Nubble Lighthouse, officially named The Cape Neddick Light, is a historic lighthouse in Cape Neddick, York, Maine. It is arguably one of the most beautiful sights in the state of Maine.
The lighthouse is located on Nubble Island, about 100 yards off the coast of Cape Neddick. Since 1837, there had been plans to build a lighthouse on the site. President Rutherford B. Hayes approved $15,000 in 1874 for the construction of a tower on this “Nub” of land. On July 1, 1879, the building of what was then known as the Knubble Lighthouse was finished, and a 4th order light was lit to safeguard mariners at sea. The lighthouse is made of brick and has cast-iron sheathing. Nubble Lighthouse stands 41 feet tall and has a focal height of 88 because of the additional height of the steep rocky islet on which it sits. The Lighthouse Service controlled the lighthouse for decades.
In 1939, the United States government moved ownership of the lighthouse to the United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard named the lighthouse officially Cape Neddick Lightstation. The lighthouse was then well-kept by the Coast Gaurd for over four decades. This service eventually ran out of funding. The Lighthouses became automated because of the funding issues and the advancement of technology. In July of 1987, Nubble Light was automated.
Nubble Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in order to preserve and maintain its historical significance in Maine. The United States government and the Town of York negotiated a lease agreement in 1987 to assure that the land would be preserved and cared for. The Maine Lights Program was established in 1994 with the goal of saving all of Maine’s lighthouses. The Town of York organized a committee to represent its interests in a complex process of obtaining the lighthouse through the action of the United States Congress. Many parties desired control of the lighthouse.
Senator Olympia Snow’s office announced on December 18, 1997, that, based on its strong proposal, the Town of York Maine will be the permanent protector of Nubble Lighthouse (Cape Neddick Light Station). Today, in 2012, Nubble Lighthouse is maintained by the Parks Department, which cares for the property and buildings on a daily basis. The US Coast Guard continues to maintain the navigational aids (the Light and the Horn). Cape Neddick Light is one of the last eight lights in Maine to still have its Fresnel lens.
Nubble Lighthouse can be viewed up-close from Sohier Park which is a public park that offers plenty of free parking. The lighthouse can also be viewed from Long Sands Beach in York, Maine.
Fun Fact! In 1977, a photograph of Nubble Lighthouse was carried onboard the Voyager I spacecraft during the mission. NASA believed it was important to have the photo to show Nubble Lighthouse as one of man’s prominent structures. Photographs of the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal were included among others. All in the hopes that if they were discovered by intelligent extraterrestrials, it would reveal evidence of what humanity has accomplished on Earth.
Nubble Lighthouse is one of the greatest lighthouses in Southern Maine. There are three others and you can find them HERE. If you’re looking for more great spots in Maine to explore – check out the GoXplr Maine Map at goxplr.com/map/maine
- Originally constructed: 1879
- First lit: 1879
- Construction: Cast iron plate with brick lining
- Tower shape: Cylindrical
- Height: 41 ft (12.5 m)
- Focal height: 88 ft (27 m)
- Markings: White with black lantern
- Characteristic: Isophase Red 6s. Lighted throughout 24 hours.
- Range: 13 nautical miles (24 km; 15 mi)
- Status: Active
- NRHP number: 85000844