History Videos

USLHS Historian Video #8: The first Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse

Minot’s Ledge—about a mile offshore, near the border between the towns of Cohasset and Scituate on the south shore of Boston, Massachusetts—is a 25-foot-wide rock ledge that is part of the dangerous Cohasset Rocks. In 1847, Congress appropriated funds for a lighthouse on Minot’s Ledge. Capt. William H. Swift of the Corps of Topographical Engineers planned an iron pile lighthouse at Minot’s Ledge, a 70-foot-tall, spidery structure with piles drilled into the rock, on the theory that waves would pass harmlessly through the structure. The lighthouse was lighted for the first time on January 1, 1850. This is the story of its fate.

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