Bear Island Light

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Bear Island Light
Bear Island Light aerial view.jpg
circa 1972
Bear Island Light is located in Maine
Bear Island Light
Location Bear Island (Maine)
Coordinates 44°17′.6″N 68°16′11.6″W / 44.283500°N 68.269889°W / 44.283500; -68.269889Coordinates: 44°17′.6″N 68°16′11.6″W / 44.283500°N 68.269889°W / 44.283500; -68.269889
Year first constructed 1839
Year first lit 1889 (current structure)
Automated 1989
Deactivated 1981-1989
Tower shape Cylindrical attached to Work Room and Dwelling
Markings / pattern White
Height 31 feet (9.4 m)
Focal height 100 feet (30 m)
Original lens Original: 5th order Fresnel
Current: Plastic
Range 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi)
Characteristic Fl W 5s
Fog signal Original: Bell
Current: None
USCG number


Bear Island Light Station
Bear Island Light is located in Maine
Bear Island Light
Bear Island Light is located in the US
Bear Island Light
Nearest city Northeast Harbor, Maine
Built 1889
Architect US Army Corps of Engineers
MPS Light Stations of Maine MPS
NRHP Reference # 88000043[3]
Added to NRHP March 14, 1988

Bear Island Light is a lighthouse on Bear Island near Mt. Desert Island, at the entrance to Northeast Harbor, Maine. It was first established in 1839. The present structure was built in 1889. It was deactivated in 1981 and relit as a private aid to navigation by the Friends of Acadia National Park in 1989. Bear Island Light was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Bear Island Light Station on March 14, 1988.[3]

Description and history[edit]

Bear Island Light was authorized by federal legislation signed by President Martin Van Buren in 1838. The government acquired 2 acres (0.81 ha) of land at the southwestern end of Bear Island, and in 1839 constructed a stone keeper's house, on top of which a light was mounted.[1][4] This structure burned in 1852, and was replaced the following year by a brick tower. A fifth order Fresnel lens was installed in the tower in 1855, and a fog station was added in 1888. In 1889 the 1852 tower was torn down and most of the present complex of buildings was constructed. The Coast Guard discontinued the light in the 1980s, replacing it with an offshore buoy with a bell and light. The Bear Island property became part of Acadia National Park in 1987. The station was restored in 1989 by the Friends of Acadia, and relit as a private aid to navigation.[1]

Bear Island Light

The tower is a cylindrical brick structure, 31 feet (9.4 m) in height, with an attached gable-roofed workroom, and was built in 1889. It is topped by a polygonal lantern chamber, with a surrounding iron parapet and railing. There are two narrow windows in the tower, and two into the workroom, which also has the entrance providing access to the tower. The keeper's house is a modest 1-1/2 story wood frame structure, with a gambrel roof pierced by gable-roof dormers.[1][4]

The light station includes three outbuildings. The largest is a gable-roofed barn, set at a remove from the keeper's house and tower. Just to the barn's southwest is a small stone oil house, built in 1905. To the northwest of the tower is the station's boathouse and slip. The boathouse is a frame structure with a gable roof and shingled sides, and was also built in 1905.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Maine". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 2017-02-27. 
  2. ^ Light List, Volume I, Atlantic Coast, St. Croix River, Maine to Shrewsbury River, New Jersey (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2016. p. 20. 
  3. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  4. ^ a b c "NRHP nomination for Bear Island Light" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-01-06.