Isles of Shoals
Celia Thaxter
Historic Houses
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White Island Lighthouse
Isles of Shoals, NH
READ: The Crack in White Island Light

White Island Lighthouse
Built in 1859, White Island Lighthouse is constructued of two cylindrical brick towers located on the southern most island of the nine Isles of Shoals . The rocky island is uninhabited today and difficult to reach even by boat. The long walkway was originally constructed in 1820 to allow the first lighthouse keepers to reach the tower in all weather. The light and fog horn are currently automated and operated by the US Coast Guard and the light is owned by the state of New Hampshire. White Island is 10 miles off the coast of Portsmouth, and the only ocean lighthouse in the Granite State.
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White Island Lighthouse

This 19th century photo shows the original lighthouse keeper's cottage and the boathouse. Poet Celia Thaxter spent much of her life here from the age of 4 through 14 with her father Thomas Laighton, mother Eliza and brothers Oscar and Cedric. The smaller tower is the original lighthouse which was shortened after the new light was build in 1859.

White Island Lighthouse
This larger lighthouse keeper's cottage replaced the earlier one in 1913.  Here a small sailboat stands in the launching rail that at one time stretched over 100 feet, allowing quick access to the ocean from the rocky lighthouse .

White Lighthouse

This amazing photo shows the cast iron circular stairway inside the brick structure of White Island light . A rope has served as the handrail since the lighthouse was built.

White Island Lighthouse

A rare photo of the lens inside White Island lighthouse. The beam can be seen in three states and is currently automated.

White Island Lighthouse

A view from above. Looking out of the window in White Light clearly shows the effective triangular structure of the wooden walkway below. Beyond the house and outbuildings is Seavey Island. The two islands are connected at low tide and Seaveys is currently part of a seabird reclamation project. This photo was taken in 1977.

CREDITS: All photos courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum

Copyright 2002 SeacoastNH.com
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