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Ten Pound Island Lighthouse

Ten Pound Island lighthouse

Gloucester, Massachusetts
Built in 1821



Located on Ten Pound Island in Gloucester Harbor.

Latitude: 42° 36' 06" N
Longitude: 70° 39' 54" W


Historic Stories:

Ten Pound Island, on the east side of Gloucester Harbor, received its name as this was presumably the amount of money the early settlers paid to the local Indians for the number of sheep pens, referred to as “pounds”, that the island could hold.

The Serpent Sighting

In 1817, Ten Pound Island and Gloucester Harbor became a local tourist attraction when several of the locals reported observing what they called a large sea serpent near the island. early Ten Pound Island light 1821 construction

Early Ten Point Island Light (1821)
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Amos Story went a bit further to make those believe as to make a sworn statement on the validity of his sighting. In a separate sighting, Story’s wife also reported observing what she first thought was a huge log until it moved. Throughout the ensuing months many other witnesses would report of a sleek brown serpent-like creature in Gloucester Harbor.

Amos Story would later become the keeper at the lighthouse in 1833.

sunset by Ten Pound Island light


During the summer of 1880, American artist Winslow Homer (1836-1910) stayed with the lighthouse keeper on the island. early Ten Pound Island light 1881

Early Ten Pound Island Light (1881)
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Homer produced about 50 paintings of Gloucester Harbor during his stay, some of which include the lighthouse.

In 1925, during prohibition, the Coast Guard would place amphibious vehicles by the island shore to catch rumrunners in the area.

In 1940, just before Christmas, Keeper Ed Hopkins’ wife, who wanted to guide the dropping of presents (a tradition that still continues today at some lighthouses) from a helicopter by the Flying Santa “Edward Snow” to the lighthouse, nailed newspapers on the ground to spell out a huge “Merry Christmas”. Snow took a photo of the scene from the air, gave to local papers, which circulated to the Associated Press. The image was all over the regional newspapers the next day.



Places to Visit:

The city of Gloucester is still one of the main commercial fishing ports in Massachusetts and offers plenty of deep-sea fishing and whale watching excursions, some of which may pass by the lighthouse, or you can enjoy some of its walking tours. To get close views, you can take the "Lighthouse Cruise" offered by Harbor Tours Inc. of Cape Ann, or hop on one of many of the whale watching cruises offered out of Gloucester.

boats sailing past ten pound light

Check the variety of museums that the Cape Ann area has to offer. The Cape Ann Museum for instance, offers exhibits and events in art, history and culture of the Cape Ann area. The Rocky Neck Art Colony in East Gloucester is the oldest continuously operating art colony in America. The Beauport Museum is a beautiful 40-room mansion sitting on the rocks along Gloucester Harbor, visited by many of the famous, including Eleanor Roosevelt.

statue of Gloucester fisherman

Gloucester Fisherman's Statue

The Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial Statue, also known as The Man At The Wheel, is a national icon that looks out over Gloucester Harbor as a memorial to those that lost their lives in this challenging industry.

It is located on Route 127, on the south side of Stacy Blvd., where visitors can also see Ten Pound Island light from the shoreline.

Just down the Stacy Esplanade is a newer memorial conceived by the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association, dedicated in 2001 to the long-suffering fisherman's family. This 8-foot statue, stands on a 20-ton boulder, and shows a fisherman's wife with her two children, looking out over the harbor.


Directions for a Distant View:

Directions to Rose's Wharf


Contact Info:
First U.S. Coast Guard District
408 Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02210
Phone: (617) 2233-8243


Local Boat Tours For Visitors

Boat cruises and ferries mentioned below may offer many types of cruises. Some may pass by Ten Pound Island Light, and pass by Eastern Point Light leaving and entering Gloucester Harbor as part of specific lighthouse cruises, charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, whale watching, fishing tours and other types of excursions.

Cape Anne Whale Watch
415 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
PHONE: (800) 877-5110


7 Seas Whale Watch
In addition to whaling and deep sea fishing excursions, offers narrative Lighthouse and Lobstering tour that includes Ten Pound Island Light and Eastern Point Light as part of their Outer Harbor Tour as a charter service for large groups.
Seven Sea's Whale Watch
63 Rogers Street (next to the Gloucester House Restaurant)
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930


Harbor Tours of Cape Ann
Offers a 2 1/2 hour narrated tour Cape Ann's scenic coastline to view six lighthouses.
P.O. Box 719
Gloucester, MA 01930
Phone: (978) 283-1979


Schooner Thomas E. Lannon
This 2-masted 65-foot fishing schooner (90-feet overall) is framed with white oak and black locust wood from trees grown locally. She has mostly 2-hour public sails, which include sunset, music, star gazing, moonlight, and fireworks, along with Tuesday Special and Sunday Morning sailing cruises.

63R Rogers Street Rte. 127, Gloucester, MA 01930
Phone: (978) 281-6634



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