Photos and Commentary by Stacey Sargent
The Hospital Point Lighthouse, located in the Beverly Cove, is a well-known Beverly landmark. It was established in 1871 and was first lighted in 1872. The light house and the original house is still in use today, and is home to the First Coast Guard District and his family. The lighthouse is considered to be a unique American lighthouse because along with having its original lens, it also has a condensing panel. There is more than meets the eye to this beautiful Beverly landmark, which marks the deep-water channel to Beverly, Salem, and Marblehead. There is a lot of history behind Hospital Point, and the area changed over time in relation to what was happening outside of Beverly. This forty-five foot brick building stands on the spot where a smallpox hospital used to be. The hospital was built in 1801 and burned down in 1849. It was used as a barracks in the war of 1812. During the Revolutionary time period, there it stood as a watch house and a fort on Hospital Point. The evidence of ramparts dug during the Revolutionary war can be seen near the back of the hill. There was also a small battle in 1774 when a British warship fired at Beverly. The Beverly men fought back from the fort and claimed victory when they sent the British ship retreating.
The Hospital Point Lighthouse was, and is much more than I nice landmark to look at. Beverly used to be a very active port for fishing and trading, like many other New England coastal towns in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Sailors, traders, and fishermen to help safely guide their ships depended upon the Hospital Point lighthouse. The light guided the many ships that came into the harbors, bringing valuable and needed goods into the area. Hospital Point was also an important place for the women of Beverly. Many of the women waved fare well to their husbands as they sailed away on their long and dangerous journeys. It is said that many of the Beverly’s women’s hearts where lost and found beneath that light. Today the lighthouse is just as important as it was when it was built. It is an important marker for sailors and fishermen, and it still stands faithfully guiding ships into the Beverly and Salem harbors.