In 2003, the active duty Coast Guard personnel that had been assigned to Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, America’s oldest light station, were reassigned to meet the needs of Homeland Security. Sally Snowman was named the new keeper. She became the first woman keeper in Boston Light’s long history, which dates back to 1716.
After 20 years as keeper, Sally recently announced her retirement, effective at the end of this month. Boston Light is in the process of being transferred to a suitable new steward, which most likely will be the National Park Service. The job of Boston Light keeper is ending with Sally, meaning it’s the end of 234 years of lighthouse keepers employed by the federal government.
Sally and her husband Jay Thompson have written two books: Boston Light: A Historical Perspective, published in 1999, and a book on Boston Light for Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series in 2016. In 2018, for perpetuating our nation’s time-honored light keeping heritage, the American Lighthouse Foundation presented Sally Snowman with a Keeper of the Light award.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org