Lighthouses have always fascinated me. I imagine ships of long ago, searching for these beacons of light to guide their way in the darkness. It makes me want to know more about those stark, lonely buildings where the light originated…and those who dwelled there in life…and quite possibly in death.
The Boston Light (also known as the Boston Head Light) was the first lighthouse stationed in what is now known as the United States. It is located on the Little Brewster island, once known as Beacon Island. The building itself is the second oldest lighthouse, as the first one met its demise during the American Revolution. It was rebuilt in 1783, which makes New Jersey’s lighthouse, the Sandy Hook Light (built in 1764) the oldest one still standing. The original building was erected in 1716, and its tower was lit by George Worthylake, the first Boston Light keeper on September 14 of that year.
There are many visitors to the island now that claim to see ghosts…and the history of the lighthouse is certainly rich enough to provide the inspiration for many a supernatural tale. George Worthylake, his wife, and one of his daughters, Ruth, were in a boating accident and drowned after he had been the lighthouse keeper for only two years. The second man to hold the job was named Robert Saunders…and he too drowned, a mere few days after his employment.
The lighthouse was badly damaged by fire in 1751 (which led to installing a lightening rod to avert the strikes that had caused the fires). It was then completely destroyed during the Revolutionary War. Once independence from England was secure, the lighthouse was rebuilt…and remains to this day.
All of the energy from the centuries past could have possibly left behind a few ghosts. People have reported seeing the apparition of a sailor, possibly one that was lost at sea…seeking rescue in the comfort of the lighthouse. There are more sinister apparitions reported as well…possibly ghosts left behind from a war that took their young lives and left the bodies forever separated from their home. There have been lighthouse keepers in the last century that have spoken of seeing a rocking chair move on it’s own…and animals reacting nervously in the rooms of the building.
Whatever….or whoever…remains, the Boston Light is a piece of this country’s history that remains standing. In a nation where so much is torn down and bulldozed in the name of “progress”, we must hold on to what is left to remember the past.