Lighthouses stand as icons of hope to ships lost at sea, reminding sailors of the land they’ve left behind. During storms, these towering beacons often stand in isolation, serving as vital navigational aids and serving as a reminder that someone on dry land is thinking of them.
After two decades at the helm, the final Coast Guard lighthouse keeper in the United States has concluded her watch.
Sally Snowman, 72, first became fascinated by Boston Light in the 1960s when she saw one of the country’s most historic lighthouses as a ten-year-old.
“Awestruck by the towering white structure which had guided ships safely into Boston Harbor for nearly 200 years,” writes The Daily Mail, “she told her father: ‘Daddy, when I grow up, I want to get married here.’
She was so captivated by the lighthouse during the whistle-stop picnic trip that it inspired another childhood dream – an unusual one for a little girl – to one day become Boston Light’s keeper.
Snowman, now 72, didn’t return to the island until October 8, 1994. That day, she fulfilled the first wish and married her husband, Jay Thompson, at an intimate ceremony on the lawns under the gaze of Boston Light.
Nine years later, on August 10, 2003, Snowman’s second childhood dream came true: she was named keeper of Boston Light – the first female in its history to hold the position.”
@alexlawson254 The last light house keeper of the Boston Light, and Sally is the only woman to run it! #lighthouse #boston #massachusetts #bostonlight ♬ original sound – Alex Lawson
Boston Light is the oldest lighthouse in the United States, with its origins dating back to 1716. Perched on Little Brewster Island in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, the lighthouse has served as a vital navigational aid for mariners entering the bustling port of Boston for centuries. The iconic tower has undergone several reconstructions and improvements over the years, with the current structure dating to 1783.
Beyond its historical significance, Boston Light stands as a symbol of maritime heritage, resilience, and the enduring importance of safeguarding seafaring routes. Visitors can explore the island, learn about the lighthouse’s rich history, and appreciate the picturesque views that have made Boston Light a cherished beacon on the Atlantic coast.
First called “wickies,” lighthouse keepers served as invaluable public servants for over 300 years in the United States. USA Today noted, “The Service was the first Public Work Act of the first United States Congress, according to the National Park Service.
In 1896, lighthouse keepers became civil service employees until 1910 when Congress created the Bureau of Lighthouses. The U.S. Coast Guard oversaw the role starting 1939 until after 9/11 when civilians were hired to free up the Coast Guard during a time of war, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce Research Library.
By 1990, most lighthouses were automated, with one exception.
At Boston Light, Sally Snowman remained.”
Now Sally’s watch has ended, but Boston Light will continue to shine.