From the Archives

From Globe Archives: Boston Light

Associated Press/File 1940


America’s first lighthouse guided vessels entering Boston Harbor beginning on Sept. 14, 1716, and the lighthouse on Little Brewster Island was the last to be automated, in 1998. While the current Boston Light is not the original, it has stood guard since 1783. The first beacon on the island fell victim to fighting during the American Revolution. Today the lighthouse is staffed by volunteers and can be toured.

In the photo above, the “Flying Santa Claus,” Edward Rowe Snow, a high school teacher and coastal historian, flew out of Boston on Dec. 22, 1940, to bring Christmas cheer to lonely outposts on the New England coast. Continuing a tradition begun a decade ago by Captain William H. Wincapaw of Maine, the Flying Santa sent a bundle (seen here being dropped directly under the plane’s fuselage) to the keepers of Boston Light. All lighthouses, lightships, and Coast Guard shore stations received a 14-pound package containing candy, cigarettes, a calendar, and almanac. At stations where children resided, toys were also dropped.


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