Two Lights State Park

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Two Lights State Park
Maine State Park
Darkening sky at Maine beach.jpg
Country  United States
State  Maine
County Cumberland
Town Cape Elizabeth
Elevation 66 ft (20 m) [1]
Coordinates 43°33′38″N 70°12′21″W / 43.56056°N 70.20583°W / 43.56056; -70.20583Coordinates: 43°33′38″N 70°12′21″W / 43.56056°N 70.20583°W / 43.56056; -70.20583 [1]
Area 41 acres (17 ha) [2]
Established 1961
Management Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
IUCN category V - Protected Landscape/Seascape
Location in Maine
Website: Two Lights State Park

Two Lights State Park is a public recreation area occupying 41 acres (17 ha) of headland on Cape Elizabeth, Maine, that offers views of Casco Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.[3] The state park, which opened in 1961, is named after the twin Cape Elizabeth Lights, although there are no lighthouses in the park itself. In addition to rocky headlands, the park includes the remains of a World War II–era seacoast battery bunker and a fire control tower. It is managed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

History[edit]

Geologic

The park's ledges are made up of metamorphic rock that first accumulated as sediment at the bottom of the ocean during the Silurian period. The park's underlying bedrock belongs to the Kittery formation found in New Hampshire and along the Maine coast.[4]

Maritime

The nearby twin lighthouses were built in 1828, but cannot be viewed from this park. The easternmost light is still active; the other was decommissioned in 1924, served as a fire control tower in World War II, and is now a private home. Although the lighthouses cannot be seen from within the park, they can be viewed from a turnaround at the end of Two Lights Road. Edward Hopper made one of the towers the subject of his 1929 painting The Lighthouse at Two Lights,[5] which was used on a U.S. postage stamp in 1970 commemorating the sesquicentennial of Maine statehood.[6]

Military

During World War II, the park area was the Cape Elizabeth Military Reservation. The coast defense battery in the park was Battery Construction Number (BCN) 201, designed for two 6-inch guns in shielded mounts that would be on the large concrete circles at each end of the bunker. As of 2016 an interpretive plaque on one of the gun positions shows the internal arrangement of the bunker. However, with the threat from surface ships nearly non-existent by the time the battery was completed, it was not armed. It was part of a modernization of the Harbor Defenses of Portland, centered on Battery Steele on Peaks Island. A duplicate of Battery Steele, BCN 101 with two 16-inch guns, was planned for an area near the park but never built.[7][8][9]

6-inch gun on shielded barbette carriage at Fort Columbia State Park, Washington state. This was the type of gun the battery at Two Lights would have had if armed.

Activities and amenities[edit]

The park offers a network of paths of nearly two miles, traversing both forested lands and seaside rock ledges.[10] Facilities include benches along the shore, restrooms, playground, and picnic tables.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Two Lights State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "Outdoors in Maine: State Parks, Public Lands, and Historic Sites" (PDF). Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Retrieved December 9, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Two Lights State Park". Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ Berry, H.N., Marvinney, R.G. (June 2002). "The Geology of Two Lights State Park". Maine Geological Survey. Retrieved July 17, 2017. 
  5. ^ "The Lighthouse at Two Lights". The Collection Online. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Cape Elizabeth West". Lighthousefriends. Retrieved December 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ Berhow, Mark A., ed. (2004). American Seacoast Defenses, A Reference Guide, Second Edition. CDSG Press. p. 203. ISBN 0-9748167-0-1. 
  8. ^ "Fort and Battery List". Coastal Defense Study Group. Retrieved September 22, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Cape Elizabeth Military Reservation". FortWiki. Retrieved September 22, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Two Lights State Park". Maine Trail Finder. Center for Community GIS. Retrieved December 9, 2015. 

External links[edit]