National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Lighthouse Postcards

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Boston postcard face - click to enlarge

Boston postcard obverse - click to enlarge

Locate on NOAA nautical chart

Historical chart


State: MA
Year established: 1716
Latitude: 42 deg 19 min 41 sec N
Longitude: 70 deg 53 min 24 sec W
Height above sea level: 102 feet

Original construction:
stone tower

1783: 75-foot rubblestone tower, to replace the tower destroyed by the British in 1776
1859: present tower, raised to 89-foot, brick lining and new lantern room added

Electrified in 1948, automated in 1998, active aid to navigation

Light characteristic:
Flashing white every 10 seconds visible for 27 nautical miles; fog signal, one blast every 30 seconds

The first lighthouse built in North America, and the last to be automated in the U.S.

More information:
Holland Jr., F. Ross, Great American Lighthouses, National Historic Trust Guide, (Washington, DC: The Preservation Press, 1989), pp. 98-100
Holland Jr., F. Ross, America's Lighthouses: Their Illustrated History Since 1716, (Brattleboro, VT: The Stephen Greene Press, 1972), pp. 69-72
Office of the Light House Board, List of Lights and Fog Signals on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States, (Washington, DC: GPO, 1895), pp. 30-31