In 1909, the old lighthouse, built in 1851 and also known as the Westport Lighthouse, was replaced by the present wooden octagonal tower equipped with a dioptric fifth-order apparatus showing a fixed white light. The original illuminant used in this tower was petroleum vapor, burned under an incandescent mantle.
John D. Suthern was appointed first keeper of the lighthouse in November, 1851, and Pete Welch served as the final keeper of the Peter Island Lighthouse from 1972 until the station was unmanned in 1984. A unique feature to the octagonal tower is the circular gallery deck beneath the lantern room. The tower is 13.4 meters tall and displays a flashing yellow light.
If you travel to South Point to view the lighthouse, look for the cairn erected in honor of Joshua Slocum, the first person to single-handedly sail around the world. Slocum left Boston on April 24, 1895 and stopped for a visit at Brier Island, where he had spent part of his childhood and where his maternal grandfather was keeper of the Brier Island Lighthouse, before taking his departure from North America at Sambro Island Lighthouse on July 3, 1895. After more than three years, Slocum landed at Newport, Rhode Island on June 27, 1898, completing his journey that he would later chronicle in his book Sailing Alone Around the World. The ferry that runs between Brier Island and Long Island is named Spray after the sailboat Slocum used for his adventure. Slocum disappeared at sea after setting off for the West Indies in November 1909.
A mariner notified the Coast Guard on December 11, 2014 that Peter Island Lighthouse was not functioning, and the Coast Guard soon erected two temporary green navigation lights on the island as mold prevents maintenance crews from accessing the lighthouse. The fate of the lighthouse is uncertain.
Head Keepers: John D. Suthern (1851 - ), Pete Welch (1972 - 1982).