Take a Sportfishing Charter from Wellfleet Harbor to
Famous for Striped Bass & Bluefish
Trolling, Spinfishing or Flyfishing
Sailing Daily from Wellfleet Harbor
Captain Ramon Rustia
PO Box 1416, Wellfleet, MA 02667
508-349-0066 • 413-329-8848
About Billingsgate Island
In the late 1800s, this island off Jeremy Point on Wellfleet's north shore was about 60 acres in size. The island supported a small fishing community, which included about 30 houses, a store, a school and livestock.
In 1822, Cape Codders erected a lighthouse on the southern tip of the island, known as "The Point," to help mariners navigate along the shores of Cape Cod Bay.
However, the sea was not kind to the little island. Erosion split Billingsgate in half, and just prior to the Civil War, the light was moved to higher ground. In 1915, the unrelenting sea, once again, threatened the light and keeper's house. Both were moved to a private dwelling, then to a new skeleton tower east of the old lighthouse. On December 26 of that same year, a raging storm and high tides took the older tower. After seven more years of duty, the skeleton tower was discontinued in 1922.
The inhabitants had abandoned the island in the early 1900s. Some of the fishing shacks and houses that dotted Billingsgate were floated to shore. Evidence of some exists today. Similarly, the bricks of the lighthouse are now part of Cape fireplaces, chimneys and walkways.
In the 1940's, the island itself disappeared. At low tide, you can see the strip of a sand bars and the granite boulders placed in a futile attempt to thwart the tide from the southern bluffs of Great Hill Beach.
Although there are numerous scientific explanations for the disappearance of the island, locals prefer another. According to legend, many years ago, a man from Billingsgate was accused, then convicted of a crime for which he would be sent to the gallows. Throughout his trial, he adhered to his innocence. Even on his way to the gallows, he refused to admit his guilt and declared that if he were hanged, the island would disappear. He was and it did.
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Captain Ramon Rustia PO Box 1416 ~ Wellfleet ~ Cape Cod MA 02667 413-329-8848