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Long Island Head Lighthouse

Long Island Head lighthouse

Boston, Massachusetts
Built in 1819



The lighthouse, located on Long Island, marks the entrance to Boston Harbor.

Latitude: 42° 19' 48" N
Longitude: 70° 57' 30" W

Historic Stories:

Long Island is the longest and largest of the 34 islands in Boston Harbor.

Long Island Head Lighthouse was built as the nation’s first cast-iron lighthouse.



early image Long Island Head light
Early 1800's Construction
Courtesy of US Coast Guard

long is head light 1900
Constructed in 1900.
Courtesy US Coast Guard

In 1865, the schooner Joseph Fish was anchored near Long Island Head light on a foggy day when it was rammed by another vessel.

The schooner was carrying over 1,200 barrels of petroleum and instantly caught fire. The schooner was totally destroyed but no one was injured.

Riding the Coffin

One of the more bizarre stories involves the death of one of its Keepers, Edwin Tarr who reportedly died while sitting in his chair facing the harbor in 1918. When his funeral was held at the lighthouse, a sleet storm came through during the service. As the pallbearers were trying to carry the casket over the ice covering the path to the burial site, one of them lost his grip and slipped, causing the coffin to fall and slide on the ice. The pallbearers quickly jumped on the coffin in an attempt to slow it down, and rode it down the hill until it came to rest just at the head of the wharf where the service continued without any more problems.



Places to Visit:

Long Island Head Light can be viewed from any of the boats leaving Boston's historic Long Wharf and Rowes Wharf for scenic cruises in the harbor. It is owned by the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, and the beacon and grounds are not open to the public. Tours from Massachusetts Bay Lines, Boston Harbor Cruises, Friends Of Boston Harbor Islands, and Spirit Cruises of Boston, among others, may pass by the lighthouse.

Every summer, the Boston Harbor Island Park Service in coordination with the National Park Service and the Coast Guard, have developed an exciting narrated lighthouse tour around the harbor, around Boston light, Graves light, and Long Point light. fishing in Boston Harbor by Boston light

It not only provides a rich maritime history of Boston Harbor along with views of Graves Light and Long Island Head Light, but docks on Little Brewster Island and allows you to climb the tower of Boston Light.

Check out Boston's North End, Boston's oldest neighborhood, after visiting the lighthouse and touring Boston Harbor from Long Wharf. You'll plenty of mostly Italian cuisine, and lots of festivals and events year round.


Contact Info:

Boston Harbor Islands Park Serivce
191W Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110
Phone: (617) 223-8666


Boston's Waterfront Directions

Directions to Boston's Rowes Wharf for Harbor Cruises:

Directions to Boston's Long Wharf for Harbor Cruises



Local Boat Tours For Visitors

Boat cruises and ferries mentioned below may offer many types of cruises. While some may offer specific lighthouse cruises, some will pass by Long Island Head Light as part of their charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, whale watching, fishing tours and other types of excursions.

Boston Harbor Islands Park Serivce
Escorted trips by the park rangers are provided to Little Brewster Island, and visitors can climb Boston light. Boat trips during the summer out to Little Brewster Island where you can see and climb up the tower of Boston Harbor Light. Views of the two other historic lighthouses of Boston Harbor – Long Island Head Light and The Graves Light - are included in the tour. Boston Light Tours begin around mid-June and run through early October.
191W Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110
Phone: (617) 223-8666



Massachusetts Bay Lines
Harbor Cruises along Boston’s Historic Waterfront
60 Rowes Wharf
Boston, Massachusetts, 02110
(617) 542-8000
Fax (617) 951-0700



Liberty Fleet Cruises
Schooner sailboat cruises in Boston Harbor
67 Long Wharf
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 742-0333



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.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England

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