The Coast Guard decomissioned Butler Flats Light it was leased to the City of New Bedford in 1978. It was lighted as a private aid and was one of the nation's earliest solar powered lighthouses. The lighthouse was refurbished by volunteers and by inmates from the Bristol County House of Correction. It was relighted with a new optic on its 100th birthday, April 30, 1998. In 2012, under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act the lighthouse was offered for free to the City of New Bedford or any qualified nonprofit. None wanted it. In 2013 it was scheduled to be auctioned off, but a broken ladder delayed inspection of the lighthouse and the auction. In November 2015, the lighthouse was sold for $80,000 to a private individual.
Tower Height: 53
Height of Focal Plane: 53
Characteristic and Range: Flashing white every four seconds.
Description of Tower: White cylindrical brick tower with black cast iron lantren, on cast iron and concrete caisson.
This light is operational
Date Established: 1898
Date Present Tower Built: 1898
Date Automated: 1978
Optics: 1898: Fifth order Fresnel lens; 1978: solar powered modern optic; 1998: Tidelands RB-300 MaxLumina rotating beacon, visible for six miles.
Fog Signal: 1898: Fog bell and striking machinery.
Current Use: Active private aid to navigation.
Open To Public? No.
Butler Flats Light can be seen from the New Bedford waterfront along East Rodney French Boulevard. A closer view is possible from the New Bedford-Martha's Vineyard ferry (passengers only) leaving Billy Woods Wharf on East Rodney French Boulevard. Call Cape Island Express Lines, Inc., at (508) 997-1688 for information.
Listed on the
National Register of Historic Places
Keepers: Amos Baker, Jr. (1898-1911) (died in service); Charles A. Baker (1911-1941); Leland S. Rose (1943-1946)