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Owls Head Lighthouse

OWLS HEAD LIGHT, MAINE
ENTRANCE TO ROCKLAND HARBOR, PENOBSCOT BAY, MAINE
Station Established: 1826
Year Current Tower(s) First Lit: 1826
Operational? YES
Automated? 1989
Deactivated: N/A
Foundation Materials: GRANITE
Construction Materials: BRICK
Tower Shape: CYLINDRICAL
Markings/Pattern: WHITE W/BLACK LANTERN
Relationship to Other Structure: SEPERATE
Original Lens: REFLECTOR SYSTEM

Historical Information:

  • Owls Head Light was authorized by President John Quincy Adams in 1825 to mark the entrance of Rockland Harbor on the Penobscot Bay. The 30 foot granite tower was lit in 1826. The short stature of the light is aided by the height of the cliff it is built on. The light is 100 feet above sea level.
  • In 1854 a wood frame keeper’s quarters were built. In 1856 the original reflector system was replaced with a fourth order Fresnel lens. The Fresnel lens is still in use today.
  • Other structures were built at the site including a fog bell tower, an 1895 oil storage building and generator housing. The fog bell tower is no longer standing. A wooden walkway to the tower was added as well.
  • In the 1930’s Keeper Augustus Hamor had a dog named Spot. Spot would bark a warning to passing ships. He is credited with saving the Matinicus mail boat. The captain heard Spot’s barking and was able to narrowly escape running aground on the rocky outcropping.
  • The light was automated in 1989. The property is open to the public as part of the Owls Head State Park. The light station is not open. It serves as Coast Guard housing. The light remains an active aid to navigation. In 2007 the American Lighthouse Foundation earned a license to maintain and preserve the property. The group hopes to open the tower to the public.

Researched and written by Melissa Buckler, a volunteer through the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

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