Minot Ledge Light, Boston Harbor

Location: Cohasset Rocks, outside Boston Harbor
Nearest towns: Scituate and Cohasset
Position: 42°16’12″N 70°45’30″W

Station established: 1850; Present lighthouse built: 1860; Automated: 1947
Tower height: 114 feet; Height of focal plane: 85 feet
Earlier optic: Second-order Fresnel (1860), Third-order Fresnel (1947); Present optic: 300 mm (solar powered)
Characteristic: Flashing white (1-4-3); Fog signal: One blast every 10 seconds
Other buildings still standing: 1858 keeper’s house, assistant keeper’s house and oil house (all on Government Island, Cohasset)

“Minot’s Rocks… lie off the southeastern chop of Boston Bay. These rocks or ledges… have been the terror of mariners for a long period of years; they have been, probably, the cause of a greater number of wrecks than any other ledges or reefs upon the coast.” — Captain William H. Swift

Here was the new iron light-house, then unfinished, in the shape of an egg-shell painted red, and placed high on iron pillars, like the ovum of a sea monster floating on the waves…When I passed it the next summer it was finished and two men lived in it, and a light-house keeper said that in a recent gale it had rocked so as to shake the plates off the table. Think of making your bed thus in the crest of a breaker!” –Henry David Thoreau, 1949
Writing about the original structure which was destroyed by a storm in 1851.

“We find ourselves at the base of the lighthouse rising sheer out of the sea… We are hoisted up forty feet in a chair, some of us; others go up by an iron ladder… The lighthouse rises out of the sea like a beautiful stone cannon, mouth upward, belching forth only friendly fires.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Visited Minot’s Light in 1871

Read more about the history of this lighthouse HERE
The model in Rodney Graham’s piece The Lighthouse Keeper with Lighthouse Model 1955, is of the Minot’s Ledge light; the iconic deep water American Lighthouse.

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