Nix's Mate Daybeacon, Massachusetts

Thanks to Jeremy D'Entremont, webmaster of New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide for this image of the Nix's Mate Daybeacon in Boston Harbor.

photo copyright 2003 Jeremy D'Entremont; used by permission.

This unlighted daybeacon in Boston Harbor is not a lighthouse but it is one of the oldest and best known minor aids to navigation in the country. It marks what was once a 12-acre island, now worn down to a shoal by erosion. The beacon was built by Ozias Goodwin in 1805 under a contract from the State of Massachusetts. It is of frame construction, later covered with a stucco-like layer of concrete. By 2001 it was sadly deteriorated, with rotten wood, cracked concrete, and a hole in the foundation allowing birds and vandals to enter. The Coast Guard announced it would be replaced with a modern marker on a steel post. This led to widespread protests because the tower is a familiar harbor landmark. In fact it is the symbol of the Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands. Responding to these objections, the Coast Guard agreed instead to restore the structure at a cost of $240,000. The work was done in the fall of 2003 by Atlantic Mechanical, the firm that also built the replica lighthouses at Burlington, Vermont in the previous summer.

logo copyright Friends of the
Boston Harbor Islands

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Posted November 21, 2003. Checked and revised April 22, 2020. Site copyright 2020 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.