Monday, August 11, 2008

Portland Breakwater Light by Greg Marlett

The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, situated at the end of a breakwater that extends 1/2-mile into the Portland Harbor, is one of Maine's most decorative lights. The lighthouse, which is a cylinder surrounded by six fluted columns, is modeled after the Greek Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, built in the fourth century B.C. Some say that Thomas Ustick Walter, who erected the cast-iron dome of the Capitol Building, was involved with the design of the lighthouse.

Early keepers had the tough job of getting to the lighthouse. Because of high winds and stormy weather, sometimes the keeper would have to crawl along the breakwater to reach the light. In 1889 a two-room keeper's house was built; the house was odd-looking because it hung over both sides of the breaker. The house was removed in 1934.

During the second World War the area between the shore and the lighthouse was filled in to create more room for shipbuilding. This makes the light easily accessible today, though the tower itself is not open to the public.

Year Established: 1855

Year Automated: 1934

Shape: Conical, cast-iron with brick lining

Height: 16 ft.

Characteristic: Flashing white light every four seconds.

Accessibility: The light is completely accessible from the public landing off of Pickett St. in South Portland. You can walk around the lighthouse but can't go inside.

Copyright 2007, All rights reserved.


Andy Mooers said...

Good post on lighthouses in Maine...learning alot.

Petra W said...

I wish you could post a picture of the lighthouse... it sounds very interesting! Lighthouses have a certain something... Lighthouse Home Decor

US said...

Michigan has 116 Lighthouses and my family is planning on visiting them all and posting our adventures. Following yours and you can follow us at

Anonymous said...

I cant wait to bring my wife to Maine and see the light houses.

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ShutterMaster said...

Great article. Love your blog.

I did an image search and came across this cool picture

I was in Maine last October. Too bad I didn't research lighthouses before the trip. I did manage to catch several while there. Has become a new interest for me for photography. Would love to add this one to my Lighthouse Collection.


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