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Boston Harbor Islands, A national park area Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

Little Brewster Island Facts

Home to the Boston Light the oldest lighthouse site in the country.
Managing Agency
U.S. Coast Guard
Agency Designation
Light Station Boston
Current Use
Aid to Navigation; park purposes.
Alternate Names
Beacon Island (1715)
Harbor Location
Outer Harbor

Longitude
Latitude

42° 19' 45.6" North  (Approximate center of island.)
70° 53' 30.5" West
From Long Wharf
9.33 miles
On-island Circulation
Concrete paths link the lighthouse, keeper's house, sheds and the dock facilities that are on the west side of island.
VISITOR SERVICES & FACILITIES
Hours
By arrangement.
Piers/Docks
Yes
Visitor Season
0
Boat slips
0
Visitor Staff
Yes
Moorings
0
Guided Tours
Yes
Park Boats
Park tour boat.
Lifeguards
No
Car Access
No
Toilets
flush - No
composting - No
Campsites
0 (capacity ea.: 0)
Picnic Areas
Cooking Grills
No
No
Group Campsites
0 (capacity ea: 0)
Refreshments
No
Camping Capacity
0
Drinking Water
No
Trails
No
Visitor Cautions
The island is composed of rock outcrops and bluffs that are sharp, slippery and steep thus visitors should be careful and stay on paths.
GENERAL INFORMATION
Total Acreage
7
2.97  upland acres
4.17  intertidal acres
Highest Elevation
18 ft.
Short History
This two-acre island is best known as the home of the Boston Light, the country's oldest continually used lighthouse site (1716). Originally financed by a tax of a penny a ton on all vessels entering and leaving the harbor, the stone lighthouse was largely destroyed by the British when they evacuated Boston at the close of the Revolutionary War, but was later rebuilt in 1783. In 1859, the tower was raised 14 feet to its present height of 102 feet above sea level, enabling its light to flash 27 miles out into the Atlantic. By 1990, the Coast Guard had automated every lighthouse in the United States, with the Boston Light scheduled to be the last in the process. Preservation groups appealed to Congress and the Coast Guard and funding was appropriated to keep Coast Guard staff on the island, where they remain to this day, recording meteorological data in addition to maintaining the light and structures on the island.
Vegetation
Most of the island is covered with mowed turf. Some seasonal flowers are planted around the keepers house.
Wildlife
Overview survey in progress.
Geology
The island is composed of exposed bedrock and covered with a thin layer of soil.
Water Features
Two cisterns collect rainwater for the keepers. One is located in the keeper's house. The other larger cistern is housed under a hip-roofed shed that collects rain.
Views and Vistas
Rising 89 feet, visitors that ascend the light with the permission of the U. S. Coast Guard staff enjoy excellent views of the Brewsters, the Graves, Hull, the inner islands and the Boston skyline, almost ten miles away. On the ground the island offers unrestricted views due to the lack of vegetation
Buildings
Lighthouse - 89 feet high, rubble stone, brick and granite, strengthened with iron bands; lighthouse entry building (attached to tower) - 1 story brick; keeper’s house - 1 1/2 story frame and clapboard; cistern and shelter - one story wooden, hipped roof shed & 20,000 gallon tank; generator building - one story, one-room stone structure with mounted foghorn; oil house - one story white painted brick.
Fortifications
None
Other Structures
Cisterns; piers - concrete and steel with marine railway to boathouse.
Comments
Boston Light is a National Historic Landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places
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