Metro

Nation’s first lighthouse greets new century

Boston Light was originally built in 1716 and has been around longer than the nation itself.

David L Ryan/Globe Staff

Boston Light was originally built in 1716 and has been around longer than the nation itself.

Such an important birthday demands an impressive cake — and soaring testimonials.

Boston Light, nestled on Little Brewster Island, got both Wednesday as it turned 300 in a ceremony that included a giant cake featuring a replica of the rocky island.

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The light station, originally built in 1716, has been around longer than the nation itself. Its keeper, Sally Snowman, holds the last position of lighthouse keeper in the country.

The commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Paul Zukunft, noted that Boston Light was the first light station in the country, and he said it holds a special place in both regional and national history.

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“I know there is something irresistible about the sea — its magnitude, its power,’’ Zukunft said during the celebration at Long Wharf. “Something magical happens where the sea touches the shore and the lighthouse embodies this magic.”

Tradition holds that lighthouse was first lit Sept. 14, 1716. It became a national landmark in 1964 and now serves as a symbol for Boston itself, said Kathy Abbott, chief executive of Boston Harbor Now.

“We have a lot of iconic symbols in Boston — the Green Monster, the Citgo sign, the Zakim Bridge, but there is nothing like Boston Light in terms of how frequently we see it in logos and in terms of what it means to be about Boston,” Abbott said.

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The lighthouse that stands today is not the original structure. It was destroyed during the Revolutionary War and had to be rebuilt in the 18th century.

The tricentennial was filled with a sense of history, but no birthday party is complete without cake: A replica of the island was created by Montilio’s Baking Co.

Quintana can be reached at olivia.quintana@globe.com.
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