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September 14, 1716: Boston Lighthouse Lit for the First Time

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The Great Republic Burns: December 26, 1853
On this day in 1853, the Great Republic burned to the waterline in New York harbor the day before she was to set sail on her maiden voyage. Built by Donald...

Coast Guard Cutter Collides with Navy Submarine: December 17, 1927
On this day in 1927, a Navy submarine, S-4, and a Coast Guard cutter collided within sight of Provincetown. The cutter's bow sliced into the submarine's...

Paul Cuffe Sails for Sierra Leone: December 10, 1815
On this day in 1815, Paul Cuffe of Westport sailed for the west coast of Africa with 38 black emigrants and a cargo of goods on board his vessel. The...

“Storm Warriors” Rescue 29 Sailors off Hull: November 25, 1888
On this day in 1888, one of the most ferocious storms of the nineteenth century battered the New England coast. In the seas off Hull, "Storm...

Whaleship Essex Sinks: November 20, 1820
On this day in 1820, an enormous sperm whale rammed and sank the Nantucket whaleship Essex in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. The first mate described...

Underwater Explorer Proves Wreck is Whydah: October 30, 1985
On this day in 1985, treasure hunter Barry Clifford finally had proof that the wreck he was salvaging off Cape Cod was indeed the pirate ship Whydah....

USS Constitution Launched in Boston: October 21, 1797
On this day in 1797, USS Constitution was launched in Boston. It took three attempts to set the immense ship, reinforced with heavy diagonal planking...

Boston Lighthouse Lit for the First Time: September 14, 1716
On this day in 1716, Boston Light on Little Brewster Island was lit for the first time. The first lighthouse built in North America, the structure weathered...

Washington Commissions First Naval Officer: September 2, 1775
On this day in 1775, General George Washington commissioned Nicholson Broughton captain "in the Army of the United Colonies of North America."...

Harvard Awards Bowditch Honorary Degree: August 25, 1802
On this day in 1802, Harvard College awarded Nathaniel Bowditch an honorary Master's Degree. The Salem-born astronomer, mathematician, and navigator...

Pilgrim Monument Completed in Provincetown: August 21, 1909
On this day in 1909, two young girls, using ropes and a pulley, helped haul the last stone into place to complete the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown....

Revenue Cutter Service School Established in New Bedford: July 31, 1876
On this day in 1876, Congress established at New Bedford the first School of Instruction to train officers for the Revenue Service. The Service traced...

The Stockholm Rams the Andrea Doria: July 25, 1956
On this day in 1956, two ocean liners collided in thick fog, approximately 50 miles south of Nantucket. The Stockholm had just left New York City bound...

German U-Boat Attacks Cape Cod: July 21, 1918
On this day in 1918, people in the Cape Cod town of Orleans were astonished to see a German U-boat surface offshore and begin firing on an unarmed tugboat...

Quincy Shipyard Launches First Nuclear Powered Cruiser: July 14, 1959
On this day in 1959, the nation's first nuclear-powered cruiser was launched from Fore River Shipyard in Quincy. With its deep and sheltered harbor,...

Fire Nearly Destroys Nantucket Town: July 13, 1846
On this day in 1846, a fire began in a hat store on Nantucket's Main Street. In no time, it raced through town, consuming everything in its path....

Captain Absalom Boston Dies on Nantucket: June 6, 1855
On this day in 1855, Captain Absalom Boston of Nantucket died. In an era when many African Americans worked as seamen, Absalom Boston stood out. In 1822...

Explorer Gosnold Names “Cape Cod”: May 15, 1602
On this day in 1602, the English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold dropped anchor off the Massachusetts coast. While he and four others went ashore, the rest...

Marblehead Carved Out of Salem: May 6, 1635
On this day in 1635, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay established the town of Marblehead on land that belonged to Salem. The move was meant to punish...

First Whale Watch Departs: April 15, 1975
On this day in 1975 charter boat captain Al Avellar left Provincetown Harbor with a boatload of school children. They were going to look, not fish. This...

Puritans Leave for Massachusetts: April 7, 1630
On this day in 1630, the last well-wishers stepped off the ship Arabella and returned to shore. More than a week after the vessel first set out, the winds...

Gloucester Fish Companies Merge: March 31, 1906
On this day in 1906, Slade Gorton and Company of Gloucester stunned the fishing industry by announcing that it would merge with three other local fishing...

Legislature Guarantees Access to Public Schools: March 25, 1845
On this day in 1845, the Massachusetts legislature guaranteed that every child in the state would have access to a public school. One source of pressure...

Newbury Offers Wolf Bounty: March 9, 1704
On this day in 1704, the town of Newbury voted to pay a bounty to men who had killed two wolves on Plum Island. The wolves were a threat to the cattle,...

News of Peace Treaty Reaches Boston: February 12, 1815
On this day in 1815, news reached Boston that the War of 1812 was over. The U.S. had at first been a neutral party in a conflict between Britain and France....

Marconi Transmits Radio Message: January 18, 1903
On this day in 1903, Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor of wireless telegraphy, arrived on Cape Cod hoping to make history. The night was cold but...

Herman Melville Sails from New Bedford: January 3, 1841
On this day in 1841, Herman Melville boarded the whaleship Acushnet and sailed out of New Bedford, the whaling capital of the world. As he later wrote...

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