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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.

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

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 offer many types of cruises.


Boston Harbor Islands Park Service and Boston Harbor Now
Narrated boat trips are provided by the park rangers running every weekend during the summer where you can see Boston Harbor Light, Graves Light, and Long Island Head Light. They are predominantly involved in the preservation of all 34 islands in the harbor.

Note: Boston Light is undergoing repairs, therefore, there are no tours of the lighthouse tower in 2023.

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

Boston Harbor Now
1 Constitution Road
Boston, MA 02129
Phone: (617) 223-8667

Lighthouses: Boston Harbor Light, Long Island Head Light, Graves Light



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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