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Portland Head Light

1000 Shore Road
Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland County, Maine, 04107

Portland Head Light
Photo: Aniarku License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Portland Head Light is a historic lighthouse sits at the entrance of the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor, which is within Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine. Completed in 1791, it is the oldest lighthouse in the state of Maine.
The light station is automated, and the tower, beacon, and foghorn are maintained by the United States Coast Guard, while the former lighthouse keepers' house is a maritime museum within Fort Williams Park.

Construction began in 1787 at the directive of George Washington, and was completed on January 10, 1791. Whale oil lamps were originally used for illumination.

In 1855, following formation of the Lighthouse Board, a fourth-order Fresnel lens was installed; that lens was replaced by a second-order Fresnel lens, which was replaced later by an aero beacon in 1958. That lens was updated with an DCB-224 aero beacon in 1991.

The 400 watt metal halide lamp is rated for 20,000 hours and produces 36,000 lumens of light at 200,000 candlepower.

Portland Head Light Categories

  • Lighthouses

    Portland Head Light stands 80 feet (24 m) above ground and 101 feet (31 m) above water, its white conical tower being connected with a dwelling. The DCB 224 airport style aerobeacon is visible for 24 nautical miles.
  • National Register of Historical Places


Other Portland Head Light Resources

Map of the Area Around
Portland Head Light

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