3 Replies Latest reply on Mar 2, 2021 2:55 PM by Charleen Vocca

    Seeking records about Bakers Island Lighthouse

    Joe Geller Newbie

      I'm looking for information about the Coast Guard lighthouse, pier and boathouse on Bakers Island which is in the Salem Sound in Massachusetts. The light house is still there, recently refinished, and the rotating beacon shines proudly. The pier and boathouse were there until about 1941. The property was sold recently transferred to the Essex National Heritage Commission for preservation. Visitors are taken in a small landing craft to visit the 10-acre property but this is a wet landing and we are exploring reinstalling the pier that was there years ago. Any information like photographs, drawings, recounts and history would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

        • Re: Seeking records about Bakers Island Lighthouse
          Elliot Schneider Pioneer

          Mr. Geller,

           

           

          make sure you click on the images to enlarge.

           

           

          I859 Lighthouse

           

           

          Here is a photo 1925 USCG

           

           

          Baker's Island, Now and Then - streetsofsalem

           

           

           

          1940s Ariel View

           

           

          BAKERS ISLAND LIGHT

          Lighthouse Name: Baker’s Island
          Location: Baker’s Island/Salem Harbor Approach
          Station Established: 1791
          Year Current/Last Tower(s) First Lit: 1821
          Operational? Yes
          Automated? Yes, 1972
          Deactivated: n/a
          Foundation Materials: Granite
          Construction Materials: Granite and concrete
          Tower Shape: Conical
          Markings/Pattern: White
          Relationship to Other Structure: Separate
          Original Lens: Fourth Order, Fresnel

          Historical Information:

          * In 1791 a day marker was established on Baker’s Island. It was replaced by twin light atop the keeper’s dwelling at each end in 1798.
          * New towers were built and lit in October 1820. One tower was taller than the other. The lighthouses were nicknamed “Mr. and Mrs.” and “Ma and Pa”.
          * A fourth order Fresnel Lens was installed in the taller of the towers in 1855.
          * The smaller lighthouse was deactivated and dismantled in 1926.
          * The taller tower remains and is an active aid to navigation. It was automated in 1972.

           

          On April 8, 1796, President Washington approved $6,000 for a set of twin lights for Baker’s Island, in spite of General Lincoln’s fear that mariners would mistake the lights for the twin lights on Thatcher Island to the north and Plymouth to the south. Lincoln had proposed a two-story building with three lights spread along a 50-foot span of its roof, but his plan was rejected.

           

          Solomon Blake, a Boston contractor, built the light station on ten acres on Baker’s Island for $3,674.57, and it went into service on January 3, 1798. Two towers, set forty feet apart, were built atop the roof of a wooden, two-story keepers dwelling—which was considered by Bentley to be “very plain.” The northern light was ninety-five feet above mean high water, while the southern had a focal plane of seventy-eight feet.

          The first keeper, Capt. George Chapman of the Salem Mariners Society, served until he turned seventy-five in 1815. When Chapman later went blind, his condition was blamed on the brightness of the lights he tended on Baker’s Island. Joseph Perkins was selected as keeper upon Chapman’s retirement. While serving on Baker’s Island as a harbor pilot during the War of 1812, Perkins spied the USS Constitution being pursued by two British ships, the Tenedos and Endymion. Perkins immediately leapt into his dory, rowed out to the Constitution, and, with his intimate knowledge of the local waters, piloted her to safety in Marblehead Harbor.

           

           

          Keepers:

          • Head: George Chapman (1798 – 1815), Joseph Perkins (1815 – at least 1819), Nathaniel Ward (at least 1823 – 1825), Ambrose Martin (1825 – 1850), Robert Peele, Jr. (1850 – 1853), John H. Russell (1853 – 1854), William Tucker (1854), Daniel Norwood (1854 – 1861), Charles L. Williams (1861 – 1869), George Hobbs (1869 – 1874), Walter S. Rogers (1874 – 1881), James F. Lundgren (1881 – 1892), Walter S. Rogers (1892 – 1911), Elliott C. Hadley (1911 – 1918), Arthur L. Payne (1918 – 1943), Paul Baptiste (1946 – 1951), Richard J. LaLonde (at least 1956 – at least 1959), Donald G. Trecartin (1962 – 1965), David McKenzie ( – 1967), Randall K. Anderson (1967 – 1968), David Rollins (1968), Randall K. Anderson (1968 – 1969), Harry D. Toler (1969 – ).
          • Assistant: Addison Norwood (1855 – 1856), Daniel Norwood, Jr. (1856 – 1862), Edwin A. Ober (1862 – 1863), Stephen Cross (1863 – 1864), Charles N. Williams (1864 – 1867), Frank Williams (1867 – 1869), Frederick Williams (1869), Samuel H. LeFaver (1869 – 1872), Peter Gillespie (1872), Walter S. Rogers (1872 – 1874), Oliver H. Saunders (1874 – 1877), John L.H. Collins (1877 – 1881), James F. Lundgren (1881), Ira W. Ingalls (1881 – 1884), George W. Forbush (1884), Charles W. Gilbert (1884), T.L.C. Mendenhall (1885 – 1888), Francis W. Vincent (1888), Eugene Terpeny (1888 – 1897), Arthur W. Woods (1897 – 1905), George I. Cameron (1905 – 1910), Malcolm N. Huse (1910 – 1911), Frank C. Hall (1911 – at least 1912), James F. Harrington ( – 1913), Herbert H. Davis (1913 – at least 1915), Arthur L. Payne (1917 – 1918), Elno C. Mott (at least 1919 – 1921), Charles A. Lyman (1921 – 1922), William A. Joseph (1922 – 1923), Theodore L. Chase (1925 – 1926), Harold L. Havender (1927 – 1928), Ernest A. Sampson (1929 – 1941), Clifton L. Willis (at least 1950), Melvin Brooks (1956 – 1958), Roger L. Lamascus (1962 – 1965), John Krebs (1965 – 1968), R. Royston (1968 – 1969), Paul Driscoll (1969 – 1971).
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          • Re: Seeking records about Bakers Island Lighthouse
            Joe Geller Newbie

            Elliot: Thank you for the excellent research!