THIS LIGHTHOUSE is located near the town of Cape Elizabeth, which (according to Wikipedia) is the most affluent town in Maine, according to the 2000 census. It is just south of Portland.
There are actually two lighthouses there, but the other one was discontinued in 1924 and is now privately owned.
The operating lighthouse is the most powerful light in New England.
If you are driving on the coast of Maine on a scenic tour, then the Portland Head Light is the must-see lighthouse along the way. The most popular and most photographed lighthouse in the world (unconfirmed), the Portland Head Light is a gorgeous white lighthouse on the Coast along Port Elizabeth in Southern Maine. The Lighthouse was ordered built by George Washington in 1789. I found it by accident when looking for a good park to jog in (Fort Williams Park is adjacent to the lighthouse). I came back to take dozens of photos at sunrise. Parking is free and there is no admission, only a donations box.
On our 1st pass through Cape Elizabeth, we came across this lighthouse and I thought we were at the Portland Head Light but just weren't looking at it from the right angle. We were in a bit of a rush to get to Ogunquit so we took a photo and left but luckily we had a little free time the next day and came back to the area to find the real Portland Head Light
"The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
and on its outer point, some miles away,
the lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day."
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Cape Elizabeth is home to one of the most spectacularly beautiful lighthouses on America's east coast, the Portland Head Light. It is the oldest lighthouse in Maine.
Standing at the entrance to Portland Harbor, the 72-foot high stone lighthouse was built by local masons and completed in January 1791. The first lighthouse keeper, appointed by President George Washington, was Captain Joseph Greenleaf, a Revolutionary War veteran
Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was born in Portland, was a frequent visitor in his younger years. It is believed that this was the inspiration for Longfellow's poem "The Lighthouse."
Visitors may view the lighthouse year round. The Museum at Portland Head Light is open June through October. There is ample parking and plenty of room for picnicking or strolling.
Like it's twin East Tower, the
West Tower was first lit in 1874. However, it is no longer operational having been deactivated in 1924. Today the West Tower is a private residence.
The foundation of the West Tower is stone, and the tower itself is made of cast iron. It no longer has a lantern.
We drove up Two Lights Road and took a picture of the West Tower from the street, trying to still respect the privacy of the people living there. Photos may also be taken from nearby Twin Lights State Park.
Two Lights State Park consists of 41 acres of rocky headlines which rise high above the pounding surf of Maine's legendary rugged coast. Established in 1961, the park takes its name from the twin lighthouses located nearby at the end of Two Lights Road. The lighthouses, which are not open to the public, are outside the boundaries of the state park. However, the park is the best place for viewing the lighthouses.
Karen and I enjoyed walking some of the paths here and scrambling out onto the rocks. Park facilities include a playground, picnic sites and rest rooms.
Standing high on a ridge overlooking the entrance to Casco Bay are two lighthouses, namesakes for Two Lights State Park." The light station was established in 1828 and the first of the historic towers standing today, the East Tower Light, was first lit in 1874. It was automated in 1963 and is still an active aid to navigation.
The 67-foot tower is made of cast iron over a stone foundadion. The lighthouse is free-standing, but is beside a private residence and the property is privately owned. It is not open to visitors, but may be viewed from afar. The best views are from Two Lights State Park.
Stand high on a hill overlooking Fort Williams are the ruins of what was once a magnificent oceanfront residence, the Goddard Mansion. This was the home of Colonel John Goddard and his family who lived here during the mid to late 1800s. Karen and I enjoyed walking through the ruins and trying to imagine what life must have been like for those who called this place "home."
The Goddard Mansion, completed in 1858, was one of the first grand houses to be built along the Cape Elizabeth shore. Goddard, who had made his fortune in the lumber business, purchased Cape Cottage, a popular summer resort hotel built in 1835. The mansion was built on a portion of the hotel property, although we did not see any of the remains of the hotel.
The mansion was acquired by the U.S. Army in 1898 and used for housing married enlisted men and their families who were stationed at Fort Williams. The basement of the house was used for the fort's Non-Commissioned Officer's Club.
Fort Williams, which once protected the shoreline of Cape Elizabeth and also provided the Harbor Defense for Portland. Officially closed and deactivated in 1963, the fort is now the site of a beautiful 90-acre park on Casco Bay.
Fort Williams Park is a popular place for walking the rock coastline, running, biking, baseball games, tennis and picnics. In winter Fort Williams is an ideal place to cross-country ski, sled, or even ice skate on the pond. The Park is also the venue for special community events throughout the year.
In addition to the recreational opportunities it provides, Fort Williams has also managed to maintain some of its historic past. Those with an interest in history will enjoy seeing some of the ruins of the old fort, dating back to the mid 1800s.
The biggest draw at Fort Williams Park is the oldest lighthouse in Maine, Portland Head Light.
Here I am with my Uncle and my son overlooking Casco Bay!! You can see the town of Cape Elizabeth over my left shoulder.
At certain times you will be with large crowds of people all wanting to get their picture in from of the Portland Head Light!!