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Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse

Straitsmouth Island lighthouse

Rockport, Massachusetts
Built in 1835


Located on Straitsmouth Island, at the entrance to Rockport Harbor, offshore from the northeastern end of Cape Ann.

Latitude: 42° 39' 42" N
Longitude: 70° 35' 18" W


Historic Stories:

With Rockport’s growing granite trade, in addition to its already thriving fishing business, a lighthouse was necessary to guide ships to the Pigeon Cove pier where the granite stone was loaded, and Straitsmouth Island was deemed the ideal location.

Straitsmouth Island Light was built in 1835, and from the beginning was poorly constructed, becoming a leaky, watery, damp dwelling much to the misgivings of many of its keepers. early Straitsmouth light 1835

Straitsmouth Light (1835)
Courtesy US Coast Guard

In 1851, construction began on the new lighthouse as a 24-foot octagonal stone tower with a sixth-order Fresnel lens in 1857. The keeper however, remained housed in the original leaky dwelling until 1878.

early Straitsmouth light 1896

Straitsmouth Light (1896)
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Even when portions were rebuilt, poor construction again caused the buildings to quickly deteriorate.

In 1967, the land was deeded as a wildlife sanctuary with the lighthouse tower operated by the Coast Guard, but the Keeper’s dwelling was constantly vandalized and fell into total disrepair, with no funds for restoration. Some restoration efforts have been made to the lighthouse only. The island is now maintained and protected as a wildlife sanctuary by the Massachusetts Audubon Society.



Places to Visit:

Rockport is home to many artists and has been painted and photographed by the many tourists who flock to this picturesque seacoast village that offers restaurants, specialty shops and beaches. Rockport’s Front Beach is small and intimate, with places to eat you can walk to, and there is Back Beach and Old Garden Beach, which are small and a little out of the way, but with great views.

Visitors can explore nearby Thacher Island to view the two Thacher Island Lighthouses (also known as Twin Lights) if they join the Thacher Island Association during the summer months. sailboat passes by Straitsmouth Island light

There are also opportunities for guest accommodations for those that may want to stay overnight at the campsite nearby.

There are various tour boats leaving out of the T Wharf in Rockport for sailing, fishing, whale watching, and all kinds of recreational activities. The lighthouse is off limits to visitors as it is a protected wildlife sanctuary.


Contact Info:
Massachusetts Audubon Society
208 South Great Road

Lincoln, MA 01773

Phone: (781) 259-9500 or 1-


Local Boat Tours

Boat cruises mentioned below pass by Straitsmouth Light during specific lighthouse cruises, narrated wildlife and historic tours, whale watching, fishing tours and other types of excursions.

Thacher Island Association
Trip to Thacher Island may pass by the lighthouse. Has a "Lighthouses of Cape Ann" tour that passes by the lighthouse.
P.O.Box 73
Rockport, MA 01966
Launch Reservations: (617) 599-2590
Camping and Mooring Reservations: (508) 284-0144


Harbor Tours of Cape Ann
Passes by the lighthouse as part of their 6 lighthouse Cape Ann tour.
P.O. Box 719
Gloucester, MA 01930
(978) 283-1979


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 boat tours.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England





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