Ben Butler’s Toothpick

A regular reader sent along these photos of Butler’s Toothpick, a navigation aid at the mouth of the Merrimack River. The photographer’s email follows. I must admit, I’ve never heard of this before but I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in the vicinity.

I thought you might find this interesting for your blog: My family camps at the Salisbury Beach Reservation all the time. While taking a bike ride up to the mouth of the Merrimack River I came across this sign. I’ve gone by this sign many times but this time it caught my eye. The sign is in the parking lot closest to the river, facing the walkway that goes back to the picnic pavilion headed towards the toothpick. I never knew this navigational aid was commissioned by Ben Butler so many years ago. History and Lowell related things are all around you even when you aren’t looking for them!

3 Responses to Ben Butler’s Toothpick

  1. Janet says:

    How long has that sign been there? I’ve known the history of Butler’s Toothpick for eons but never knew there was signage about it.

  2. Eileen L says:

    I believe it’s only been there for a couple of years. The sign is by The Friends of Plum Island Light, Inc., Merrimac River Sail & Power Squadron, and relatives & friends of B.F. Butler. Design & research by Larry Paul.
    Larry Paul is the head of the YMCA in Newburyport and has been researching the toothpick.

  3. Mario Boiardi says:

    I had the pleasure of having Paul the Captain tell me about this as we passed it in his boat. Very cool!