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Name: Isles of Shoals Light  

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Also known as: White Island Light

Nearest Town or City:
Rye, New Hampshire, United States

Location: Isles of Shoals

Click to enlarge: Photo    Large photo
Photo: Jeremy D'Entremont
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Managing Organization:
Lighthouse Kids


The daughter of Keeper Thomas Laighton, who came to White Island in 1839, was Celia Thaxter, a famed poet and author. The station is now owned by the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation. The has been in disrepair in recent years. A group of local 7th grade students, the Lighthouse Kids, launched a preservation effort, and the lighthouse tower is being renovated in the summer of 2005. A full restoration of all the buildings is estimated at $550,000.

Tower Height: 58

Height of Focal Plane: 82

Characteristic and Range: Flashing white every 15 seconds.

Description of Tower: White, cylindrical granite tower with black cast iron lantern.

This light is operational

Other Buildings?
1.5 story keeper's house, oil house.

Earlier Towers?
1821: Stone tower later sheathed in wood.

Date Established: 1821

Date Present Tower Built: 1859

Date Automated: 1987

Optics: 1859: Second order Fresnel lens; now VRB-25, solar powered.

Fog Signal: Bell, later air siren; now automated electronic horn with one blast every 15 seconds.

Current Use: Active aid to navigation, diving school.

Open To Public? Grounds only.

White Island Light can be viewed from cruises offered by the following companies: Island Cruises, Inc., (603) 964-6446, cruises departing Rye Harbor State Marina; Isles of Shoals Steamship Co., (603) 431-5500, leaving Portsmouth, N.H.; Portsmouth Harbor Cruises, (603) 436-8084.

Keepers: Joseph L. Lock (c. 1836); Thomas Laighton (1839-1846); Ben Whaling (employee of Thomas Laighton, 1839-1847); Fabius Becker (c.1846-1849?); L. H. D. Shepard (1849-1855); Richard G. Haley (1855-1861); Otis F. Haley (assistant, 1859-1861); John Bragg Downs (c. 1850, temporary keeper); Alfred J. Leavitt (1861-1866); Jonathan Godfrey (assistant, 1861-1863); Alonzo D. Berry (assistant, 1863-1864); Albert S. Perkins (assistant, 1864-1866); John E. Hoyt (assistant, 1866-1867); Alonzo Wise (1866-1869); George Balch (assistant, 1867-1868); John L. Allen (assistant, 1867-1868); Wiliam H. White (assistant, 1868-1869); Frank A. Otis (assistant, 1868-1870); Joshua Bickford (1869); Jonathan W. Berry (1869-1874); Abram Mathes (?) (assistant, 1869-1871); Thomas J. Varrell (assistant, 1870); George Chaplin (assistant, 1871); ? Gray (assistant, 1870); ? A. Yeaton (assistant, 1872); Parsons (?) Locke (assistant, 1872-1873); Charles H. Ramsdell (second assistant, 1873); Franklin R. Bragden (assistant, 1874-1876); Israel P. Miller (1874-1876); Edwin J. Hobbs (1876-1880); Alden W. P. White (assistant, 1876-1877); David R. Grogan (1880-1894); James Burke (1894-1912); Elias Tarlton, Jr. (assistant, 1884-1890); Thomas H. Barber (assistant, 1890-1891); Walter S. Amee (assistant, 1893); John Scannell (assistant, 1893-1894); John A. Hall (assistant, 1894-1896); Wallace S. Chase (assistant, 1897); William M. Brooks (assistant, 1897); Gordon A. Sullivan (assistant, 1909-1912); Alvah Robinson (assistant, c. 1914?); Edwin A. Pettegrow (c. early 1920s); Albert Staples (1926-1930); Ron Tinkham (USCG c. 1940s); Charles U. Gardner (Coast Guard relief keeper, c, 1942-1943) ; Douglas Larrabee (c. 1950); Bill Cannon (Coast Guard, c. 1948-1950); John Parks (Coast Guard, c, 1948-1950); Charles Martin (c. 1956-1958); Harold Roberts (c. 1956-1958); Anthony Cherico (c. 1956-1958); Allan Petersen (USCG Officer in Charge, 1961-1962); BM1 Ira Machon (Coast Guard Officer in Charge, c. 1965-1966); ? Gordon, USCG (1968-1970); Bob Larson (Coast Guard, 1972-1974); John C. Waterman (Coast Guard, c. 1977-1978); Rick Loster, USCG Officer in Charge (8/1983-6/1984); Jeff Jones, (Coast Guard, c. 1983); Scott Powell, (Coast Guard, c. 1983); Rick Bennett, (Coast Guard, c. 1986); Kevin Madison, (Coast Guard, c. 1986)


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