TODAY   |  September 01, 2013

Erica tours America’s oldest lighthouse

Before GPS and satellites, there were beacons leading boats to shore. Of the hundreds of lighthouses across the country, America’s oldest can be found on Little Brewster Island in Boston. TODAY’s Erica Hill reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> were made for days like this. cold, gray, the storm moving in. and a distinctly new england feel in the air. just nine miles off the massachusetts coast, on the edges of boston harbor , you'll find america's oldest light station established in 1716 . long before that famous revolution.

>> a fledgling colony, the town of boston trying to establish itself. they were losing their cargo.

>> a mission, to warn boats. and for nearly 300 years a light has continued to shine here helping sailors safely find their way. while this tower isn't the original, the british destroyed that one in 1776 , the current tower dates to 1783 . its beam visible 27 miles out to sea, is now automated. like all the other coast guard light stations around the country. but only boston light still has a full-timekeeper.

>> as lighthouse keeper , i say it's light housekeeping.

>> for a decade now sally has been keeper of this light station , the first woman to hold the job.

>> i just feel like i'm doing something for our country and something for preservation and stewardship for this national e icon.

>> boston light is a national historic landmark . the two-acre island an active coast guard facility. and thanks to an act of congress , it will always have a keeper.

>> you need to put the gloves on.

>> part of that job now includes giving tours weather permitting, in conjunction with the national parks service . and that's one of the reasons that you wear this dress, you said?

>> yes, so that i can stand out from the crowd.

>> the historic nature of the site is just almost beyond challenge. the whole romance of somebody being out here in all weather in all conditions trying to keep other people safe. i think that makes it a very romantic way of life to a lot of people.

>> sally snowman first visited when she was just 10 years old and was immediately drawn to this place.

>> i have salt water in my veins.

>> she married fellow volunteer jay thompson. now for much of the year, this outpost is their home. is this a job for you?

>> no. it's what i live for. i just feel blessed every day that i'm here.

>> the late nest a long, proud line of keepers and lovers of this historic life.