The Working Waterfront

Light station restoration complete on Swan’s Island

Close to $900,000 raised for work on four buildings

Posted 2022-01-20
Last Modified 2022-01-26

After some 15 years of planning, fund raising, volunteer and preservation work by dozens of contractors, the town of Swan’s Island has completed the restoration of the Burnt Coat Harbor Light Station.

There are four historic buildings at the light station—the light tower, the keeper’s house, the oil house and the bell house—and all have undergone careful and thorough restoration in compliance with historic preservation standards. It is rare to find a light station with so many of the original buildings virtually intact.

As soon as restoration was well underway, the keeper’s house and tower were opened to the public during the summer season. Over the last several years, thousands of visitors have toured these buildings and enjoyed local art and exhibits of local history in the keeper’s house.

Over the last several years, thousands of visitors have toured these buildings…

Climbing the tower with a local guide is a favorite activity for visitors. On a sunny day, the views from the top of the light tower are spectacular. Visitors also enjoy exploring the 1.8 miles of trails on Hockamock Head, adjacent to the light station site.

An apartment on the upper floor of the keeper’s house has proved an extremely popular summer weekly rental. Rental income provides the town with a revenue stream that assists with routine maintenance costs.

Friends of the Swan’s Island Lighthouse (FOSIL) supported the town financially in this historic restoration project through an annual appeal, a capital campaign, and many grant applications. Altogether, close to $900,000 was raised to complete the historic restoration of these buildings.

For more detail on the restoration and future plans, check out the FOSIL website:

The light station, a critical aid to navigation in its day, still guides vessels safely into Burnt Coat Harbor. It still is a U.S. Coast Guard maintained active aid to navigation.

Next year marks the 150th year that the light has shone from the tip of Hockamock Head. FOSIL hopes that lighthouse friends and many of those who supported the restoration will visit in August 2022 as the sesquicentennial of the lighting of the light is celebrated.