Borden Flats Light

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Borden Flats Light
Borden Flats Light.jpg
2008 photo
Borden Flats Light is located in Massachusetts
Borden Flats Light
Location Taunton River, Fall River, Massachusetts
Coordinates 41°42′16.986″N 71°10′27.825″W / 41.70471833°N 71.17439583°W / 41.70471833; -71.17439583Coordinates: 41°42′16.986″N 71°10′27.825″W / 41.70471833°N 71.17439583°W / 41.70471833; -71.17439583
Year first constructed 1875
Year first lit 1881 (current tower)
Automated 1963
Foundation Cast iron and concrete caisson
Construction Cast iron
Tower shape Conical
Markings / pattern Brown caisson, white body, black lantern
Height 48 feet (15 m)
Focal height 47 feet (14 m)
Original lens 4th order Fresnel lens
Current lens 250 millimetres (9.8 in)
Range 11 nautical miles (20 km; 13 mi)
Characteristic Original: Fixed red
Current: Flash white 2.5s
Fog signal Until 1983: Bell
Current: Horn: 1 every 10s
Admiralty number J0576
ARLHS number USA-072
USCG number


Borden Flats Light Station
Area 0.1 acres (0.040 ha)
Built 1881
MPS Lighthouses of Massachusetts TR
NRHP Reference # 87001528[1][4][5]
Added to NRHP June 15, 1987

Borden Flats Light is a historic lighthouse on the Taunton River in Fall River, Massachusetts. It is a tower-on-caisson type known as a sparkplug lighthouse.

The light was built in 1881, and added to the National Register of Historic Places as Borden Flats Light Station on June 15, 1987, reference number 87001528.


By the mid-19th century, the city of Fall River had become a bustling textile-mill town, with regularly scheduled steamboat service to Providence, Rhode Island and New York City. The city is located at the mouth of the Taunton River where it meets Mount Hope Bay, which is an arm of Narragansett Bay.

Prior to the lighthouse, an unlit day beacon was constructed to mark the spot of a dangerous reef near the center of the relatively shallow Mount Hope Bay. In June 1880, $25,000 was appropriated for the construction of a new lighthouse on Borden Flats, which consisted of a 50-foot-tall (15 m) cast-iron tower that included a keeper's quarters. The light went into service on October 1, 1881, with a fourth-order Fresnel lens producing a fixed red light 47-foot (14 m) above mean high water. Rainwater was collected in gutters and stored in a cistern in the structure's basement level, providing the keeper's water supply.

The lighthouse, which sits in water open to the south, was battered in the hurricane of 1938. The storm left the structure with a pronounced tilt, which it still has. A new wider caisson was later added around the original one for additional protection.

In 1957 the lighthouse was electrified. It was automated in 1963. In 1977, its Fresnel lens was removed and replaced with a modern Vega VRB-25 lens. The fog bell remained in use until 1983 when it was replaced by an electronic foghorn. Under auspices of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, the lighthouse was auctioned privately through the General Services Administration. Nick Korstad, Cindy Korstad and Craig Korstad, of Portland, Oregon are the new owners. They have plans of fully restoring the light station and making it available for public tours and overnight accommodations.[6]


U.S. Coast Guard photo from 1900 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Light List, Volume I, Atlantic Coast, St. Croix River, Maine to Shrewsbury River, New Jersey (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2009. p. 172. 
  2. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Massachusetts". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 
  3. ^ Rowlett, Russ (2009-09-15). "Lighthouses of the United States: Southeast Massachusetts". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
  4. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  5. ^ The coordinates shown are the official coordinates from the cited Light List and are shown to the precision given there.
  6. ^ "New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide: Borden Flats Light". Jeremy D'Entremont. 2009-09-15.