PORTLAND HEAD LIGHTHOUSE Maine is host to many of the nation's oldest lighthouses. Navigating the coast of Maine presented quite a challenge in the early days of coastal trading. With all of the small islands, rocky outcroppings, ledges and reefs, the dangers of sailing the coast were great. Lighthouses were built not only on the mainland to guide boats into harbors,but also on barren rock islands far out in the open ocean. There are 66 lighthouses gracing the shores of Maine. Many can be visited by car as you drive along the coast. Others are only accessible by boat.


Most lighthouses consisted of a lighttower, which housed a powerful lantern in the top. There was also a housing for the fog bell. A keeper's house, boat house and landing wharf completed the premises. The job of a lighthouse keeper was probably one of the hardest and loneliest jobs of the time. Some keepers and their families spent months isolated from the mainland due to the weather.

One of my favorite lighthouses is Portland Head. It is one of the most photographed lighthouses in The United States. Portland Head's lantern was illuminated on January, 10, 1791. Its first lightkeeper was appointed by President George Washington.