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Nation’s first and oldest lighthouse station turns 300

LITTLE BREWSTER ISLAND, Mass. (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — Boston Lighthouse, the nation’s first and oldest lighthouse station and second oldest working lighthouse in the United States, turned 300 on Sept. 14.

Sally Snowman, who has been the lightkeeper at Boston Light for 13 years and is the light’s first female keeper, helped with the celebration.

“How many things established 300 years ago are still functioning as they were intended to be?” Snowman said during an interview reported by The Associated Press. “It was a major aid to navigation in 1716, and that’s exactly what it’s doing today.”

The Coast Guard has phased out resident keepers at all light stations save for Boston Light because Congress in 1989 mandated that the Coast Guard staff and keep the light public in perpetuity.

Snowman started volunteering at Boston Light over 20 years ago and became a paid civilian employee in 2004. She said she loves the solitude her job affords.

The light’s 13-foot-tall Fresnel lens from the 1800s and its modern LED backup were automated in 1998 and now are serviced by technicians.

Since then Snowman’s primary job is training and managing the volunteer staff members who give tours on weekends and maintain the grounds.

The original 75-foot-tall lighthouse tower, which was built by the British in 1716, was destroyed by them during the Revolutionary War and was rebuilt by the new American nation in 1783. The height of the tower was raised to its present height of 98 feet in 1856.

Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey, which was built in 1764, is the nation’s oldest working lighthouse.

A report from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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