by Mary Dickinson
November 15, 2003
They are the only twin lights still in operation on the American coasts. The first twin lights were built here in 1771 because of a reef, called the Londoner, one half mile off shore. It got its name from ships going to or from London crashing into it.
We were able to view the twin light from Penzance Road off Rt 127 in Rockport. The present 123’ north tower is on a hill giving it a height of 166’ above sea level The light from its 15 watt fluorescent lamp can be seen for eight miles. After being decommissioned in 1932, it was relit in 1988 complimentary to sailors from the town of Rockport.
In 1998 the Coast Guard installed a solar panel in the south tower that powers the light and a fog horn. Both towers are identical otherwise. They have a granite exterior with a brick inner wall two feet thick. They are 22’ in diameter at the base and 13’ in diameter at the lantern room.
We were able to see the twin towers and island from the casino ship, when we were three miles out, but we couldn’t see any of the other buildings on the island from that distance. One way to enjoy the island is to stay in the six room keeper’s house, for rent during the summer months ($50. per person per night, 2 nights minimum), or you can camp on the island for $5 a night.
Granite storage buildings and an oil house and barn with slate roofs are also on the island as well as a boat landing ramp, boat house and a network of railroad tracks once used to bring coal for the steam powered fog horn. The island is considered a wildlife refuge and is a National Historic Landmark.
From journal Lighthouses on Cape Ann in Massachusetts