Old Scituate Light, also called simply Scituate Light, is a historic lighthouse located on Cedar Point in Scituate, Massachusetts. It is the fifth oldest lighthouse in New England.
The US government set aside $4,000 in May 1810 to construct a lighthouse at the entrance to Scituate Harbor to enhance navigation. On September 19, 1811, the lighthouse was finished two months ahead of the original schedule, This made it the 11th lighthouse built in the United States. The octagonal tower is composed of granite blocks and stands 25 feet tall. There was also a one-and-a-half-story keeper’s residence and an oil storage shed. Three men from nearby Hingham, Massachusetts, built all of these structures.
During the War of 1812, the lighthouse was spotlighted when Rebecca and Abagail Bates (“The Lighthouse Army of Two”) fended off a British invasion in September 1814. Captain Bates, the lighthouse keeper, was away with some family at the time, and his two daughters were alone at the keeper’s dwelling. The girls became aware of the approaching soldiers and began playing their fife and drum loudly. Because they thought the sound was from the Scituate town militia, the British retreated.
The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1850 due to the completion of Minot’s Ledge Light nearby. After a storm toppled the first Minot’s Ledge Light, Scituate Light was reopened in 1852. It was given a new Fresnel lens in 1855. After the second tower at Minot’s Ledge was completed in 1860, the Scituate Light was once again removed from duty. The lighthouse deteriorated during the next 60 years due to lack of use and maintenance.
The lighthouse was placed up for sale in 1916, and the municipality of Scituate bought it for $4,000 in 1917. A modern replica lantern was added in 1930. The lighthouse was in a condition of ruin in 1962. For repairs, the Scituate Historical Society set aside $6,500. In 1988, the lighthouse was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places. The lighthouse was re-lit in 1991, with the light visible only from the land; in 1994, the light was made viewable from the water as a private navigational aid.
Today, the Scituate Historical Society offers tours from time to time. Bob Gallagher, a history teacher at Marshfield High School in Marshfield, Massachusetts, is the present-day keeper. The house of the caretaker is a private residence, so please respect that property and do not trespass.
Looking for more great places to explore in Massachusetts? Check out the GoXplr Massachusetts Map at goxplr.com/map/massachusetts
- Originally constructed: 1811
- First lit: 1811
- Construction: Granite/brick
- Tower shape: Octagonal conical
- Height: 25 feet (7.6 m)
- Focal height: 49 feet (15 m)
- Markings: White with green lantern room roof
- Characteristic: Flashing white 15s, private aid
- Range: N/A
- Status: Active – Private Aid
- NRHP number: 87001490