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Duxbury Pier Lighthouse

The Duxbury Pier Light – also known as Bug Light – is located on the channel that leads to Plymouth, Kingston, and Duxbury at the entrance to Plymouth Harbor to protect ships from the dangerous shoal off Saquish Head. Its light produces two red flashes every five seconds and can be seen for six nautical miles. It was first lit on September 15, 1871.

The Duxbury Pier Lighthouse has a misleading name. There is no pier, and it is many miles from Duxbury; however, Duxbury was, at one time, the leading boat building industry in Massachusetts, most likely the reason for its name. Additionally, it is one of the first. In the early 1800s, a stone pier was constructed near where the light was built. its closeness to the pier and to the town of Duxbury is probably how it came to be officially named Duxbury Pier Light. The picture included shows both the original lighthouse and the pier close by. The pier no longer exists but the pile of riprap it stood on remains. The Duxbury Pier Light was the first cast-iron caisson-style lighthouse built in the United States. It stands 35 feet above high tide. The lighthouse contains four levels that include living quarters, sleeping quarters, a watch room, and a lantern room.

In 1983, Duxbury Pier Light was slated by the Coast Guard to be replaced by a fiberglass tower. The Coast Guard had estimated that a renovation of the current structure would have cost $250,000. A group of concerned local residents formed Project Bug Light. A five-year lease was granted to the preservation committee and the Coast Guard spent $100,000 to refurbish the lower half of the Duxbury Pier Lighthouse.

Project Bug Light raised $20,000 from local businesses and used this money to restore the upperparts and the interior, including the rebuilding of the roof and the catwalk. At the same time, solar power replaced the older battery system. The fog signal was also converted to solar power. In the late 1980s, vandals broke into the lantern room, leaving it susceptible to leaks. The weather deteriorated the wood interior so much that all the wood had to be removed, leaving bare iron walls.

After a few years, Project Bug Light dissolved as an organization and the five-year lease expired. In 1993, the Coast Guard again talked of replacing the lighthouse with a fiberglass pole or at least removing the lantern room. This time, Dr. Don Muirhead of Duxbury, an avid sailor, spearheaded a new preservation effort. The Coast Guard again refurbished the lighthouse in 1996. The volunteers of Project Bug Light continue to do maintenance at the light and have raised more than $80,000 toward the continued preservation of "The Bug."


A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Duxbury Pier Lighthouse

This light was the first so-called “sparkplug” lighthouse in the United States.

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