by Mary Dickinson
November 15, 2003
The 30’ cast iron brick-lined tower was built in 1881. The previous tower was made of stone and is in some of Winslow Homer’s scenes of Gloucester Harbor. He was boarding at the lighthouse in 1880 and painted 50 seascapes during that time.
We were able to view it up close, as we passed on the Horizon’s Edge Casino Boat. We were also able to see it from Rocky Neck, an artists’ colony off East Main Street in Gloucester. The lighthouse is located on a rocky island and got its name from ten sheep pens (pounds) that were there when the original lighthouse was built. You can get to the island (mostly in the summer months) by water taxi. There are hiking paths, but you can’t go inside the lighthouse or the oil house.
In 1956, the lighthouse was decommissioned and the fifth order Fresnel lens was moved to Shore Village Museum in Rockland, Maine. The keeper’s house and outbuilding were reduced to rubble. The lighthouse was restored in the 1980s and relit on Aug 7, 1989. The fog signal, two blasts every 20 seconds, keeps the constant flow of fishing boats and pleasure boats aware of their location in the busy harbor when fog occurs.
From journal Lighthouses on Cape Ann in Massachusetts