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Curtis Island Lighthouse - Camden Maine

Curtis Island Light

Curtis Island Light

Nearby town:
Camden, ME


Year Light First Lit:

Lighthouse Automated:

Lighthouse Operational:
Yes, active aid to navigation

Tower Height: 25 feet

Present Optics:
300 MM, Solar Powered

Best viewed by boat tour; can also be viewed from Camden waterfront.

Open to public:
No, closed to public

Find Curtis Island Light

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Curtis Island Light - Shines brightly for six nautical miles at the entrance of Camden Harbor

Curtis Island LightCurtis Island Light (+44° 12' 6.00", -69° 2' 54.00") is located at the entrance to Camden Harbor, at the southeastern end of Curtis Island, about fifteen minutes from Rockland. This light is now owned by the Town of Camden and actively serves as a navigational aid to the U.S. Coast Guard. The lighthouse is a 25-foot tall, white, cylindrical brick tower with a range of six nautical miles and its characteristic is occulting green light (four seconds of green followed by one second of darkness). The station does not have a fog signal.

George Galt of Massachusetts, by order of President Andrew Jackson, built the first brick lighthouse on Curtis Island in 1835. It cost $4,500. At this time, the five-acre island was called Negro Island, presumably after an African cook who lived there. The island was renamed to Curtis Island in 1934, in honor of Cyrus H.K. Curtis, publisher of the Saturday Evening Post. Curtis was a longtime summer resident of Camden, and gave the town the land and building that is now the present-day Camden Yacht Club.

Curtis Island LightHenry K.M. Bower was the first keeper, and many have succeeded him throughout time. In the Camden Harbor public parking lot, a fog bell reads: “Dedicated to the keepers of the Curtis Island Light, 1836 to the present.”

Over the course of time, the light evolved and changed. In 1889, the dwelling was rebuilt and a barn and boathouse were added. In 1895, an oil house was added. All of these buildings remain today. The present lighthouse tower was built in 1896. A fourth-order Fresnel lens was installed. In 1972, the lighthouse became automated. Keepers were removed and the Fresnel lens was replaced by a modern optic and the light became solar-powered. In remembrance, the Fresnel lens is now on display at the Camden Public Library.

In 1993, the Curtis Island Light received some press when one of the lighthouse’s caretakers, Dee Dee Conover, thought she saw a sick dolphin come ashore. The animal soon perished, and an autopsy revealed that the animal was actually a 13-foot, young beaked whale. Only sixteen beaked whales have ever been found in North America and only six have been found in Europe. There has never been a confirmed sighting at sea.

In 1997, Camden citizens voted to assume ownership of Curtis Island Light and the lighthouse officially became the property of the town in 1998. Curtis Island Light is listed on the National Register of Historic Places but is not open to the public. When people come to Curtis Island, they must travel by boat. In fact, some of the best views of this area are from the water in which several cruises pass by the light. For other great views, check out Bay View Street in downtown Camden or hike/drive to the top of Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park.


We would like to thank Robert English for granting us permission to use his images of Curtis Island Light. You can view more images of Curtis Island Light and Maine Lighthouses by visitng Robert's Flickr page.


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