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Annisquam Harbor Lighthouse

Annisquam Harbor light

36 Norwood Heights, Annisquam, Massachusetts
Built in 1801



At what is known as Wigwam Point marking the entrance to Annisquam Harbor. The lighthouse is on Lighthouse Road off from Wigwam Road.

Latitude: 42° 39' 43" N
Longitude: 70° 40' 52" W


Historic Stories:

Wigwam Point near the current lighthouse was once a gathering place for local Native Americans.

early image Annisquam lighthouse

Vintage Image Annisquam Light
Courtesy US Coast Guard

The lighthouse was built at the entrance to Annisquam Harbor in 1801, than replaced in 1897.

The first Keeper, George Day, tended the lighthouse from 1801 to 1850. He was allowed to keep a cow by the station for sometime to provide milk for his family.

Rudyard Kipling stayed at the station once to work on his book, Captain’s Courageous.


Wreck of Two Schooners- Same Location, Same Day

On September 26, 1888, during a storm, two schooners went around on Coffin’s Beach, across the river from the lighthouse. One was the two-masted I. W. Hine, which the crew was able to make ashore without assistance or serious injuries. The schooner was refloated days later.

The other wreck that day was the Abbie B. Cramer, a three-masted coal schooner from Baltimore that was heading for Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Keeper Hooper saw the distress signal and notified the Davis Neck Lifesaving Station nearby. As the lifesavers arrived on the beach a distance from the wreck, they tried to land a line for a breeches buoy, but they couldn't hit their target with several tries.

A group of Massachusetts Humane Society volunteers came to the lighthouse and took a lifeboat by the lighthouse to help the crew of the Cramer across the river. Annisquam lighthouse

At first they had to row the heavy boat across the river to the west side, and then they had to carry it two miles along the beach to get near the wreck, as they were unable to launch the boat in the rough waves. The exhausted lifesavers finally launched the boat into the surf and succeeded in rescuing the entire crew of the Cramer, who had been clinging to the rigging waiting for help for many hours. The schooner was a complete loss and years later Keeper Hooper reported he could still see wood fragments from the schooner sticking out of the sand at low tide.

water view of Annisquam Lighthouse


1n 1890, the schooner Mexican with a cargo of coal, got caught in a September nor 'easter and wrecked about 500 feet from the lighthouse. The crew made it ashore, from the wreck, and that winter, many locals salvaged the stranded coal for their heat.

1914 early image Annisquam lighthouse

1914 Early Image
Courtesy US Coast Guard

In 1922, a newly developed electrified fourth-order lens was added to the lighthouse with a single light source…a 100-watt light bulb.

The light could be viewed eight nautical miles out.



Places to Visit Nearby:

The lighthouse is located in the middle of a small waterfront neighborhood and is off limits to visitors, especially during the summer months. If you need to get photos, plan off-season, pull over on the road, take your chances and get some images. Annisquam is located just outside the city of Gloucester.

beach by Annisquam light There is a beach nearby the lighthouse that provides nice views of the lighthouse, especially in the off-season.

During the summer months the beach is open to residents only. Wingaersheek Beach located across the river in Gloucester, displays a nice view of the lighthouse. You can not hang out at the beach as a non-resident during the summer months. During low tide it is possible to walk a good distance from the beach to get close to the lighthouse.

This is primarily a boating community that resides along the Annisquam River, which is a tidal, salt-water estuary in Annisquam, connecting Annisquam Harbor on the north to Gloucester Harbor on the south.

Heading out of Annisquam, taking Route 133 North onto Route 1A, is the little historic town of Ipswich. The Crane Estate on Castle Hill is one of the most famous seaside estates with the mansion steeped in Italian Renaissance, and hiking trails on the wildlife refuge. There you’ll find one of the cleanest beaches, Crane Beach. It is on 1,234 acres of conservation land consisting of four miles of a long sandy beachfront, dunes, and a maritime pitch pine forest.




The lighthouse property has been purchased by a new private owner who has blocked the parking lot for security concerns. The beach nearby is also private for residents only and is strictly enforced during the summer season. With these changes if you want to try to get pictures of the lighthouse from the beach side, go there during the off season. Its basically take a chance parking quickly, take a photo and drive off. There is no place to get permission.


Local Boat Tour

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



New Book Just Published Summer 2023!

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships:
Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted
Coal Schooners of New England

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

Available also as an eBook and you can get it at Amazon Books.

Look inside!

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships amid social and political reforms. These giants of sail were the ten original six-masted coal schooners and one colossal seven-masted vessel, built to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies, and measured longer than a football field!

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases true stories that include competitions, accidents, battling destructive storms, acts of heroism, and their final voyages.

Click for larger video here.



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 you can explore, and tours.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England




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