The Ned's Point Lighthouse is one of the smallest remaining working lighthouses on Buzzards Bay. The historic beacon sits on the rocky shore of Ned's Point in Mattapoisett, warding mariners off of dangerous shoals and into safe harbors. With the same dependability it has maintained for the last 160 years, Ned's Point Lighthouse stands today as a cherished area landmark.
With the support of the Massachusetts congressman (and former president) John Quincy Adams, Congress appropriated $5,000 on March 3, 1837, for a lighthouse at Ned's Point, at the north side of the entrance to Mattapoisett's harbor. The lighthouse was built in 1837-38 by Leonard Hammond, who used rubble from the beach to construct the 35-foot stone tower topped by a cast-iron lantern room. An unusual architectural touch in the tower is the cantilevered granite stairway, with 32 steps embedded in the inner wall without the use of mortar. The 32 triangular, spiral granite stairs, each stone sitting one on top of another and smaller than the one before it, were hand cut in Mattapoisett. First lighted in March 1838, the cost of construction was $450.00. At the same time a small stone dwelling was built close to the lighthouse.
Early lighthouse keepers used to haul buckets of whale oil from the storage house to the lighthouse. During the winter months, the cold, congealed oil was heated to a liquid on the stove and was carried up the spiraling granite steps to the lantern room.
In 1888, the original beehive lantern room was replaced by the octagonal-shaped one there today. The lighthouse keeper's house, destroyed by a hurricane at that time, was rebuilt alongside the lighthouse. A few of the stones from the foundation are still visible in the grass near the rear base of the tower.
In 1923, Ned's Point Lighthouse became fully automated and the unneeded keeper's house was moved by barge to Wing's Neck in Bourne, where it remains today as a private home. (source: Standard Times, New Bedford, MA 3/18/98)
This page updated or reviewed in March 2011