Newburyport Harbor Rear Range Light

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Newburyport Harbor Rear Range Light
Newburyport Harbor Rear Range Light (Essex County, Massachusetts).jpg
Newburyport Harbor Rear Range Light
Newburyport Harbor Rear Range Light is located in Massachusetts
Newburyport Harbor Rear Range Light
Newburyport Harbor Rear Range Light is located in the US
Newburyport Harbor Rear Range Light
Location Newburyport, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°48′40.52″N 70°51′57.88″W / 42.8112556°N 70.8660778°W / 42.8112556; -70.8660778Coordinates: 42°48′40.52″N 70°51′57.88″W / 42.8112556°N 70.8660778°W / 42.8112556; -70.8660778
Area less than one acre
Built 1873
Part of Newburyport Historic District (#84002411)
MPS Lighthouses of Massachusetts TR
NRHP Reference # 87000887[1][2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 15, 1987
Designated CP August 2, 1984

The Newburyport Harbor Rear Range Light is a historic lighthouse at 61½ Water St. near the Merrimack River in Newburyport, Massachusetts. It was built in 1873 as one of a pair of range lights for guiding ships up the river to the city's harbor.

History[edit]

Range lights, or leading lights, are pairs of beacons used to guide ships and ensure safe passage. The beacons consist of two lights that are separated in distance and elevation, so that when they are aligned, with one above the other, they provide a bearing. The original range lights at Newburyport Harbor were maintained by private subscriptions. By 1872 Congress had appropriated funds to establish publicly maintained range lights after one of the previous pair was destroyed in a storm.[2]

The rear light is a brick tower, 53 feet (16 m) in height, located close to Water Street near the Merrimack River Coast Guard Station. The tower was traditionally painted white on the upper third of the river-facing side, with a thick white stripe down the rest of the facade. That side is now painted entirely white, while the other three sides are unpainted. The tower is topped by an eight-sided lens room, which is surrounded by an iron balcony and railing.[3]

When the range lights became active in 1873 local caretakers took responsibility for them. The job was later transferred to Plum Island lighthouse keepers.

Decommissioning[edit]

In 1961 the range lights were decommissioned and the rear light became private property. Today it is available to rent for events and offers a view of the river and city.[2]

The lighthouse, along with its mate, the Newburyport Harbor Front Range Light, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987,[2] and included in the Newburyport Historic District in 1984.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c d "LighthouseFriends.com"
  3. ^ a b "MACRIS inventory record and NRHP nomination for Newburyport Harbor Rear Range Light". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2014-01-20.