Boston Light

Boston, MA
United States
Boston Light

Located on Little Brewster Island in Massachusetts Bay, more than nine miles from Boston’s Long Wharf, this historic lighthouse sits among a cluster of buildings and structures associated with its ongoing operation. The island is part of the Brewsters, the outermost island grouping in Boston Harbor. Built in 1716, Boston Light is the oldest continuously used light station in the U.S. Partially destroyed during the Revolutionary War in 1776, it was rebuilt in 1783 and ceded to the federal government in 1790. In 1989 a law was passed that required that Boston Light be permanently manned, making it the only manned lighthouse in the United States. The law also required that public access to Little Brewster Island be facilitated, which occurred in the 1990s, culminating in the official opening of the island to the public in 1999.

Three acres in size, Little Brewster Island is a rocky outcropping with little vegetation. It sits eighteen feet above sea level along a submerged ledge at the mouth of the harbor. The central portion of the island has been flattened and contains the lighthouse and associated facilities within a lawn area. The complex gives way to rocky bluffs in all directions. The island is accessed via a concrete landing at its west end. Paved paths link the landing dock with the lighthouse, the light keeper’s house (constructed in 1884 and restored in 1990), and the other buildings and structures supporting lighthouse operations. The other Harbor Islands and the Boston skyline are visible in the distance. Boston Light was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. Little Brewster Island, inclusive of Boston Light, became a centerpiece of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area upon the latter’s designation as part of the National Park unit in 1996.