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What to know about Lewis Bay Lighthouse AKA Hyannis Harbor Light

Hyannis Harbor LightHave you ever wondered about the lighthouse on Lewis Bay that our ferries pass as we leave Hyannis? We talk so often about Brant Point lighthouse and all of its tradition and splendor, but somehow Lewis Bay Lighthouse goes under the radar. Well, here we are to set that straight!

Cape Cod is home to 18 lighthouses, some of which are active, and others are historic and open for tours. Lewis Bay Lighthouse, or also known as Hyannis Harbor Light, is now privately owned and not open for visitors.

The History of the Lewis Bay Lighthouse

Hyannis Harbor Light is located at the end of Channel Point Road. It is part of a residential community, on private property, so it is not appropriate to get to from land, but very easy to see when you take our ferries out of Hyannis, or when you are at many of the other spots around the harbor.

Lewis Bay LighthouseHyannis used to be a very busy fishing port, and the harbor was difficult to maneuver with dangerous winds and shallow waters. When the lighthouse was put into service on May 7, 1849, the conical brick tower was only 19 feet at the base of the lantern and was crowned with a room of the aviary style lantern. Inside the lantern were five oil lamps and reflectors. It was a fixed white light with a red area, which guided the ships from the dangerous southwest sound.

Lighthouse Keepers

John H. Lothrop of Hyannis was appointed keeper in 1871. “Pilot John” Lothrop had a long career as a “branch pilot,” helping to guide vessels from Maine to Virginia. Lothrop was assisted by his son Alonzo, and Alonzo Freeman Lothrop became keeper after his father’s death in 1878. Alonzo Lothrop remained at the station until 1899, when his resignation ended almost three decades of the Lothrop family at the Hyannis Lighthouse.

Captain John A. Peak, former commander of a lighthouse tender and part of a family dynasty of local lighthouse keepers, took over at Hyannis Harbor Light after Alonzo Lothrop’s resignation. Here he remained until his own ill health forced him to retire in 1915. Captain Peak let some of the local children help with lighthouse chores, like polishing the brass parts of the tower. He also provided sailing lessons for local youngsters, provided they knew how to swim.

Waldo Leighton, who became keeper in 1915, described the station as “a wonderful location, a nice place to live, a picturesque site overlooking the whole bay.” Waldo Leighton was the last keeper of the lighthouse. In operation until 1929 when it was decommissioned and sold. It is now privately owned, and visitors are not allowed.

Architectural Alterations

Lighthouse on Cape CodThe lantern room was removed from the inactive Hyannis Harbor Lighthouse, but the front range light remained functioning as an automatic acetylene gas beacon. Over the years, the property has been bought and sold several times, and the old keeper’s house has been markedly altered and enlarged.

Lewis Bay Lighthouse, or Hyannis Harbor Light, is a great landmark on the harbor and is a relic of times gone by when Hyannis was not the bustling urban area it is today and they needed extra light to navigate into the harbor. Definitely check it out the next time you are on our ferry!

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