Outside the South

Portland Head Lighthouse

Portland, Maine Is home to six different lighthouses within a 20-minute drive of downtown. One of these is the state’s oldest, Portland Head Lighthouse.

Construction on Portland Head Lighthouse began in 1787 at the request of George Washington and was finalized in 1790 with its first light occurring on January 10, 1791. The light station sits at the entrance of Portland Harbor, which is within Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine.

The tower stands at 80 feet above the ground and 101 feet above the sea. It is constructed out of stone and brick.

When you look out over Portland Harbor and Casco Bay, you will have the opportunity to view an additional four lighthouses. To your left (North) is Spring Point Ledge Light, constructed in 1897. Directly in front of you is Ram Island Ledge Light, created in 1905, and 10 miles past Ram Island, you can see Halfway Rock Light on a clear day. Lastly, to your right (South) is Cape Elizabeth Light, lit in 1874.

Today, the Portland Head Light and the keeper’s house are located inside Fort Williams Park, 90 acres of recreational space. The park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. The Lighthouse Museum, housed in the former Keepers’ Quarters, is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm from Memorial Day to October 31.

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