Thursday, August 2, 2012

National Register of Historic Places: Portland Head Light

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Portland Head Light
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Topics: National Register of Historic Places; Coastal Lighthouses

GPS: N43° 37.388; W070° 12.475

Quick Description: 
Portland Head Light is the first lighthouse built by the United States government, in 1787.

Long Description:
Portland Head Light is the oldest and arguably the most famous and photographed lighthouse in America built by the government. It was constructed at the direction of President George Washington and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton from a design by Jonathan Bryant and John Nichols in 1787.

This historic lighthouse is located in Cape Elizabeth at the entrance to Casco Bay and is now a part of Fort Williams Park. The light has been upgraded over the years. In 1855, a fourth-order Fresnel lens was installed only to be replaced by a second-order Fresnel lens. That in turn was replaced by an aero beacon in 1958 until a DCB-224 aero beacon was installed in 1991.

Portland Head Light is 80 feet above ground and 101 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. The DCB 224 beacon, rated at 200,000 candlepower, is visible from 24 miles out to sea. The grounds, and keeper's house are owned by the town of Cape Elizabeth, while the beacon, and fog signal are owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 24, 1973 (reference #73000121)

Museum and Gift Shop are open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m

Street address:
1000 Shore Rd.
Cape Elizabeth, ME United States

County: Cumberland
Year listed: 1973
Historic significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Period of significance: 1875-1899, 1750-1799
Historic function: Defense, Domestic, Government, Transportation
Current function: Defense, Domestic, Government, Transportation
Privately owned?: no
Hours of operation: From: 10:00 AM To: 4:00 PM

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