Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s The Lighthouse Preservation Society was involved with the restoration and relighting of Gloucester’s Ten Pound Island Lighthouse. After restoring the tower and oil house, the society asked the City of Gloucester if we could take the project further by rebuilding the keeper’s house that used to be on the site. Back in the 1960s the city had burned it down due to concerns about vandalism. Unfortunately, the city refused our offer of further assistance, but promised to clean up the island, which had become infested with weeds, poison ivy, and rats.
They made a good start of cleaning the island up, initially, but after a few short years, the island and lighthouse, which belong to the City of Gloucester, were again abandoned – a victim of the city’s financial woes.
Unfortunately, this once-beautiful island, with its commanding views of Gloucester harbor, and where one of America’s most-beloved painters, Winslow Homer, painted some of his great masterpieces, has continued to decline for more than 20 years. Now the old oil house we restored – perhaps the oldest in the country – is barely visible through all the undergrowth that has overtaken the island.
Consequently, in an effort to get the project back on track, The Lighthouse Preservation Society has approached a leading state senator from the area about applying for funds to rebuild the old island pier. For some time, the society has advocated the importance of rebuilding a pier as the first step to making the island accessible and safe for tourism and the island’s maintenance. State Senator Bruce Tarr has promised to find the funds to restore the pier in the next couple years. This would allow the island to get cleaned up more readily.
Our current goal is to get the island made into a beautiful seaside park and made available to the public with seasonal water taxi service. While spending time in Gloucester last summer, we were also able to professionally restore the historic plaque we had installed on the Gloucester waterfront, a short distance from the famous Fisherman statue. We have also entered into a long-term agreement with the city’s Garden Club to keep our Ten Pound Island Lighthouse monument/plaque area arrayed with flowers.