted the privilege of being the last person to manually turn on the light, which now flashes white every five seconds. In 1987, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The United States Coast Guard presently operates the lighthouse, which is closed to the public. Limited parking is available to see the lighthouse at the end of Eastern Point Blvd.
Ten Pound Island Light is located just a short distance from Eastern Point. Additionally, if you’re looking for more great lighthouses on the North Shore of Massachusetts, be sure to check out our blog post covering The 10 North Shore Massachusetts Lighthouses To Visit/Photograph!
- Originally constructed: 1833
- First lit: 1833
- Construction: Brick tower
- Tower shape: Conical
- Height: 36 feet (11 m)
- Focal height: 57 feet (17 m)
- Markings: White with black lantern and red roof
- Characteristic: Flashing white every 5 sec.
- Range: 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi)
- Status: Active
- NRHP number: 87002027
- Address: Eastern Point Blvd
- Town: Gloucester
- State: Massachusetts
- GPS: Lat 42.58024 Lng -70.66446
- Parking notes: There is limited parking near the lighthouse at the end of Eastern Point Blvd. There are about 12 parking spots. The parking lot is operated by the Massachusetts Audubon as part of the Eastern Point Wildlife Sanctuary. A small fee is requested from visitors on an honor system box ($5-$10).
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE