Bass Harbor Head Light

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Bass Harbor Head Light
Bass harbor head light 20041002 123635 1.1504x1000.jpg
Bass Harbor Head Light is located in Maine
Bass Harbor Head Light
Location Tremont, Maine
Coordinates 44°13′18.5″N 68°20′14.2″W / 44.221806°N 68.337278°W / 44.221806; -68.337278Coordinates: 44°13′18.5″N 68°20′14.2″W / 44.221806°N 68.337278°W / 44.221806; -68.337278
Year first constructed 1858
Year first lit 1858
Automated 1974
Foundation Stone
Construction Brick
Tower shape Cylindrical tower
Markings / pattern White with black marking
Original lens Fourth Order Fresnel lens
Current lens Fourth Order Fresnel lens
Range 13 nautical miles (24 km; 15 mi)
Characteristic Occulting red, 4s
Fog signal none
USCG number

1-2335 [1] [2] [3] [4]

Bass Harbor Head Light Station
Nearest city Bass Harbor, Maine
Area 2.5 acres (1.0 ha)
Architect US Army Corps of Engineers
Governing body U.S. Coast Guard
MPS Light Stations of Maine MPS
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP January 21, 1988

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is a lighthouse located within Acadia National Park in the southwest portion of Mount Desert Island, Maine, marking the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay.


The history of Bass Harbor Head Light dates to 1855, when it was determined that there was sufficient reason for a lighthouse at the mouth of Bass Harbor. In 1885, the U.S. Congress appropriated $5,000 for construction of the lighthouse. In 1876, construction was completed on a fog bell and tower, since removed.[1] A much larger 4,000-pound (1800 kg) bell was placed inside the tower in 1898.[6] The house of the lightkeeper remains in its original configuration with the exception of a 10-foot addition that was added in 1900.[6] The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Bass Harbor Head Light Station on January 21, 1988, reference number 87002273.[5]

In 1902, an oil storage house constructed of brick was built 205 feet northwest of the lighthouse.[1]

Bass Harbor's fifth order Fresnel lens was replaced in 1902 with a larger fourth order. This lens was manufactured by the French company Henry-Lepaute. This lens remains in service today.[7]


Today, the house is a private residence for a local Coast Guard member and his family. Tourists can get close to the bell and light via a concrete path, but most of the grounds remain private. There is a short walk which takes one to a series of wooden steps that lead down onto the many granite boulders that provide a great view of the harbor side of the lighthouse.[1]


  • John Thurston (1858–1861)
  • John Rick (1861–1865)
  • John Wilson (1865–1869)
  • Charles B. Gilley (1869–1872)
  • James L. Wilson (1872–1880)
  • C. F. Chase (1880–1890)
  • William T. Holbrook (1890–1894)
  • Willis Dolliver (1894–1912)
  • Joseph M. Gray (c.1921-1938)
  • Elmer Reed (1938–1940)
  • Eugene L. Coleman (?)
  • Leverett Stanley (1940–1950)[1]


Entrance to the compound 
Tourists by waters near the lighthouse 
The lighthouse in 2008 
The lighthouse in 2005 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e New England Lighthouses, A Virtual Guide: Bass Harbor Head Light
  2. ^ Inventory of Historic Lighthouses: Maine Lighthouses
  3. ^ Light List, Volume I, Atlantic Coast, St. Croix River, Maine to Shrewsbury River, New Jersey (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2009. p. 23. 
  4. ^ "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Maine". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 
  5. ^ a b Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  6. ^ a b Silverman, Irving (1998). The Historic Homes of the Town of Tremont... A Perspective In Time. Tremont, Maine: Tremont Historical Society. p. 7. 
  7. ^ "Classical Lenses in Operation" (PDF). US Coast Guard. 2009-08-06. 

External links[edit]