About The Light Station
It’s worth the trip!
Since the Light Station is on an island, it takes some planning to visit us. We’ve gathered all the information you need to get to the island and some basic travel logistics on the Travel Information page.
As you come down the hill towards the light station, you will see four buildings — the trim, red-roofed Keeper’s House, the white Light Tower with its black bonnet, the old red brick Oil House and the Bell House, which projects over the rocks at the very tip of the point. You will also see the bell. It is no longer in the bell house but on the left of the walkway as you approach the buildings.
The Keeper’s House and the Light Tower will be open to the public in summer 2020, starting July 14. Click here to see current days and hours. The Bell House and Oil House are presently closed pending restoration.
You will find historical displays in the Keeper’s House, a small art gallery, mementos, natural history information, souvenirs, and a friendly manager. You can also get lots of information about the light station and a map of the trails. The Keeper’s House also offers visitors an oceanside porch with rocking chairs, bottled water for purchase, a small “gift shop,” and a public restroom.
For much of the summer, we have tower tours. Our tower guides will answer your questions about the light station’s history and life on the island. On a short path to the oil house’s right is a shaded bench overlooking the harbor, which makes a wonderful picnic area.
The Keeper’s House
The keeper’s house was built in 1872 and was home to lighthouse keepers and their families for about 100 years. At one time, it was home to the Chandler family, with 11 children. Though, not all the children were living there at the same time.
The restored rooms downstairs (parlor, dining room, and kitchen) are now open to the public for several weeks during the summer, with historical displays and art by local artists. You can also pick up note cards, postcards, prints, T-shirts, and other mementos of your visit. The downstairs rooms are available for special events such as weddings, family reunions, classes, and celebrations.
There is a fully equipped warming kitchen that can be used for catered events. There is an oceanside porch with wonderful ocean views. It is a perfect place to watch the boat traffic entering and leaving the harbor through the Western Way or watching the sunset on a summer evening.
The upstairs rooms in the keeper’s house were originally two large bedrooms, a bathroom, a tiny office, and a large attic, which was also used as a bedroom. It must have been crowded during the Chandler years! The upstairs rooms have been converted into a comfortable apartment, with a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom, for weekly rental during the summer months. Rent The Keeper’s House Apartment!
The Light Tower
First lit up in August 1872, the light tower is about 35 feet high and is capped with a square iron platform and a cupola or bonnet that holds the light. The light was originally a 4th order Fresnel lens. The keeper placed an oil lamp inside the lens in the evening and was responsible for keeping the light going all night long, in all kinds of weather.
The Coast Guard removed the Fresnel lens in the 1970s. It has been replaced at least twice since then. The present LED light was installed in 2017.
Inside the tower, flights of metal steps (30 steps) climb to the Watch Room, where the keeper could keep watch on stormy nights. Our friendly tower guides will accompany visitors who wish to climb the tower and who can do so. There is no handrail on the stairs. From the Watch Room, a short ladder leads up to the lantern room.
The Oil House
The oil house was built in 1895 to hold kerosene supplies, which was the fuel used in the lighthouse lantern. To reduce the risk of fire, it had brick walls and a slate roof and was placed some distance from the house. Kerosene was a big improvement over the fuel burned previously, lard, which solidified in cold weather.
Today, the oil house is closed up, awaiting repairs. The light draws electrical power from an array of solar panels, with backup power from the electrical grid. On a short path to the oil house’s right is a shaded bench overlooking the harbor, which makes a wonderful picnic area.
The Bell House
The bell house was built in 1911. At that time, it was a tall, tapering, rectangular building housing a mechanical system to ring the bell. Weights had to be wound up to the top of the tower. As they descended, they caused a hammer to strike the bell. When that system was no longer needed, the bell house was cut down to its present height. The bell house is presently closed up and awaiting restoration.
United States Lighthouse Society Passport Stamp
You can get your passport stamped at the keeper’s house when it is open. When the keeper’s house is closed, stickers are available in the brochure box on the ocean-side porch. Between mid-September and mid-June, the stamp is kept at the Town office.
There are three linked geocaches on the Hockamock Head trails.
If You Like Stories Of Lighthouse Life…
We have them! The light station has been home to several families. One family had 11 children! Read about the life of one young boy who was born and grew up on Hockamock Head in “A Lighthouse Huck Finn.” There were births, deaths and shipwrecks, storms, and celebrations. Read some of our lighthouse stories here.