Daily Archives: December 1, 2009

Memories of the Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light.

The age of the lighthouse ended long ago as those majestic, romantic maritime sentinels were replaced by computerized, mechanized, galvanized contraptions that provide the same very necessary maritime warning system, but fall incredibly short in tradition and style. 

Earlier today I posted a link to a Portland Press Herald story about the restoration efforts on the Wood Island light and an old University of Southern Maine classmate, Rick Redmond, passed along the website address for the Maine Lighthouse Museum.

Visiting that website got me thinking about the Portland Head Light, which I visited occasionally while attending the USM in the early 1980s. I have heard on more than one occasion that it is the most photographed lighthouse on the East Coast. I do not know how they measure that sort of thing. I even took a few photos of the lighthouse, so perhaps there is something to that claim. Most people will recognize the lighthouse. I think.

Anyway, going to the Portland Head Light was a fun way to take in a bit of history and to get an incredible view of the Atlantic Ocean crashing onto the very roughed Maine coastline just below an incredible lighthouse and keepers’ quarters. Most often I would go with my friend Kelly Williams; she had a car and I was company for the drive from Gorham, where the USM residence halls were located. (The Portland campus was more of a commuter campus. It also was connected to the Gorham campus via a bus line operated or contracted by the university.)

Kelly and I also went to nearby Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth. For me, the Head Light was more impressive.

Going through the Portland Head Light entry on the website reminded me that he lighthouse had been commissioned by George Washington while Maine was still part of Massachusetts. Things are old in Maine. And seem to stand the test of time.

Perhaps we need more lighthouses with keepers and fewer computerized, mechanized, galvanized contraptions.

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Restoration of Wood Island’s light comes about | Portland Press Herald

Restoration of Wood Island’s light comes about | Portland Press Herald.