Marblehead Light, MA
Built in 1896, this unique light stands one hundred and thirty feet above sea level and is identified by a fixed green light visible for seven miles. She is located at the north end of Marblehead Neck and guides sailors into Marblehead Harbor.
Marblehead Light had its beginnings in 1835, when the first lighthouse was built and included the keeper’s house. The lantern in the tower burned whale oil and was built of conventional design, but was only twenty feet high! The cost was $4500.00 and the first keeper was Ezekiel Darling . . .a former gunner on the old U.S.S. Constitution, “Old Ironsides”!
Eventually, the many houses and cottages built in this popular summer resort obscured the light, leading to the present, much higher structure. The unique design of this light is hard to explain and remains a mystery . . .but local sailors love this light just the way it is and wouldn’t trade it for anything!
Many years ago, we sailed up to Marblehead from Darien to join in a regatta, in the waters off Marblehead Light. After crossing Buzzards Bay, we went through the Canal and entered Cape Cod Bay.
Suddenly, we saw the biggest white shark any of us had ever seen – just basking below the surface – her huge dorsal fin commanding our attention. Measured against our thirty-nine foot boat, we estimated its size to be over twenty feet! Not alarmed by our presence, we were able to come very close and actually look down on this magnificent creature from our deck. After a few minutes, and in no hurry, she slithered away with a gentle brush of her tail!
It was a very long time before we swam off the boat again!
Al LaBanca Sailor/Artist Darien, CT
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