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Eastern Point Lighthouse

eastern point light

Gloucester, Massachusetts
Built in 1832


Location:

Marking the eastern side of the entrance to Gloucester Harbor. Outside grounds along the jetty are open to the public year round.

Latitude: 42° 34' 49" N
Longitude: 70° 39' 52" W

 

Historic Stories:

In 1817, several witnesses including a man named Amos Story claimed to have seen a 50-foot sea serpent in Gloucester Harbor. He later became Keeper of Ten Pound Island light.

The Eastern Point Lighthouse was built in 1832 to accommodate the increasing shipping and commercial fishing happening at Gloucester Harbor.

 

eastern point light 1832

Eastern Point Light, 1832 Construction
Courtesy US Coast Guard

With the arrival of the railroad in 1847, it provided such a huge amount of business in transporting products from its ports that Gloucester grew into one of the world’s largest fishing ports in the 19th century. Today it is America’s oldest fishing port.

The lighthouse was built to guide mariners into busy Gloucester Harbor safely, and was rebuilt two more times at its current location. The 2,200 foot breakwater was built in the 1890’s and is a main attraction for visitors to the lighthouse to observe the lighthouse from the water. Many observers can view the rocks at a certain angle where the lighthouse is located to see an outline in the rocks of "Mother Ann", resembling the shape of a reclining woman.

easter point breakwater

Breakwater Rescue

With the completion of the breakwater, may visitors today walk along this structure to enjoy spectacular views, some especially during violent weather to take on a different and sometimes deadly perspective. During a stormy day in November 1974, Keeper Robert Foley and his assistant, Rodney Jacobson, were working on the lighthouse tower when they spotted two men at the end of the breakwater getting sprayed by the crashing waves. All of sudden the two men were swept over the rocks by a huge rogue wave and started thrashing about in the freezing waters. Others, who were also on the breakwater tried to jump in to rescue the men,

Foley ran to get the police while Jacobson launched a small row boat at the waters edge. As Jacobson tried to maneuver his boat to the two young men, one of the men panicked trying to get into the boat and overturned it, dumping Jacobson into the icy waters. Trying to remain calm, Jacobson realized the frightened man could not swim and pulled him onto the overturned boat, telling him to hold on. Luckily, around the same time the young man's friend was also able to grab and cling onto the boat. One of those good samaritans who jumped in the water from the breaker to help, assisted the frightened man who couldn't swim while Jacobson, nearly exhausted, swam quickly to shore where he was met by Keeper Foley with George Doucette just approaching to assist in the rescue. The three men went into the water and were able to haul the boat with its survivors to the shore to safety. All participants on the breakwater were brought to the hospital, and treated with no major injuries, while the three rescuers dried off at the lighthouse.

 

New England Lighthouses

 

Places to Visit Nearby:

America's oldest seaport, in Gloucester you’ll find a thriving community steeped in history, the arts, and maritime culture. There are also plenty of places to eat here. Gloucester is still one of the main commercial fishing ports in Massachusetts and offers plenty of deep-sea fishing and whale watching excursions; some may pass close to the lighthouse. The Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial Statue is a national icon that looks out over Gloucester Harbor as a memorial to those that lost their lives in this challenging industry. There is also a "Fisherman's Wives Memorial" nearby, dedicated to the families who suffered from the loss of husbands, sons, and brothers.

The Beauport Museum is a beautiful 40-room mansion sitting on the rocks along Gloucester Harbor, visited by many of the famous including Eleanor Roosevelt. Hammond Castle allows visitors to explore on their own, this medieval-style structure built by famed inventor James Hammond for his wife.

For those who want to enjoy sailing on classic schooners (or windjammers), Gloucester provides the schooner Adventure, schooner Thomas E. Lannon, and schooner Ardelle.

Thomas Lannon passes by Hammond Castle

Maritime Gloucester is a non-profit organization offering a working waterfront museum, with educational workshops and camps, an aquarium, galleries, and the classic schooner Adventure. It’s a restored 1926 Gloucester Dory Fishing Schooner that is deemed a national historic landmark and open for sailing and educational dockside tours. The schooner Ardelle provides educational workshops, boatbuilding workshops, and music sails departing also from the Gloucester Maritime Center. The schooner Thomas E. Lannon provides sunset sails and two-hour sails around Gloucester Harbor. Master boat builder Harold Burnham built both the Schooner Ardelle, and the schooner Thomas E. Lannon locally in Essex with plenty of volunteers and other builders who want to keep the heritage of these vessels alive. Both vessels are available for private and public sails.

The area is also a thriving with artists from all backgrounds from paint, to photography, to music, to theater. The Cape Anne Museum for instance, offers exhibits and events in art, history and culture of the Cape Ann area. The Rocky Neck Art Colony in East Gloucester is the oldest continuously operating art colony in America.

Visitors can drive to Gloucester’s Eastern Point Light and hike along the half-mile jetty to gain a unique perspective to the lighthouse. Along the drive to the lighthouse you’ll find plenty of historic mansions to gaze at from the road as you’ll also notice “Private Road” signs, but you can still drive through to the lighthouse. The lighthouse has an ample parking area and a long jetty to walk out and provides nice views of the lighthouse from the water perspective.

eastern point light

 

Directions to Eastern Point Light:

eastern pt breakwater

Directions to Gloucester's Rose Wharf

 

 

Local Boat Tours

Boat cruises mentioned below may offer many types of cruises. While some may offer specific lighthouse cruises, some will pass by specific lighthouses as part of charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, whale watching, fishing tours and other types of excursions. Most boats pass by Eastern Point Lighthouse coming out of and going into Gloucester Harbor. Contact info is provided to help you plan your special trips to New England’s shorelines. Enjoy!

 

Harbor Tours Inc. of Cape Ann
In addition to its lobstering and harbor tours, they provide a special Cape Ann Lighthouse Cruise all along Cape Ann that covers six area lighthouses.
P.O. Box 719
Gloucester, MA 01930
(978) 283-1979
email info@capeannharbortours.com.

 

 

7 Seas Whale Watch
In addition to whaling and deep sea fishing excursions, offers narrative Lighthouse and Lobstering tour that includes Ten Pound Island Light and Eastern Point Light as part of their Outer Harbor Tour as a charter service for large groups.
Seven Sea's Whale Watch
63 Rogers Street (next to the Gloucester House Restaurant)
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
1-888-283-1776

 

 

Thacher Island Association
Trips to Thacher Island provided. Tours around the area are also offered.
P.O.Box 73
Rockport, MA 01966
Launch Reservations: (617) 599-2590
Camping and Mooring Reservations: (508) 284-0144
E-Mail: info@thacherisland.org

 

 

Boston Harbor Cruises
They offer a special Northern Lights tour from Boston Harbor up along the North Shore, co-sponsored with the Friends of Boston Harbor Islands.
One Long Wharf
Boston, Mass. 02110
(617) 223-8666
(877) 733-925

 

 

My 300-page book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, provides special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions and tours to go exploring. You'll also find over 360 images to enjoy.

Look inside!

 

 

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