Plymouth Light

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Plymouth Light
Plymouth Light, or Gurnet Light 2008.jpg
Plymouth Light is located in Massachusetts
Plymouth Light
Location Plymouth, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°0′13.3″N 70°36′2.2″W / 42.003694°N 70.600611°W / 42.003694; -70.600611Coordinates: 42°0′13.3″N 70°36′2.2″W / 42.003694°N 70.600611°W / 42.003694; -70.600611
Year first constructed 1768
Year first lit 1843 (current structure)
Automated 1986
Foundation Granite
Construction Cedar shingle
Tower shape Octagonal pyramidal
Markings / pattern White with black lantern and red roof
Focal height 102 feet (31 m)
Original lens 4th order Fresnel lens
Current lens 3.9 inches (100 mm)
Range white:17 nautical miles (31 km; 20 mi) & red:15 nautical miles (28 km; 17 mi)
Characteristic Fl W (3) 10s with R sector
Fog signal HORN: 2 every 15s
Admiralty number J0368
ARLHS number USA-251
USCG number


Plymouth Light Station
Nearest city Duxbury, Massachusetts
Area less than one acre
Built 1910
MPS Lighthouses of Massachusetts TR (AD)
NRHP Reference # 77000655[4]
Added to NRHP March 08, 1977

Plymouth Light, also known as Gurnet Light, is a historic lighthouse located on Gurnet Point at the entrance to Plymouth Bay in the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The light is accessible only by passing through the town of Duxbury, which lies to the north.[5]

The original lighthouse was built in 1768, burned down and rebuilt in 1801, when the single light became a pair, and rebuilt again in 1842, again as a pair. The light gradually lost importance as Plymouth Harbor silted up and lost most of its traffic. Then, when the Cape Cod Canal opened in 1914, there was a significant increase in vessel traffic past the light. The northeast tower was torn down and the remaining tower upgraded from a sixth order Fresnel lens to one of the fourth order. The fourth order lens is now on display at the Lifesaving Museum in Hull, Massachusetts. The light is the oldest wooden lighthouse in the United States. The light was relocated approximately 140 feet (43 m) to the north in December 1998 because of beach erosion.[3] The property and the Duxbury Pier Light, in open water 2.3 nmi (4.3 km; 2.6 mi) to the SW are both managed by Project Gurnet and Bug Lights, Inc.[6]

The actual light is 102 feet (31 m) above Mean High Water. Its white light is visible for 17 nautical miles (31 km; 20 mi); its red sector, which covers Mary Ann Rocks, is visible 15 nautical miles (28 km; 17 mi).

Plymouth Light was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Plymouth Light Station on March 8, 1977.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Massachusetts". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 2009-09-06. 
  2. ^ United States Coast Guard (2009). Light List, Volume I, Atlantic Coast, St. Croix River, Maine to Shrewsbury River, New Jersey. p. 104. 
  3. ^ a b Rowlett, Russ (2009-09-06). "Lighthouses of the United States: Northern Massachusetts". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
  4. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  5. ^ National Park Service: Inventory listing for PLYMOUTH (GURNET) LIGHT
  6. ^ Project Gurnet and Bug Lights, Inc. (2009-09-06). "Keep the Lights Burning".