Thacher Island Twin Lighthouses
A National Historic Landmark. Thacher Island, also known as Cape Ann Light Station, was named after Anthony Thacher, who lost his family in a shipwreck on the rocks surrounding the island in 1635. The Twin Lights are the only fully operational multiple lights on the coasts of the United States. The South tower has a red light flashing five times at 20-second intervals. The original Fresnel Lens of the South Tower, installed in 1861, is on display at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester. The North tower has an amber steady light which is maintained by Thacher Island Association as a “courtesy” memorial light to mariners who have passed away. The original 45-foot towers were constructed and lit in 1771 making them among the oldest of America’s lighthouses. The stout 123-foot granite towers seen today (with a focal point of 166 feet above sea level) replaced the original lights in 1861. The two towers, North and South, were constructed and placed so that when a ship puts sights on both towers, they point to true north, allowing sailors to check and adjust their compasses. The Thacher Island Association provides launch service from T-Wharf in Rockport Harbor to the island during the summer months, with advance reservations. For more information, visit thacherisland.org.
Thacher Island is located about a mile offshore of Rockport. The island may be viewed from several locations in Rockport and Gloucester, including Loblolly Cove and Pebble Beach. The Thacher Island Association provides a free boat service from Rockport Harbor to the island during the Summer, with advance reservations. For more information go to www.thacherisland.org
Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse
Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse was built in 1835 to mark the entrance to nearby Rockport Harbor. The present brick lighthouse was built in 1896 with a height of 37 feet and a focal plane of 46 feet above sea level. The relatively small lighthouse is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, yet is owned by the Town of Rockport, including the 1.8 acres upon which it sits. The rest of the 31-acre island is owned by the Massachusetts Audubon Society as a bird sanctuary. For more information, visit thacherisland.org.
The light is easily viewed from the tip of Bearskin Neck in downtown Rockport.