Isles of Shoals Light

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Isles of Shoals Light
Lighthouse on the Rock.jpg
Isles of Shoals Light is located in New Hampshire
Isles of Shoals Light
Isles of Shoals Light
Location White Island, Isles of Shoals, New Hampshire
Coordinates 42°58′2.04″N 70°37′23.77″W / 42.9672333°N 70.6232694°W / 42.9672333; -70.6232694Coordinates: 42°58′2.04″N 70°37′23.77″W / 42.9672333°N 70.6232694°W / 42.9672333; -70.6232694
Year first constructed 1790
Year first lit 1865
Automated 1987
Foundation Surface rock
Construction Granite and brick
Tower shape Conical tower
Markings / pattern White with black lantern
Height 58 feet (18 m)
Focal height 82 feet (25 m)
Original lens 190mm
Current lens VLB-44 LED unit
Range 14 nautical miles (26 km; 16 mi)
Characteristic Flashing White, 15 sec
Fog signal Horn: 1 every 30 sec, continuously
Admiralty number J0246
ARLHS number USA-406
USCG number

1-235 [1] [2]


The Isles of Shoals Light, also known as "White Island Light", on White Island, in the Isles of Shoals, New Hampshire, was first built in 1821. The present structure was built in 1865.[2] The lighthouse and the island are protected by the state as White Island State Historic Site.


Captain Samuel Haley began keeping a lantern lit in 1790, but the first lighthouse was not built until 1821, following the 1813 wreck of the Sagunte. Following his defeat for Governor of New Hampshire in 1839, Thomas B. Laighton became keeper of the light. Five years earlier he had purchased Appledore, Smuttynose, Malaga, and Cedar Islands, on the Maine side of the Isles of Shoals, from Captain Haley. Laighton later built a hotel on Smuttynose.[2]

The lighthouse was rebuilt during the Civil War with granite walls two feet thick.[2] It was automated in 1987, but fell into disrepair and was rescued by the efforts of The Lighthouse Kids, a group of schoolchildren who pressured the New Hampshire legislature to provide $125,000 to repair the building. Shortly thereafter, the federal government provided $250,000 for further restoration.[3]

The lighthouse was seriously damaged during the Patriot's Day Storm in 2007. Waves washed completely over the island, destroying the solar panels, foghorn, and the covered walk between the lighthouse and the keeper's house.[3]

In 2008, the Coast Guard installed one of the first VLB-44 LED light units in the United States.[3]