Famous Lights

Dumpling Rock Lighthouse, New Bedford Harbor

The information contained in this section is taken verbatim from HISTORICALLY FAMOUS LIGHTHOUSES - CG-232. Although the format has been changed slightly for better reading and display. BJ 'n Cindy

The appropriation act of May 23, 1828, provided "That the Secretary of the Treasury be empowered to provide by contract, for building a lighthouse on Dumpling Rock, south of the mouth of Aponegansett River, in the State of Massachusetts-$4,000." Of this amount $3,832.47 was spent in 1829 in the construction of a light on a keeper’s dwelling 43 feet above sea level. Ten years after it was built, Lt. Edward W. Carpender, USN, reported: "It is a useful light in guiding vessels into Dartmouth Harbor." "The keeper and his family," the report says, "were in danger of being drowned out, until the Government built a wall around the dwelling. Since then they have lived in safety. Located, as this light is, on a small barren rock, with fewer advantages to the keeper than perhaps any other light in the district, it would seem proper that I should notice the fact of the salary being smaller by $50 than that of many others."

During the early days of the light the keeper had arranged a signal to his friends whenever a homeward-bound vessel was sighted approaching New Bedford Harbor. An arm on a post near the lighthouse tower was raised and lowered so that the merchants could send their representatives out to the incoming boat to sell their wares.

In 1890 the old stone dwelling, built in 1828, was torn down and replaced upon the same foundation by a frame dwelling surmounted by a wooden tower with a modern fourth-order lens. For its protection against the sea, a bulkhead 90 feet long was built of hard pine timber heavily bolted to the rock and reinforced by dry masonry from the stones of the old dwelling. A Daboll trumphet, operated by an oil steam engine, was established on October 12, 1897. The following year a telephone line was run through a cable from the mainland at Nonquitt, Mass. In 1905 a short breakwater was built to protect the landings. Keeper Fred Bohm participated in many thrilling rescues during his term as keeper.

The New England hurricane of 1938 damaged the lighthouse seriously. In 1940 the frame house was replaced with a skeleton tower and the light changed to unwatched. The 400 candlepower light can be seen for 8 miles. The light is located on a rock off Round Hill Point. (5)