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Farewell to America's Last Lighthouse Keeper

Farewell to America’s Last Lighthouse Keeper

In the ever-evolving landscape of nautical navigation, a historic chapter closes with the retirement of America's last lighthouse keeper, Sally Snowman. After two decades at Boston Light, established in 1716, Snowman's departure not only marks a personal milestone but signifies the end of an era in maritime history.

A Lifetime of Illuminating The Shore -1 Sally Snowman: Two decades of dedication.

The End of an Era

Snowman, who took up the role in 2003, originally anticipated a short tenure. However, her 20-year service became a testament to her dedication to Boston Light, the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States.


Her connection with the lighthouse began in childhood, leading her to eventually fulfill her dream of working and marrying there.

The Lighthouse Legacy

Lighthouses have long been crucial in guiding ships safely, a role persisting even in the age of advanced navigational technology. This is particularly true for smaller vessels, as highlighted by Jeremy D'Entremont, historian for the U.S. Lighthouse Society, and Dave Waller, co-owner of nearby Graves Light Station.


While the U.S. Coast Guard will maintain navigational aids, the physical upkeep of lighthouses like Boston Light now falls to new stewards, underscoring a shift in the role and preservation of these historic beacons.

A New Stewardship

The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 outlines the process for transferring ownership of lighthouses while prioritizing federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofits, and private individuals.


This process has been successful in projects like the restoration of Graves Light Station by Waller, who passionately invests in the conservation of such historical structures.

A Future Anchored in History

Despite being the last official keeper, Snowman's connection to Boston Light will continue. Residing nearby, she remains open to volunteering for tours and talks, maintaining her link to the iconic structure. Her role and the transition of Boston Light reflect a broader narrative of preserving history while embracing progress in maritime guidance.


Sally Snowman's retirement as the last lighthouse keeper in the U.S. is not just a personal milestone but a symbolic moment in maritime history. It underscores the delicate balance between preserving historical icons and adapting to modern needs. As Boston Light transitions to new guardianship, it stands as a beacon of both maritime heritage and evolving technology.

Reference: America's last lighthouse keeper is retiring. She, and her light, are ready.

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