Facts about Thacher
The island encompasses about 50 acres
Only operating Twin lighthouses in America
One of only seven twin and one triple light all on the Atlantic Coast
The eleventh and last lighthouse built under British rule in 1771.
The original First Order Fresnel lens from the south tower is on display at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Groton Ct.
The first lighthouse to mark a dangerous spot along the coast, all previous lights were built to simply to mark harbor entrances.
First test site for Winslow Lewis modified Argand lamp in 1814 later adopted for use in all U.S. lighthouses.
Twin lights were used to be distinguishable from other lights on the coast prior to the development of revolving lenses and unique blinking patterns were incorporated.
July 1896 -O n back porch of Principal Keeper House withNorth Tower in background
A Bit of History
Thacher Island was sighted by Champlain in 1605, by Captain John Smith in 1614, and by how many more before that, nobody knows.
The name comes from a shipwreck described as "pathetic" by historians. A small boat out of Ipswich , bound for Marblehead , was caught in the Great Storm of August, 1635, and was dashed to pieces on the rocks of the Island . Of the twenty-three passengers and crew, only Anthony Thacher and his wife survived, watching helplessly as their children and friends were swept away.
On September 3, 1635 , the General Court voted Thacher 40 Marks. Also, in 1636-37, the General Court voted to grant Thacher the Island "at the head of Cape Ann , as his inheritance."
In 1717, the Island was sold by John Appleton (an heir of Thacher ), of Ipswich , to the Reverend John White - 30 acres, more or less, for 100 pounds.
In 1726-27 the Reverend John White sold to Joseph Allen for 175 pounds. This was Joseph Allen, Jr. who owned it at his death in 1750.
In 1771, the Colonial Government bought it back for 500 pounds. The same year, the twin lighthouses were erected and lighted for the first time on December Twenty-first.
The present 123-foot granite towers were completed in 1861 raising the lights to 166 feet above sea level. In 1888 the Town of Rockport adopted the Seal of the Island as its official seal.
Early in this
century, four families lived on the Island , to run the lighthouses
and fog whistles. Descendants of these families still live in Rockport.