CREDITS: I would like to thank Jeremy D'Entremont for providing much of the history one can find on this site. He is a speaker, author, historian, and tour guide who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the lighthouses of New England. For a story on Jeremy or to visit his site (New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide), use the corresponding link in the right hand information bar under "Related Links".

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I have set up this site as a means to share my photographs of lighthouses. Since retiring and finding more time to study photography, my interests have expanded a little. For some of my work other than lighthouses please enjoy my Facebook page at, John Shaw Photography. Come visit, enjoy, and 'LIKE' if you wish.

Also, for your enjoyment, I have provided a slideshow of our journey. To view it please use the link on the right under 'Site Navigation Tools'.

I sincerely hope you enjoy my efforts and use my site not only for information and education but also to provide directions for many enjoyable, inspirational visits to the beacons along our beautiful coas.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Brown's Head Lighthouse

    Vinalhaven is a large (eight miles long) island in the middle of Penobscot Bay, about 13 miles east of Rockland. It's part of a group called the Fox Islands, after the grey foxes that once lived there in abundance. Vinalhaven was named for John Vinal, who lobbied the Massachusetts legislature (Maine was then part of Massachusetts) to incorporate the island as a town in 1789.

      Vinalhaven today is a center for fishing and lobstering, with a year-round population of 1,300 that swells to 6,000 in the summer. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Vinalhaven developed a thriving granite industry. It was the busy fishing industry and passenger-cargo shipping that led Congress and President Andrew Jackson to appropriate $4,000 for the establishment of Brown's Head Light at the island's northwest corner in 1832 to help guide mariners through the western entrance to the Fox Islands Thorofare.

      Jeremiah Berry of East Thomaston, Maine, built the original rubblestone tower -- about 22 feet tall to the base of the octagonal wrought iron lantern- -- and a rubblestone dwelling for $1800.  When the original keeper's house was in disrepair by 1857. A new 1 1/2-story wood-frame house was constructed, connected by a covered passageway to a cylindrical brick tower. 

      In 1987, Brown's Head Light became one of the last lighthouses in Maine to be automated. The bell tower was destroyed by the Coast Guard; the bell is now displayed by the Vinalhaven Historical Society.

      Under the Maine Lights Program, established by congressional legislation in 1996, the lighthouse buildings were transferred to the Town of Vinalhaven in 1998, while the light itself is maintained by the Coast Guard.

      Directions:  Take the ferry from Rockland to Vinalhaven.  Coming off the ferry, turn right and follow Main and High Streets to North Haven Road.  Turn right and continue for about ssix miles; be careful to keep track of mileage as there are no street signs or markers to the light.  Look for a group of mailboxes at the intersection with a dirt road (Crockett River Road); turn left onto that road, then right at the second dirt road to the right.  There is a small sign pointing to the lighthouse. n Pass a small cemetery to on the right.  There is a small parking area at the light.  Please respect the privacy of the inhabitants of the house.

     The easiest way to get good views from the water is to take the ferry from Rockland to North Haven.  I passes directly Browns Head.  From that vantage point, afternoon light might be best for photography.

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