1835The Straitsmouth Island lighthouse was built.Economy and Industry, Maritime & Fishing Industry

Aerial view of Straitsmouth Island and Rockport, including the lighthouse, 1984. John Fields, Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Photo 16133
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Due to the navigational danger of the Dry Salvages and Straitsmouth, the federal government took over the island and erected a lighthouse. The first of three lighthouses built on Straitsmouth was 19 feet tall, for which Congress appropriated $5,000. Within eight years, however, an inspector concluded that its poor construction made it hazardous to the lightkeeper. He also concluded that its reflectors were misaligned, the structure was out of plumb and it was built in the wrong location to warn marine traffic of the area’s many ledges. A new lighthouse was built in 1851 and again rebuilt in 1896. The light sources for the second and third lighthouses were 6th-order Fresnel lenses, the same size as the Fresnel lens now preserved in the Cape Ann Museum.

“First Order Fresnel Lens.” Cape Ann Museum, http://www.capeannmuseum.org/first-order-fresnel-lens/. St. Germain, Paul. Saving Straitsmouth Island: A History. The History Press, 2020. Swan, Marshall Wilbur Stephen. Town on Sandy Bay: A History of Rockport, Massachusetts. Published for the Town History Committee by Phoenix Pub, 1980.
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