Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light is a historic lighthouse at the entrance to Portland Harbor in the Gulf of Maine. Beginning in 1787, at the directive of George Washington who helped fund it, construction began, while Maine was still part of the state of Massachusetts. It was completed in 1790 and first lit in January 1791, making it the oldest lighthouse in the state of Maine.

The 80-foot tower (whose height has changed multiple times over its history) was built of rubblestone. Whale oil lamps were originally used for illumination until 1855, when it’s first Fresnel lens was installed. This, in turn, was replaced by its first aerobeacon in 1958. The current beacon, a 400-watt metal halide lamp, is visible for 24 nautical miles, rated for 20,000 hours, and produces 36,000 lumens of light at 200,000 candlepower.

  • Visited: Oct 2010
  • National Register of Historic Places: 1973

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