Digest>Archives> September 2000

Salute to the Coast Guard: Annual Hospital Point Light Open House

By Jeremy D'Entremont


Live music, a basketball tournament, a children’s theater workshop and fireworks — these are just a few of the events of the annual Beverly Massachusetts Homecoming Week on Boston’s North Shore, made possible by generous local businesses and staffed by volunteers. Each summer the United States Coast Guard plays an important part in this local festival by opening the historic Hospital Point Light Station to visitors. This year’s open house was on Sunday, August 6.

Hospital Point Light was established in 1872 to help mariners find their way into busy Salem Harbor. The name Hospital Point stems from a smallpox hospital built on this spot in 1801. The official name of the handsome brick tower is Hospital Point Range Front Light. It received this designation in 1927 when a rear range light, consisting of discarded lightship equipment, was placed in the steeple of Beverly’s First Baptist Church, a mile away. This additional light was lined up with the front range light to further help guide vessels into Salem Harbor.

The lighthouse was automated in 1947, and since then this tidy lighthouse station has been home to the Commander of the First Coast Guard District and his family. Today Rear Admiral George N. Naccara lives at Hospital Point with his wife Linda. Admiral Naccara oversees all Coast Guard operations in the northeastern United States, from Maine’s border with Canada to New Jersey.

Visitors to the lighthouse during the open house were shown around by members of the Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Boston, and had the opportunity to go up into the lantern room for a close look at the unusual 3 1/2 order Fresnel lens. The view from the top of Hospital Point Light includes three other local lighthouses: Baker’s Island Light, Marblehead Light and Fort Pickering Light.

This story appeared in the September 2000 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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