Portland Breakwater Light

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Portland Breakwater Light
Portland ME - Bug Light.jpg
Portland Breakwater Lighthouse after restoration
Portland Breakwater Light is located in Maine
Portland Breakwater Light
LocationNE end of Portland Breakwater in Portland Harbor, South Portland, Maine
Coordinates43°39′19.872″N 70°14′5.471″W / 43.65552000°N 70.23485306°W / 43.65552000; -70.23485306Coordinates: 43°39′19.872″N 70°14′5.471″W / 43.65552000°N 70.23485306°W / 43.65552000; -70.23485306
Year first constructed1855
Year first lit1875 (current tower)
FoundationGranite block caisson
ConstructionIron plate with brick lining
Tower shapeconical
Markings / patternresembles 4th century Greek monument
Tower height7.5 metre Edit this on Wikidata
Focal height30 feet (9.1 m)
Original lensSixth order fresnel, 1855
CharacteristicFlashing white 4 s
USCG number1-7699[1][2]
Heritageplace listed on the National Register of Historic Places Edit this on Wikidata
Portland Breakwater Light
ArchitectThomas U. Walter
Architectural styleGreek Revival
NRHP reference No.73000238[3]
Added to NRHPJune 19, 1973

The Portland Breakwater Light (also called Bug Light) is a small lighthouse in South Portland, Maine.


The lighthouse was first built in 1855, as a wooden structure, but the breakwater was extended and a new lighthouse was constructed at the end of it in 1875. The new lighthouse was made of curved cast-iron plates whose seams are disguised by six decorative Corinthian columns. Its design was inspired by the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, made well known by engravings. The architect was Thomas U. Walter, most noted as the designer of the U.S. Capitol east and west wings and its current dome. Wooden sheds and a six-room house for the lighthouse-keeper were added incrementally as needed. In 1897 Spring Point Ledge Light was erected and the houses around Bug Light were demolished and the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse keepers tended to both lighthouses. During World War II, the breakwater was slowly absorbed by landfill as the New England Shipbuilding Corporation built two shipyards next to the lighthouse. These shipyards produced Liberty Ships for the war effort. Because of the smaller breakwater, there was a lesser need for the lighthouse and it was decommissioned in 1943.[1]


The light was fully restored in 1989 and was reactivated in 2002. It appears as a private aid to navigation in the US Coast Guard Light List as South Portland Breakwater Light.[2] Today a park named after the lighthouse, Bug Light Park, allows visitors to view the Portland Breakwater Light up close, while memorializing the shipbuilding efforts of World War II.[4] The light was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Portland Breakwater Light on June 19, 1973, reference number 73000238.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Maine". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 2009-08-08. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01.
  2. ^ a b Light List, Volume I, Atlantic Coast, St. Croix River, Maine to Shrewsbury River, New Jersey (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2019. p. 64.
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "Lighthouse.cc -- Portland Breakwater Lighthouse". Retrieved February 8, 2007.

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