Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse on Pemaquid Point in Bristol, Maine. It sits near the entrances to Muscongus Bay and Johns Bay.
For generations, navigating around Pemaquid Point on Maine’s coast was incredibly difficult. The 240-ton Angel Gabriel, a British passenger galleon carrying roughly 100 English settlers and much-needed provisions, was the most notable shipwreck in the area. The half unloaded ship was destroyed by a hurricane in August 1635, killing four or five people and destroying all of the passengers’ valuables.
In 1826, the Pemaquid Point Light was judged necessary since the area was seeing an increase in ship traffic while the shoal continued to create a dangerous navigational hazard. The rubble stone lighthouse and keepers’ cottage were built at a cost of $4,000 by Congress. On November 29, 1827, Pemaquid’s fixed white light was turned on. The original light was a candle-lit Argand-Lewis parabolic reflector with a visibility of two miles.
The lighthouse began to deteriorate due to poor craftsmanship (saltwater was utilized in the mortar mix) and it was ultimately replaced in 1835. This new lighthouse tower was made with absolutely no saltwater. Built of rubble stone and concert, the lighthouse rises 38 feet tall with a focal height of 79 feet. The lantern is black, while the tower is white. Pemaquid Point received a fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1856. The lens is one of just six remaining Fresnel lenses in Maine. In 1857, a new keeper’s home was constructed.
The lighthouse was elected to be portrayed on the Maine quarter by a popular vote of Maine citizens. The Pemaquid Point Light, perched atop a granite cliff, is depicted on the Maine quarter, as is a schooner at sea. Maine’s quarter is the 23rd in the 50 State Quarters Program, and it was released in the third quarter of 2003.
The United States Coast Guard owns the lighthouse, which is licensed to the American Lighthouse Foundation. The lighthouse and the adjacent park are operated by Friends of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse (FPPL), one of the Foundation’s 21 chapters. The Bristol Parks and Recreation Department manages and maintains Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park. From the middle of May until the middle to late October, the park is available to tourists from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closing date varies each year). The tower has limited climbing hours and is only open when the weather permits. If you plan on climbing the tower, please phone ahead to confirm availability.
Looking for other amazing lighthouses to explore in the mid-coast of Maine? Check out our blog post The 27 Mid-Coast Maine Lighthouses You Must Visit!
- Originally constructed: 1827
- Current tower constructed: 1857
- First lit: 1857 (current tower)
- Construction: Rubble stone and concrete
- Tower shape: Conical
- Height: 38 feet (11.5 m)
- Focal height: 79 feet (24 m)
- Markings: White with black lantern
- Characteristic: Flashing white light every 6 seconds (Fl W 6s)
- Range: 14 nautical miles (26 km; 16 mi)
- Status: Active
- NRHP number: 85000843
- Address: 3115 Bristol Road
- Town: Bristol
- State: Maine
- GPS: Lat 43.83695 Lng -69.50623
- Parking notes: There are about 100 parking spots right near the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. The Bristol Parks and Recreation Department charges an entrance fee per person. $3 for adults, $1 for children (5-11), and free for children 4 and under.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE