Minot’s Ledge I Love You Lighthouse, 143

minotsledge Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse winks and blinks “I Love You” to Lighthouse Lovers on Valentine’s Day and everyday! Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse is one of the most romantic Lighthouses in our country.

The distinctive Light Characteristic of Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse uses a 1-4-3 flashing sequence which is the same numerical count as the words “I love you.” Romantic Lighthouse Lovers on the shore of Minot Beach soon nicknamed the granite Lighthouse, the “Lover’s Light” or the “I Love You Light.”

Five months after the second Lighthouse was first lit on Nov 15, 1860, Fitz James O’Brien’s “Minot’s Ledge” poem was published in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine.

On Aug 25, 1871, Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote of his visit to Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse:

“…we find ourselves at the base of the lighthouse rising sheer out of the sea like a huge stone cannon, mouth upward. We are hoisted up forty feet in a chair, some of us; others go up by an iron ladder… The lighthouse rises out of the sea like a beautiful stone cannon, mouth upward, belching forth only friendly fires.” – Final Memorials of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1887

In 1901, Helen Keller romanticized her passing Minot’s Ledge Light on her way to Boston Harbor:
“…the colors warmed and deepened as we watched the beautiful, gold-tinted clouds peacefully take possession of the sky. Then came the sun, gathering the mist into silvery bands with which he wreathed the islands that lifted their heads out of the purple sea as it passed.

A mighty tide of life and joy followed in its track. The ocean awoke, ships and boats of every description sprang from the waves as if by magic; and as we sighted Minot’s Ledge Light, a great six-masted schooner with snowy sails passed us like a beautiful winged spirit, bound for some unknown haven beyond the bar.

How delightful it was to see Minot’s Ledge in the morning light. There one expects to see the ocean lashed into fury by the splendid resistance of the rocks; but as we passed the ‘light’ seemed to rise out of the tranquil water, like Venus from her morning bath. It seemed so near, I thought I could touch it; but I am rather glad I did not; for perhaps the lovely illusion would have been destroyed had I examined it more closely.” – Helen Keller

Ironically, the 1-4-3 numerical flash pattern was randomly selected after Lt. Frederick Mahan, U.S.N., a member of the Lighthouse Board, recommended all Lighthouses have a numerical flash sequence in 1890. Due to the high costs of these special lenses, only two Fresnel lenses were made and displayed at the Chicago Worlds Fair of 1893.

Cape Charles Light Station, located on Smith Island, Virginia, was First Lit on August 15, 1895 exhibiting 9 Flashes every 30 seconds using a 4-5 pattern (four quick flashes followed by a dark interval of three seconds, then five more flashes followed by sixteen seconds of darkness) illuminated by a First-order Fresnel lens.

Minot’s Ledge Light, located on Minot’s Ledge, a 25-foot-wide rock ledge that is part of the Cohasset Rocks located approximately one mile offshore from the town of Cohasset, Massachusetts, was refitted with Second-order Fresnel lens and re-lighted on May 1, 1894 exhibiting 8 Flashes every 45 seconds using a 1-4-3 pattern (one quick flash followed by a dark interval of five seconds, four flashes, and three flashes followed by 15.5 seconds of darkness).

According to Lighthouse Lore, Minot’s Ledge Light is haunted by two assistant Light-keepers, Joseph Wilson and Joseph Antoine, who lost their lives when the first iron-pile Lighthouse was destroyed by a severe storm on April 17, 1851. Several Light-keepers of the new dovetailed granite Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse reported seeing the two supernatural phantom Light-keepers in the Lantern Room in the middle of the night and the images of the two drowned keepers would appear in the doorway when they looked at the reflection of the tower in the water on calm sunny days. The ringing of a phantom bell and knocks were frequently heard at night.

Lighthouse Legend also claims the local fishermen and Light-keepers can hear the phantom of Joseph Antoine cry “Stay Away” in his native tongue of Portuguese and they also claim to see him clinging to ladder of the Tower. Perhaps the most bizarre legend was the mysterious polishing of the Fresnel lens and the mysterious cleaning of the windows of the Lantern Room before the human assistant Light-keepers could clean them!

Since spectral visions are a highly subjective surreal experience, please click on the photo of this post for more information about the human history of this Lighthouse, travel tips, and Lighthouse Cruises.

For a Map Location of the Lighthouse, please visit the Google Map of Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse

icon_heart Hopefully, you will not receive chocolates from a Secret Spectral Sweetheart!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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About Debbie Dolphin

Lighthouse author and photographer living in New England

Posted on February 14, 2008, in Cruises, Haunted Lighthouses, Holidays and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. I am getting married in Scituate in December. We are having our reception at the Lightkeeper’s House. 1-4-3

  2. There is a lighthouse cruise on June 26 2010 that centers around Minot’s Light 150th birthday. tickets are still availible through the Scituate Historical Society. You get to see 5 lighthouses from Scituate to Boston. And they’ll feed you too. Go to the link below. I have my tickets already.

  3. I grew up in Scituate and even worked as a caretaker at the old Adams Estate at “The Glades” which looks out at the Minot Lighthouse. It’s an awesome site to have right there in front of you. Scituate has another lighthouse too in the harbor just known as Scituate Lighthouse. Because of these two lighthouses, I’ve always been a big fan of lighthouses in general.

  4. This is where my parents got married…. we took a boat into the place and went by minot light with the 143! I Love You!

  5. at night lol back in the day! 143 🙂

  6. thanks for the memories spent some loving times watching this ” I love you ” light in the day!!


  7. Hi Debbie again,
    This is a very cool story. I have actually heard of it before on one those most haunted t.v. shows. It really is a fascinating story.

    And I love this blog. So I am headed to add you to my roll so I can visit without forgetting.

    What a lovely view and I think it would be fun to go there. maybe I will ask the kids to plan a trip the next time I go up to Maine.

    • Hi Jackie,

      You discovered my other secret blog! 🙂

      Lighthouse legends are intriguing stories most likely told by Old Salts to spook children into staying away from dangerous lighthouse locations.

      The Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands generally schedule a Fall Lighthouse cruise. Their 2009 Lighthouse cruise schedule has not been posted, yet. Their link is: http://www.fbhi.org/

      Thank you for the winky linky and I added your Blog to my roll!

      Hugs and have a great day! 🙂

  8. Hi Barry,

    According to a unverified source, Minot’s Ledge was named after George Minot, a Boston merchant, who lost a valuable ship on the rocks in 1754.

    Debbie Dolphin’s last blog post..Beavertail Lighthouse Open to Vandalism Again?

  9. Hi,
    can anyone tell me how the ledge got its’ name?
    Kind regards.
    B. Minot

  10. Hi Olga, the Traveling Bra,

    This romantic Lighthouse could be used in your new romantic phantasy (or pun fantasy) film: The Ghosts and Mrs. Traveling Bra! 🙂

  11. That is sooooooo cool! 🙂

    Olga, the Traveling Bra’s last blog post..A Few Souvenirs…

  12. Hi Debo,

    A romantic Lighthouse Valentine’s dinner for two?
    Our Spectral Servers will be with you shortly! 😉

  13. Oh that is truely romantic, perhaps the ghosts can serve champagne and strawberries.

    Debo Hobo’s last blog post..Aphrodisiac Destinations

  14. Hi Kim,

    Fortunately, we were romantically radiant when we visited this romantic Lighthouse before discovering the haunted history of the Lighthouse!

    No doubt, we will never see this Lighthouse the same way again after the haunted humor of haunted housecleaning! 🙂

    I will swim the digital seven seas to the warm waters of laketrees, soon 🙂

  15. such a lovely romantic lighthouse Debbie…despite the ghosts !!!
    I could certainly do with some housecleaning ghosts though…they’re welcome Spring Autumn Summer Winter…in fact any time…
    I have an award for you at my place too 😉 🙂

    laketrees’s last blog post..Significant Blogger Award

  16. Hi Linda,

    From the Lighthouse Lover’s Lookout, the winking and blinking of “I Love You” is romantic!

    I wonder if the Light-keeper ghosts Do Windows for homes? That would be a Valentine’s Dream for spring cleaning! 😉

    P.S. Travel Tip: The Lighthouse is best viewed by boat or Lighthouse cruise. The distant view of the Lighthouse from the shoreline is best seen using Binoculars during a daylight summer drive!

    Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse can be viewed in the distance on a scenic drive along Atlantic Avenue in Cohasset to Minot Beach (Lighthouse Lover’s Lookout).

  17. Massachusetts, eh? Hmm, this one isn’t far from where I live – sounds like it might be a nice summer drive. The haunted lore makes it even more appealing!

    Linda’s last blog post..Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, This Song is a Valentine From Me to You!

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