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.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Whitehead Island Lighthouse

      Prominent Whitehead Island, with its bleached, rugged granite shores, was a vital seamark for mariners long before its lighthouse was established. The 70-acre island marks the southwestern entrance to the important Muscle Ridge Channel in Penobscot Bay. The channel runs between the mainland and a dangerous archipelago of numerous islands and reefs, with Owls Head at its northeastern end. It was the favored route for the vessels that carried granite and other exports from local harbors.

     Congress appropriated $7,000 for a light station on Whitehead in March 1803.  After an appropriation of $6,000 in March 1831, the tower and dwelling were rebuilt.  In 1852, a new 41-foot lighthouse was built along with a new wooden keeper's house.  The light was automated in 1982 and the keepers were removed.   The light was converted to solar power in 2001.

    Ken D. Johnson was a Coast Guard keeper at Whitehead 1979-81. Johnson took part in a daring rescue one early December morning in 1980. The Coast Guard station at Rockland phoned Whitehead to report that a lobster boat, with two men aboard, was in danger of sinking in the harbor at Spruce Head. With the seas running eight to ten feet, the Coast Guard was unable to send out their 44-foot motor lifeboat. Instead, Johnson took out the light station's 14-foot Boston Whaler. He reached the two men and took them safely to shore. It was the last known rescue performed by a Coast Guard crew at Whitehead.

     Whitehead Light was included in the Maine Lights Program authorized by Congress and coordinated by the Island Institute of Rockland. In December 1997, the Maine Lighthouse Selection Committee announced that Whitehead Light would be transferred from the Coast Guard to Pine Island Camp, a historic boys' camp situated on Pine Island in Great Pond of the Belgrade Lakes.  The owners of Pine Island Camp, the Swan family, had bought 70 acres of Whitehead Island in 1956, and campers have been visiting the island ever since. Under a work program the campers helped restore the lighthouse and keeper’s dwelling.

     DirectionsThe lighthouse is difficult to see even distantly from shore.  These photographs were taken on a cruise out of Port Clyde.  However, views from the air can seen on a trip out of Owl's Head Airport.  The best light, unfortunately is whenever the trip you select runs.

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