Scituate, Massachusetts

Scituate Lighthouse, proudly perched on Cedar Point in Scituate, Massachusetts, is a storied sentinel of the sea and one of the oldest in the United States.

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Scituate Lighthouse: Guiding Mariners Through History

Scituate Lighthouse, proudly perched on Cedar Point in Scituate, Massachusetts, is a storied sentinel of the sea. As the fifth oldest lighthouse in New England, it has played a vital role in maritime history and earned its place in the annals of American navigation.

A Beacon Born of Necessity

In May 1810, the U.S. government allocated $4,000 to construct a lighthouse at the entrance to Scituate Harbor, recognizing the need to enhance navigation along this treacherous coastline. Remarkably, the lighthouse was completed ahead of schedule, on September 19, 1811. This accomplishment marked it as the 11th lighthouse built in the United States.

A Tower of Strength

The lighthouse itself is a testament to enduring craftsmanship. The octagonal tower, constructed from rugged granite blocks, stands at a height of 25 feet. Accompanying the tower were a one-and-a-half-story keeper's residence and an oil storage shed, all built by three dedicated workers from nearby Hingham, Massachusetts.

The Lighthouse Army of Two

During the War of 1812, Scituate Lighthouse gained renown as the backdrop for a remarkable feat of bravery by Rebecca and Abigail Bates, affectionately known as "The Lighthouse Army of Two." With Captain Bates, the lighthouse keeper, away from home, his two daughters courageously defended the lighthouse against a British invasion in September 1814. Alone at the keeper's dwelling, the sisters skillfully played their fife and drum, creating a ruckus that misled the British soldiers into thinking they faced a local militia. The invaders hastily retreated, thanks to the quick thinking and bravery of these two young women.

Rise, Fall, and Rise Again

The lighthouse served its critical navigational role until 1850 when Minot's Ledge Light, located nearby, took over its duties. After the first Minot's Ledge Light was destroyed in a storm, Scituate Light was reactivated in 1852. It received a new Fresnel lens in 1855. However, after the second Minot's Ledge Light was completed in 1860, Scituate Light once again dimmed.

Over the next six decades, disuse and neglect took their toll on the lighthouse, causing it to deteriorate.

A Beacon Restored

In 1916, Scituate Lighthouse was put up for sale, and the town of Scituate stepped in to purchase it for $4,000 in 1917. A modern replica lantern was added in 1930, breathing new life into the aging structure. Recognizing its historical significance, the Scituate Historical Society allocated $6,500 for repairs in 1962, restoring the lighthouse to its former glory.

A National Treasure

On June 15, 1987, Scituate Lighthouse achieved a well-deserved accolade, earning a place on the National Register of Historic Places. This prestigious recognition acknowledges the lighthouse's cultural and historical importance. Its reference number, 87001490, enshrines it as a cherished part of American heritage.

A Light Rekindled

In 1991, Scituate Lighthouse's light was rekindled, although visible only from land. By 1994, the light became viewable from the water as a private navigational aid, maintaining its role as a guiding presence along the coast. Its white flash every 15 seconds remains a familiar sight for mariners.

A Keeper's Legacy

Today, the Scituate Historical Society occasionally offers tours of the lighthouse, allowing visitors to step back in time. Bob Gallagher, a history teacher at Marshfield High School in Marshfield, Massachusetts, proudly serves as the present-day keeper. Since the keeper's house remains a private residence, the public is encouraged to respect the property and avoid trespassing. The rest of the property is open to the public and visitors are welcome.

A Place of Beauty and History

Scituate Lighthouse's captivating presence continues to draw admirers and photographers, especially during the enchanting moments of sunrise and sunset. Accessible via Lighthouse Road, a large parking lot at the lighthouse's end offers around 60 free parking spaces, making it a favored destination for all who appreciate the allure of this maritime treasure.

Location Features

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100 Lighthouse Road, Scituate, Massachusetts

GPS Coordinates:
42.204758, -70.715819
Directions to location:
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Directions to parking area:
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Parking Notes:
There is a large parking lot for visitors of the lighthouse and it can be found at the end of Lighthouse Road in Scituate. Parking at the Scituate Lighthouse lot is free and there are about 60 spaces.


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