Portsmouth Harbor Light

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Portsmouth Harbor Light
Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse.jpg
Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse
Portsmouth Harbor Light is located in New Hampshire
Portsmouth Harbor Light
Location Portsmouth Harbor, Piscataqua River, New Castle, New Hampshire
Coordinates 43°4′15.73″N 70°42′30.94″W / 43.0710361°N 70.7085944°W / 43.0710361; -70.7085944Coordinates: 43°4′15.73″N 70°42′30.94″W / 43.0710361°N 70.7085944°W / 43.0710361; -70.7085944
Year first constructed 1771 (original tower)
1878 (current tower)
Automated 1960
Construction Cast-iron & Brick
Tower shape Conical
Height 48-foot (15 m)
Current lens Fourth order Fresnel, 1854
Range 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi)
Characteristic Fixed Green
Heritage place listed on the National Register of Historic Places Edit this on Wikidata

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse located within Fort Constitution in New Castle, New Hampshire, United States.


The station was established in 1771 and was the 10th of 11 light stations established prior to the American Revolution. The first tower was a shingled wooden structure with an iron lantern and copper roof. Its light source was three copper oil lamps.

The first tower was replaced in 1804 by an 80-foot (24 m) octagonal wooden tower approximately 100 yards (91 m) east of the 1771 tower. In 1851, twenty years after the establishment of Whaleback Lighthouse, the tower was shortened to 55 feet (17 m). Three years later, in 1854, the tower was fitted with a Fourth (4th) Order Fresnel lens.

In 1878, a new 48-foot (15 m) cast-iron, brick-lined lighthouse tower was erected on the same foundation as the 1804 tower. When the new tower was completed, the surrounding remains of the 1804 tower were removed.

The current light is a fixed green signal that is visible for 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi). The light is made green by an acrylic cylinder that surrounds the lens.

Other structures at the light station that are still standing are the 1903 oil house (restored in 2004) and the 1872 keeper's house (currently United States Coast Guard offices).[1]

On October 8, 2009, Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[2]

Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses[edit]

Founded in 2001, the Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses are a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF). The mission of the Friends is to work for the preservation of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse and associated structures, as well as to gather and preserve the history of the important historic site and to share these resources with the public. The United States Coast Guard owns Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse and still maintains the active aids to navigation equipment. The group is licensed through ALF to care for the tower, oil house, and wooden walkway. As of November 2008, the Friends are also responsible for Whaleback Lighthouse, and altered the chapter name to reflect this.[3]

Ghost Hunters investigation[edit]

In October 2008, the Ghost Hunters team of Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, and others investigated possible paranormal activity at the lighthouse, keeper's house, and Fort Constitution.[4] The episode aired December 10, 2008, on the Sci Fi Channel.

This investigation came almost two years after the independent TV show Scared! filmed at the Portsmouth Lighthouse. The two episodes of the two different shows both featured investigations of the lighthouse as well as the keeper's house and the nearby Fort Constitution. Jeremy D'Entremont of the Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse provided on- and off-screen history for both shows.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ D'Entremont, Jeremy (2012-03-14). "Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse History". Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  2. ^ McMahon, Charles (2009-10-30). "Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse added to National Register of Historic Places". Fosters Daily Democrat. 
  3. ^ "About Us". Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  4. ^ "Sci-Fi Channel's 'Ghost Hunters' to shoot in New Castle in October". Seacoast Online. 
  5. ^ "Official SCARED! Website". CORE Films,Inc. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 

External links[edit]