by Mary Dickinson
November 15, 2003
The keeper’s house, presently occupied by a coast guard and his family, was built in 1801, the same time as the first lighthouse. It has undergone many changes in its 200-year existence, but the lighthouse has been completely replaced twice. Violent storms had battered the towers and disturbed the structures, requiring them be replaced. The present 41 foot Federal-style brick tower was built in 1897. In 1922 a fifth order Fresnel lens with a light fueled by kerosene that gave a 1300 candlepower light was replaced by an electrified forth order lens that gave a 250,000 candlepower light. In 1974 the light was automated.
A controversy concerning the fog horn has created problems over the years. Residents don’t want to hear it, especially at night. Fishermen count on it for safe passage out of the river if they have problems with their radar. At the present time a sensor triggered foghorn is in use.
To drive to the lighthouse we took Rt. 128E from Rt 95. We went three quarters of the way around the first rotary in Gloucester and took a right. We stayed on that road for about three miles and then turned left after the Annisquam Village Church on the left. Not too far down that road is a Civil War Monument. Turn right and follow the one way road. As you near the ocean you will catch glimpses of the lighthouse. You can park inside the anchor fence gate for 15 minutes. You cannot go inside the lighthouse or keeper’s house. If you go straight at the Civil War Monument you will see the old village of Annisquam.
Note: The "private road" sign on Narwood Heights Rd. is a misnomer. It is a publicly maintained road and can be used to go to and from a national instillation, the lighthouse.
From journal Lighthouses on Cape Ann in Massachusetts