The Lighthouses of Maine
What is it about lighthouses? Why do they attract us so? Why do so many of us make it a point to seek them out (to do a “lighthouse tour,” if you will). Why must we always see if we can make it to the top of the light station’s tower?
Perhaps because it’s romantic? After all, the history of lighthouses is one of rescue – lighthouses exist to keep mariners safe from rocky shores and shoals.
Or is it for the thought of being a lighthouse keeper? The solitude. The loneliness. Braving nature during a storm.
Perhaps it’s both: the romance of light as rescue and safe haven calling us home, as well as the romance of the work of the lighthouse keeper (and sometimes his family) as they braved life alone on a rocky outcropping.
Regardless, if you love lighthouses, you’ll love the lighthouses of Maine, several of which are located within a short drive of the Glen Cove Inn & Suites.
For example, located just 20 miles south of us, is the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. Built in 1902 (and the lighthouse you see now is the lighthouse you would have seen then), this lighthouse sits on a granite breakwater (almost a mile long) that was built as protection for the harbor. A moveable light beacon was placed on the breakwater and moved as the construction progressed, culminating in the building of the lighthouse when the breakwater was completed (1899).
The beacon was moved to the very end of the breakwater in 1901 and construction of a lighthouse started that same year, with completion in December of that year. The light started working in October 1902.
The station is a one-and-a-half story keeper’s home that was attached to a brick fog signal building. The lantern is 39 feet above mean high water. The breakwater where the station sits is 65 feet deep.
This lighthouse actually was what was known as a “stag” station, in that the keeper’s family didn’t live there with him. The station was automated in 1964 and no longer needed a live-in keeper.
Visitors may see the lighthouse during open houses from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from the end of May to October.
Just five miles north of us is Camden and the Curtis Island Lighthouse. Located on Curtis Island just a short distance offshore from Camden Harbor, a lighthouse was first constructed there in the 1830s, first seeing service in 1836 (its tower was just 20 feet tall).
A 25-foot-tall lighthouse was built in 1896. This is the tower you’ll see today.
Because of its location (it’s relatively close to town and is on a small, idyllic island), this lighthouse was popular with keepers and their families. The light was automated in 1972 but the island and light station still houses a caretaker.
The lighthouse, unfortunately, is not open to the public. It’s hard to see from land, but is easily seen from the water. The island itself is open to the public, but is only accessible by boat.
Right here in Rockport is the Indian Island Lighthouse. Located on the seven-acre Indian Island that’s located just off of Beauchamp Point, this light station was first opened in 1850 and consisted of a lantern placed on the top of the keeper’s house.
A Fresnel lens was placed there in 1856 but, because the light station was so close to Curtis Island, the station was “discontinued in 1859 but later reopened 1875. The light station was discontinued permanently in 1934 and replaced with an automatic light on nearby Lowell Rock.
The lighthouse is now privately owned and not opened to the public.