Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse located in the Acadia National Park in Maine. Built in 1858, it is the only lighthouse on Mount Desert Island. It is situated on the southern side of the island overlooking Bass Harbor Bar and the Atlantic Ocean. The need for the lighthouse became clear as many mariners were struggling to navigate into Bass Harbor. In 1855, the lighthouse inspector, W.B. Franklin, reported that a lighthouse on Bass Harbor Head was truly a necessity. On August 18, 1856, Congress allotted the funds necessary to purchase land and establish a light station on Bass Harbor Head.
The lighthouse was built in 1858 and went into service that year. It is a white, cylindrical brick tower with a black lantern room. It stands 33 feet tall and its focal height is 56 feet. The lighthouse is currently equipped with a a Henry-Lepaute fourth-order lens which features an occulting red flash every 4 seconds. The light has a range of 13 nautical miles. It is currently an active navigational aid owned by the National Park Service. The Coast Guard transferred ownership to the NPS in 2017.
It should be noted that on January 21, 1988, the lighthouse was honored by being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The significance of a lighthouse registered on the National Register of Historic Places is immense. It is an indication that the lighthouse has been deemed an important part of the cultural history of the United States. It is an acknowledgement of the lighthouse’s historical and architectural significance, and its role in the nation’s maritime history. It also serves as a reminder of the rich maritime heritage of the nation, and the importance of preserving our historical sites for future generations to enjoy. Furthermore, listing a lighthouse on the National Register of Historic Places can help to preserve it for future generations, as it will be eligible for federal and state protection and assistance. Bass Harbor Head’s NRHP reference number is 87002273.
The lighthouse is well–maintained and is open to the public for tours and exploration. Visitors to the lighthouse can explore the grounds, learn about its history, and take in breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The lighthouse is an iconic part of the Acadia National Park, and it is a must–see for anyone visiting the area.
- Year constructed: 1858
- First lit: 1858
- Construction: Brick
- Tower shape: Cylindrical
- Height: 33 feet
- Focal height: 56 feet
- Markings: White tower topped with a black lantern
- Characteristic: Occulting red every 4 seconds
- Range: 13 natural miles
- Status: Active
- NRHP number: 87002273
- Address: Lighthouse Road
- Town: Bass Harbor
- State: Maine
- GPS: Lat 44.2220515 Lng -68.3373003
- Parking notes: There is a paved parking area a few hundred feet from the lighthouse. The parking area can be found at the end of Lighthouse Road in Bass Harbor. Parking at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is free from sunrise to sunset every day.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE