Spring Point Ledge Light is a fairly typical "sparkplug" style lighthouse of the period, built on a cylindrical cast-iron caisson. Unlike many of this type, however, the tower is built of brick rather than cast-iron.
It was first lighted May 24, 1897 by Keeper William A. Lane. The 54-foot lighthouse has a storeroom and cistern in the basement, topped by four levels including a keeper's office and two levels of living . It is one of the only Maine lighthouses where the keepers lived in the actual light tower.
An oil room in the basement contained a 239-gallon tank for the kerosene that fueled the light in its early days, until it was electrified in 1934. A fog bell hung on the side of the tower, which sounded a double blow every 12 seconds.
Spring Point Ledge Light was a "stag station," with a male keeper and assistant keeper living inside the tower. Keepers had to be creative in their means of exercise. Somebody figured that it took 56 jogs around the tower's main deck to make one mile. Once, a keeper was running laps in this fashion and forgot to close a trap door. He slipped through the opening and only a ladder prevented him from falling 17 feet to a rock ledge and swirling waves.
In its early years, the lighthouse's foundation was battered and damaged by ice. Granite blocks were piled around the foundation to protect it, and there have been no further problems.
Wilson carved duck decoys by the hundreds and sold them to a store in Portland for 75 cents each. He was renowned for his carving skill and imagination, and his work became highly collectible. One of Wilson’s decoys fetched $195,500 at a 2005 auction. His work has been displayed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. A display in the lighthouse tells the story of Gus Wilson and his decoys.
Directions: Spring Point Ledge Light is easily reached by land, and tour boats and ferries leaving Portland pass the lighthouse. The campus of Southern Maine Community College adjoins the property. From ME 77 in Portland, turn east onto Broadway and continue to Pickett Street. Turn right onto Pickett Street and follow it to the end. Turn left onto Fort Road which ends at Fort Preble (now Southern Maine Technical College) and a parking area. The light and breakwater are immediately ahead just to the right.