Lighthouse lovers love the coast of Maine! With 14 of
Maine’s 68 lighthouses right here in Midcoast Maine, it’s a lighthouse
feast all year! There’s something romantic and mysterious about lighthouses
and they have a lure that spans centuries. Stories abound of heroic rescues,
shipwrecks, ghosts and romantic legends. Most were built in the 1800’s and
many are still working beacons of light guiding ships safely through fog,
storm and dark of night.
Lighthouses in Central Maine
The lighthouses of Maine are now almost all fully automated and many are now
privately owned. Others have been restored and include wonderful museums. In
the Maine Lighthouse Museum, right here in the Midcoast, boasts one of
the largest collections of Fresnel lenses in the country. It is a must see
for those who want to know of the histories of lighthouses.
Many of the areas lighthouses can be seen within a short drive. Several are
open to the public or allow access to the grounds. Others can only be seen
from the water as they are island or remote lights. We are happy to share
our self-guided lighthouse driving tour with you! In fact, we have created
several day trips for those guests who may want to explore lighthouses
further up and down the coast. Or, climb aboard a Maine schooner or local
lobster boat for a memorable tour of our island lighthouses.
Depending on the route, you will see up to 7 different lighthouses, which
for more than 150 years have been guiding sailors in the Penobscot Bay. On
each tour, you may also see some of the Maine coast's abundant wildlife -
seals, porpoise, eagles and various sea birds.
See more information about central Maine lighthouses below as well as some
tours available from the local area. We have also included information about
the Cape Elizabeth light as one of our rooms is named after it.
A nice resource for locating lighthouses
throughout the United States is
The Great American
Active light on Curtis
Island. The original light station dates from 1836, present
lighthouse and keeper's house date from the late 1800's. Originally
known as Negro Island, the island and lighthouse were renamed Curtis
Island to honor Cyrus H. Curtis (Curtis Publishing) in the 1930's.
The best shore view of the light is from the park at the end of
Beacon Ave. Turn left on Chestnut St., about 1/2 mile to the top of
the hill then left on Beacon Ave. The lighthouse is also visible
from the end of Beacon Ave., with a short walk down to the shore
along a bark mulch public path. The Camden Public Library has on
display, the 4th order Fresnel lens that equipped the Curtis Island
Light from 1857 until 1994.
Active light dating from
1850's. The lighthouse is adjacent to the ferry slip, keeper's house
is Sailor's Museum with lighthouse items.
Museum hours: mid-June until Labor Day from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Reached by ferry from Lincolnville Beach about 5 miles north of
Camden on US RT1. For a small fee, cars can be parked at the ferry
landing at Lincolnville Beach. Please ask for ferry schedules. The
lighthouse tower is in the summer.
Active light dating from
1850's at the mouth of the Penobscot River located at Ft. Point
State Park. The station includes one of the few remaining fog bell
towers in Maine. Good auto access, parking & photo opportunities.
The keeper's house is the park ranger's residence.
From Camden go north on US RT1 through Belfast & Searsport. North of
Searsport, turn right at the Stockton Springs sign. After passing
through the town's small business district, turn right onto East
Cape Rd. at the Fort Point State Park sign. Follow East Cape Rd. to
Fort Point Rd, turn left at the park's entrance and continue to the
park's parking area. The lighthouse is directly beyond the ruins of
Ft. Pownall. If the park gate is closed, continue on Fort Point road
to the "Y" intersection. Bear left and follow the road to the end
and a parking area.
Originally built in 1828 at the entrance to Castine Harbor, now
decommissioned and owned by the Town of Castine. Accessible by auto,
limited parking, nice photo opportunities.
Follow US1 north to Orland (approx. 40 miles from Camden) turn right
onto ME RT175. Follow ME RT175 to ME RT166 (or 166A) to Castine.
Follow Battle Ave. (ME RT166) 0.9 mile past the Maine Maritime
Academy & Fort St. George to the lighthouse. The path to the shore
takes you to the modern skeleton tower light and also gives a good
vantage point for photos.
privately owned since the 1930's. Original light station was built
in 1850 and rebuilt in 1874. A distant view from shore is possible
from the Marine Park in Rockport.
From Camden, go south on US RT1 to the ME RT90 intersection. Turn
left on West St. and at the end left again on Pascal Ave. The
entrance to Marine Park is just before you cross the Goose River
Bridge. Indian Island is in the distance on the island at the mouth
of the harbor.
A small lantern was placed at Jameson Point at
the entrance to Rockland Harbor in 1827. As Rockland became a
leading port for export of limerock in the late 19th century, it
became apparent that a lighthouse was necessary. The 0.8-mile-long
stone jetty was built between 1881 and 1899; as the work progressed
in piecemeal fashion, dependent upon allocation of funds, the small
beacon was moved further out as the breakwater extended. In 1902 a
permanent lighthouse was built at the breakwater's end and a 25-foot
brick tower was added atop the roof of the brick keeper's house. A
fourth-lens was installed. The light was automated in 1964 and in
1973 the Coast Guard announced plans to raze the structure. This
news was not well received, prompting the nearby Samoset Resort to
assume partial responsibility for upkeep of the dwelling. However,
in 1989 the resort relinquished its involvement. Major renovations
were completed in 1990.
The lighthouse is now owned by the city of Rockland and leased to
the Friends of Rockland Breakwater, a chapter of the American
Lighthouse Foundation. The Friends group is raising money to restore
the lighthouse in hopes of eventually opening it as a living history
museum. There is a small park near the beginning of the breakwater,
the Marie H. Reed Breakwater Park. There are granite seats and a
nice grassy area to enjoy a picnic lunch.
Although the walk along the breakwater takes you directly to the
lighthouse, best views and photographs are from the water. Ferries
from Rockland pass this light as do area excursion boats and
Directions: From Route 1, turn onto Waldo Avenue (�Samoset Resort�
sign). Continue for about 0.5 mile, turning right at Samoset Road.
The road ends at parking area. The breakwater, to the left of a
small park area, leads about 0.8 mile to the lighthouse. The Maine
State Ferries from Rockland to Vinalhaven and North Haven pass close
to this light. Additionally, Rockland is home to many of Maine's
windjammers. A trip aboard any of these vessels takes you by
Rockland Breakwater Light and other lighthouses in Penobscot Bay.
The growing lime trade in nearby Rockland and
Thomaston warranted construction of a lighthouse on Owls Head at the
entrance to Rockland Harbor. The land for the lighthouse was
purchased from the heirs of Nathaniel Merryman on Nov. 11, 1824, and
President John Quincy Adams authorized the work in 1825. It was
first lit on Sept. 25, 1825.
The 20-foot brick tower is unusually short; the height of the
promontory made a tall lighthouse unnecessary, still putting the
light at 100 feet above sea level. A fourth-order Fresnel lens was
installed in 1856.
Legend tells that, during a storm in December 1850, a small schooner
from Massachusetts broke loose from its mooring at Jameson Point and
headed across Penobscot Bay toward Owls Head. The captain had gone
ashore leaving the mate, a seaman and one passenger aboard. As the
storm intensified, the vessel smashed into the rocky ledges south of
the lighthouse; the three on board huddled together, wrapped in
blankets against the freezing surf.
As the schooner broke apart, the seaman left the vessel, managed to
get ashore and reached the road to the lighthouse. The keeper
happened to be driving by in a sleigh, took the dazed man to his
house and learned of the others still at sea. A rescue party located
the schooner and found a block of ice enveloping the mate and
passenger. After bringing the block ashore, carefully chipping away
the ice and slowly warming the victims, both revived. The mate,
Richard Ingraham and passenger, Lydia Dyer, were later married. The
seaman died soon after the wreck.
Another well-known tale associated with Owls Head Light is that of
springer spaniel, Spot. The dog learned to pull the fog bell rope
with his teeth when he saw an approaching vessel. Boats would answer
with a whistle or bell and Spot would bark in reply. One stormy
night in the 1890s, the mailboat from Matinicus was headed toward
Owls Head. The fog bell rope was buried in the snow but Spot's
constant barking warned the captain in time to guide his vessel
around the peninsula, clear the rocks, and sound a whistle to
acknowledge safe passage. The spaniel is buried on the hillside near
the former location of the fog bell.
The 1854 keeper's house remains a residence for Coast Guard
personnel and the surrounding grounds are now a state park, covered
in tall pines. The bell tower is gone but the 1895 oil house
remains. The lighthouse is easily accessible with parking nearby;
ferries and excursion boats also pass the light.
Directions: From Route 1 in Thomaston/Rockland, turn south onto
Route 73 and continue about two miles, turning left onto North Shore
Drive. Go about 2.5 miles, turning left just past the Owls Head post
office, onto Main Street. Continue to Lighthouse Road (marked) and
turn left; the road becomes a dirt road and leads to a parking and
picnic area. A short walk takes you to the lighthouse. The keeper's
house is occupied by a Coast Guard family.
Ferries, harbor tour boats, windjammers and charter boat excursions
all pass this light.
Marking the eastern side of the south entrance to
Port Clyde Harbor, this lighthouse was built in 1832. At that time
the village of Port Clyde was a major port, with granite quarries,
shipbuilding facilities and fish canning operations. The initial
structure was a 20-foot tall rubblestone tower. In 1857 the present
31-foot brick and granite lighthouse was built with a fifth-order
Fresnel lens installed. The lighthouse is connected to the shore by
a wooden walkway and resembles the Isle au Haut and Ram Island
Lights. A bell tower with 1,000-pound bronze bell was added in 1898
and remained in use until it was replaced by a horn in 1969. The
original 1832 keeper's house was destroyed by lightning in 1895 and
replaced with the present dwelling.
In 1971 the light was automated, the Fresnel lens removed and a
LORAN navigation station set up in the keeper's house. When that
equipment became outdated in 1980, the dwelling was boarded up.
Subsequently, the property was acquired by the town of St. George.
Restoration of the structure was undertaken in 1986 by the Marshall
Point Restoration Committee. Grants of more than $100,000 from the
National Park Service Bicentennial Lighthouse Fund, matched by the
town of St. George and public contributions, were used by the St.
George Historical Society to accomplish the restoration. The
keeper's house was placed on the National Register of Historic
Places in 1988 and the initial restoration was completed in 1990.
The Marshall Point Lighthouse Museum displays memorabilia relating
to the town and three area lighthouses: Tenants Harbor, Whitehead
and Marshall Point. Most recently the summer kitchen has been
rebuilt as an addition to the museum; future plans include
rebuilding of the bell tower and outbuildings.
Museum hours: May & Oct., Sat & Sun only 1-5. June to Sept. daily
except Sat. 1-5, Sat 10-5.
Directions: From Camden, follow US RT1 South thru Rockland to ME
RT131 South intersection just East of Thomaston (at the Knox
Mansion) then go south on ME RT131 to Port Clyde. In Port Clyde,
turn left onto Factory Rd. just before the ferry parking lot. Turn
right at the first intersection onto Marshall Point Rd. The
lighthouse with parking is at the end of this 1/2 mile long road.
Offering at once some of the most majestic, stark
and striking scenery on the Maine coast, this lighthouse sits atop
unique rock formations. Commissioned in 1827 by John Quincy Adams,
this light is located at the west side of the entrance to Muscongus
The original lighthouse was of faulty construction and therefore
replaced by a 38-foot stone tower in 1835; a fourth-order Fresnel
lens was added in 1856. A wooden keeper's house replaced the initial
stone structure in 1857. The fog bell house and tower were
constructed in 1897 and included a hand-cranked mechanism which
powered the striking machinery. In 1934 the bell was removed.
During the years 1903-1917 four major shipwrecks occurred on the
rocks at Pemaquid Point, most notable among them the British vessel
Angel Gabriel. The light, visible on a clear day for 14 miles, was
the first in Maine to be automated in 1934. The keeper's house now
houses the Fishermen's Museum which is operated by the town of
Bristol, displaying artifacts of Maine lighthouses and the
fishing/lobster industry. A park area is adjacent to the lighthouse
grounds, easily accessible with parking.
The tower is now under the care of the American Lighthouse
Directions: From Route 1 in Damariscotta, turn onto ME 129/130, then
follow Route 130 south to its end at Pemaquid Point. Alternatively,
from Route 1 in Waldoboro, turn south onto Route 32 and follow that
route through New Harbor to the junction with Route 130. Turn south
(left) onto Route 130 and follow the road to its end at Pemaquid
Point. There is a small fee at the gate. To view the lighthouse by
boat, cruises are available out of Boothbay Harbor or from Maine
Maritime Museum in Bath.
This area of Cape Elizabeth is known as Two
Lights. As early as 1828 two stone towers were in operation, roughly
300 yards apart. In 1874 the two stone towers were replaced with 65
foot cast iron towers, painted brown and fitted with second-order
fresnel lenses. In 1924 the government decided to convert all
twin-light stations two single towers, so Two Lights western tower
Today Cape Elizabeth's tower shines the most powerful light in
Maine--a 4 million candlepower flashing white light visible for 27
miles. Located in Two Lights State Park, the keeper's house is now a
private residence in an excusive neighborhood. In 1999, the
gingerbread keeper's house at the active light has been demolished
by the owner, to be replaced by a "replica" with a two-car garage
added. The lighthouse, which is not privately owned, remains
untouched. The remains of the western tower are down the street in
someone else's front yard.
Directions: From Portland, follow Route 77 to Cape Elizabeth and Two
Lights State Park.
Monhegan Island, 10 miles
off the coast of Maine, today is a picturesque summer haven for
artists and vacationers. By the time the island was visited by
Samuel de Champlain, Captain John Smith, Bartholomew Gosnold and
other explorers, it had already been an outpost for many European
fishermen. Some believe the Vikings visited the area around 1,000
A.D. and left carvings on the rocks of nearby Manana Island. Others
believe the strange engravings were made much earlier.
For many voyagers coming across the Atlantic, Monhegan Island was
the first sight of land. By the early 19th century trade in the area
was increasing, and in 1824 President James Monroe authorized the
building of a lighthouse on Monhegan's highest point for $3,000.
Monhegan Island Light is considered a primary seacoast light.
The first Monhegan Island Light was a granite tower with a wooden
keeper's house. After much damage from storms the lighthouse was
rebuilt in 1850. The 48-foot granite tower built that year still
stands. It is very similar to the lighthouse on Whitehead Island,
built about the same time. A new two story keeper's house was built
In 1856 the original 10 lamps and reflectors were replaced by a
powerful second order Fresnel lens. With its light 178 feet above
sea level, Monhegan Island Light is the second-highest light in
Maine (after Seguin Island).
The Monhegan Historical and Cultural Museum Association has
reconstructed the 1857 assistant keeper's house to serve as a museum
for their art collection. It is the first time a keeper's house has
been reconstructed in Maine.
Monhegan Island Light was converted to solar power in 1995 and is
still an active aid to navigation.
Directions: Monhegan Island can be reached by ferry from Port Clyde,
New Harbor or Boothbay Harbor. Reaching the lighthouse requires a
moderate uphill walk.