Did You Know? (Ten Pound Island)

Photo by E.J. Lefavour

That Ten Pound Island Light is an historic lighthouse in Gloucester Harbor that was built in 1881 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988?  Common lore says Ten Pound Island got its name from the amount of money the local Indians received from the early settlers for the property. Cape Ann historian, Joseph Garland, believed it was more likely named for the number of sheep pens (also known as pounds) on the island.

The actual light is 30 feet high with a focal plane of 57 feet above Mean High Water.  The island is open to private boaters, but there is no landing facility except a small sandy beach. The lighthouse is not open to the public and is best seen by boat.  It is an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation, with the grounds managed by the City of Gloucester.

E.J. Lefavour



  • Thanks as always for the great info…this was especially interesting to me as I sit staring at Ten Pound Island from my window.



  • E.J. – Thank you for your “Did You Know?” posts. They’re interesting and well-written. I always look forward to them. Thanks.


  • A couple of notes.
    The ramp there was for what is thought to be for the first Sea Plane put in use by the “Revenuers” to patrol the coastal “Rum Line” (Folly Cove) 3 mile limit to chase bootleggers during Prohibition.
    Also, my Grandfather, Thomas Powers, was a commisioner to build the Lobster Hatchery there. I think at least one of these stories is true.


  • Thanks Bob – interesting additional bits of information – aren’t you glad prohibition ended, or there would be no Folly Cove Rum, at least not legally.
    Thanks John – I’m glad you are enjoying them.
    Anonymous – lovely view to stare out your window at. It must be nice to look out in every kind of weather and time of day and see the different faces of it.


  • Fish hatchier on ten pound inland.why was it burned down and who ordered it and was n.o.a.a involved. When I was a kid on the 4th July 1965 the last remaining buildings were set a blase . That same year n.o.a.a opened a office on the top floor of the Gloucester post office . Four men worked for noaa then
    how many work for noaa now .and has Gloucester fishermen benefit from this ?And why is hatching cod and other fish never used if it worked with other fish stripped bass and many other fish. They were hatchires in other ports that met the same fate


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