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Historical Materials: Flags, Lighthouses, & Navigation Aids

Historical Materials  »  Flags, Lighthouses, & Navigation Aids  »  Gloucester, Mass. – Eastern Point Light

Gloucester, Mass. – Eastern Point Light

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The Eastern Point Light is located in the town of Gloucester, Massachusetts on the east side of the entrance to Gloucester Harbor. In 1829, an unlit stone beacon was erected on Eastern Point to help mariners navigating Gloucester Harbor. Shortly thereafter, in 1832, a wrought-iron and copper lantern was added to the stone tower, and the first Eastern Point Light was born. During the 1840s, Gloucester became one of the most important fishing ports in America, and to cope with the increased fishing traffic, a new Eastern Point Light was built in 1848. The new 34 foot tower gained the nickname "The Ruby Light" due to its unique fixed red light. The Eastern Point Light was further improved upon in the following decades with the addition of a fourth-order Fresnel lens and fog bell.  

This information has been shared with the Lane project by Jeremy D'Entremont. More information can be found at his website, or in The Lighthouse Handbook New England. This information has also been summarized from Paul St. Germain's book, Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations on Cape Ann. 

Related tables: Eastern Point »

photo (historical)
Eastern Point Light
U.S. Coastguard

For over 100 years the fishermen of Gloucester have been guided back to their home port by a lighthouse on Eastern Point. The present brick tower, painted a gleaming white, and standing on the long rocky point forming the eastern side of the harbor, was built in 1890, replacing on the same foundation the original tower built in 1832. Before 1832 a still older lighthouse, on Ten-Pound Island well inside of the harbor, had served as an entrance light, but this light was never visible until ships had actually found the entrance, hence the building of a lighthouse on the Eastern Point where it could be seen from far offshore.

Courtesy United States Coast Guard.

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

1830 Mason Map
John Mason
Series Maps. v. 13: p. 17
SC1 / series 48X
Massachusetts Archives, Boston
1861 Cape Ann Advertiser 8.9.1861
Procter Brothers

 "There are quite a number of visitors in town at the present time, who come to spend a few weeks by the seaside, during the sultry weather of August."

1862 Cape Ann Advertiser 1.31.1862
Newspaper clipping
Cape Ann Advertiser
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"MARINE PAINTING. – F. H. Lane, Esq., has recently completed a picture for Dr. H. E. Davidson of this town. The painting represents a sunset scene in our harbor, which is taken near the cut bridge, introducing the beach covered with rocks and pebbles, steep bank, and Stage Fort, with the surrounding scenery in the vicinity. . . It is impossible to give an adequate idea of this painting by any description of ours, for it must be seen to be appreciated. It is the largest painting the artist has yet finished, and, in our opinion, his best. The painting is now on exhibition at the Studio, for a short time, where those who are interested in works of art can have an opportunity of viewing it."

photo (historical)
Eastern Point Light

Plate from The Illustrated Coast Pilot with Sailing Directions: The Coast of New England from New York to Eastport, Maine including Bays and Harbors, published by N. L. Stebbins,1896.

Also filed under: Eastern Point »

photo (historical)
Eastern Point Lighthouse
National Archives
Photography courtesy of :

Shows the lighthouse constructed in 1848.

photo (historical)
Eastern Point Lighthouse
John Heywood
Stereograph card
Published by Frank Rowell
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Eastern Point »

Fourth Order Fresnel Lens for Eastern Point Light Beacon
Barbier, Renard and Turenne, Paris, France
mid-19th century
Four circular glass prism lenses in a brass frame:
Lens diameters 19". Base 21" square x 19-1/2" high.
Cape Ann Museum. On permanent loan from the United States Coast Guard, 2013

When installed, the light source was fixed and the lens mount rotated.

Also filed under: Objects »

Citation: "Flags, Lighthouses, & Navigation Aids." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum.§ion=Gloucester%2C+Mass.+%E2%80%93+Eastern+Point+Light (accessed July 23, 2024).
Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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