Newburyport, Massachusetts

Newburyport Harbor Lighthouse, also known as Plum Island Lighthouse, is a historic lighthouse situated on Plum Island in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Location Added By:

@masstravel (Flickr)

About This Location

The Plum Island Lighthouse, also known as the Plum Island Light or the Newburyport Harbor Light, stands as a testament to the rich maritime history of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Established in 1788, this historic lighthouse played a crucial role in guiding vessels through the often treacherous waters of the mouth of the Merrimack River, ensuring their safe entry into the harbor.

The need for the Plum Island Lighthouse arose from the bustling maritime activities in the region during the late 18th century. The lighthouse was strategically placed at the mouth of the Merrimack River on Plum Island to assist mariners in navigating the waters and safely reaching the harbor. Its location served as a vital aid in preventing shipwrecks and facilitating trade and commerce.

The original Plum Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1788, primarily as a wooden tower with a conical shape, standing 44 feet tall. Over the years, the lighthouse underwent several modifications and improvements. A keepers' dwelling was also added to the light station.

A dedicated line of lighthouse keepers diligently served at the Plum Island Lighthouse over the years. These keepers were responsible for ensuring the light's uninterrupted operation, often in challenging maritime conditions. They played a crucial role in maintaining the light's beacon, which provided a distinctive green light every 15 seconds, visible up to 10 nautical miles. The Plum Island Lighthouse continued to guide mariners, making their journeys safer and more manageable.

In recognition of its historical significance, the Plum Island Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 17, 1987, under reference number 87001485. Today, the lighthouse remains active and continues to serve as an important navigational aid.

The Plum Island Lighthouse and its immediate surroundings are owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. While the lighthouse tower itself is not typically open to the public, the grounds are accessible and offer a picturesque view of the coast. Visitors to the area can enjoy the natural beauty of Plum Island and its sandy shores, making it a popular destination for beachgoers and those interested in the area's maritime history. While tours of the tower are not regularly offered, the Plum Island Lighthouse stands as an enduring symbol of Newburyport's seafaring heritage.

Lighthouse Specs
  • Year Constructed: 1788
  • First Lit: 1788
  • Construction: Wood
  • Tower Shape: Conical
  • Height: 44 feet
  • Focal Height: 50 feet
  • Markings: White tower topped with black lantern
  • Characteristic: Occuplating green light every 15 seconds
  • Range: 10 nautical miles
  • Status: Active
  • NRHP Number: 87001485

Location Features

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Northern Boulevard, Newburyport, Massachusetts

GPS Coordinates:
42.815116, -70.818943
Directions to location:
Click here for location directions
Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
There is a large parking area across the street from the lighthouse. The parking area just off Northern Boulevard is mainly used for visitors to Plum Island Beach, but it is a great option for lighthouse visitors too.


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