Ten Pound Island Light

[photo]
Ten Pound Island Light
Photo by Jeremy D'Entremont, www.lighthouse.cc
Ten Pound is a small island located at the eastern end of Gloucester Harbor with shoals between it and the mainland to the east. The island allegedly received its name from the amount of money the early settlers paid the local American Indian tribe for it or for the number of sheep pens (pounds) that it could hold. Ten Pound Island Light Station was established in 1821 to safely guide mariners into Gloucester's inner harbor. During the summer of 1880, American artist Winslow Homer (1836-1910) stayed with the lighthouse keeper on the island. Homer produced about 50 paintings of Gloucester Harbor during his stay. Ten Pound Island Light is evident in some of the paintings and can also be seen in some of the works by Gloucester artist Fitz Hugh Lane (1804-1865).

[photo]
Historic photo of Ten Pound Island Light, with keeper's dwelling
Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard

The present conical cast-iron tower replaced the original stone tower in 1881. Resting on a brick foundation, the tower is 30 feet tall and topped with a fifth-order lantern. Other associated buildings include a granite oil house (1821) and a keeper's dwelling. A U.S. Fish Hatchery was constructed on the island in 1889 and abandoned in 1954. In order to uphold Prohibition laws, the U.S. Coast Guard established an air station on the island in 1925. Ten Pound Island Light Station was decommissioned in 1956 and replaced by a modern optic atop an old bell tower on the island. The same optic was subsequently moved to a skeleton tower on the island. The original Fresnel lens was removed from the lantern and is currently on display at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine.


[photo]
Ten Pound Island Light
Photo by Jeremy D'Entremont, www.lighthouse.cc
The Lighthouse Preservation Society based in Newburyport, Massachusetts initiated the restoration of Ten Pound Island Light in the late 1980s. At the completion of the project, the modern optic was installed atop the tower and relit as a Federal aid to navigation on August 7, 1989. Although the keeper's dwelling lies in ruins, the oil house underwent restoration in 1995. Today, Ten Pound Island Light continues to operate as an active aid to navigation.

Ten Pound Island Light Station is located on Ten Pound Island in Gloucester Harbor. The island is owned by the City of Gloucester, which maintains walking paths to the lighthouse. Ten Pound Island Light is owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard as a Federal aid to navigation and is closed to the public. The island is open to private boaters, however landing is difficult due to the lack of a landing facility. The light station can be viewed by boat or from several points along the Gloucester waterfront.

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