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Monhegan Island Light

Monhegan Island Light

Monhegan Island Light

Nearby town:
Monhegan Island, ME


Year Light First Lit:

Lighthouse Automated:

Lighthouse Operational:
Yes, active aid to navigation

Tower Height: 47 feet

Present Optics:
VEGA VRB-25, Solar Powered

Accessible by boat & boat ferry; can also be viewed by boat/boat tour

Open to public:
Yes, open to public

Find Monhegan Island Light

Click map image to open a Google Interactive Map for Monhegan Island Lighthouse.

Google Map


Monhegan Island Light - Providing access to the second-highest light in Maine

Monhegan Island LightTo mark the southern approach to Muscongus Bay, Monhegan Island Light (+43° 45' 54.00", -69° 18' 54.00") is an active navigational aid for the U.S. Coast Guard. This light is cylindrical tower built of granite blocks and is the second-highest light in Maine (after Seguin Light), flashing a white light every fifteen seconds with a range of twenty nautical miles. Monhegan Island is located about ten miles southwest of Port Clyde and is the first sighting of land for many mariners arriving from across the pond.

In 1822, President James Monroe authorized the building of Monhegan Island Light and a keeper’s dwelling on one of the island’s highest points for a total budget of $3,000. The light was lit two years later when the first lighthouse stood as a 30-foot conical stone tower. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1850, resulting in the 48-foot granite landmark that still stands today.

Monhegan Island LightA fog bell station was established just west of Monhegan, at Manana Island in 1855. In 1870, the original 2,500-pound bell was replaced by a Daboll trumpet, which was replaced by a steam whistle in 1872. In 1877, a new Daboll trumpet was installed at Manana Island. During those days, the keeper at Monhegan would push a button that would sound the gong in the Manana keeper’s bedroom; this was the alert to get up and start the fog signal. The existing station at Manana was built in 1889.

In 1856, a second-order Fresnel lens replaced Monhegan’s original ten lamps and reflectors. In 1861, keeper Joseph F. Humphrey left his post to fight in the Civil War and took his two sons with him. This left his wife Betsy Morrow Humphrey to care for their other eight children and tend to the light. Betsy became the official keeper when Joseph died that year. In 1864, she received word that her 17-year-old son had also been killed. Her other son returned home disabled. Betsy Morrow Humphrey remained the light keeper until 1880.

Monhegan Island LightIn 1959, the lighthouse became automated and was powered by a generator at Manana. Monhegan Island Light is now powered by solar panels. In 1968, a museum was opened in the 1874 keeper’s dwelling. The Monhegan Historical and Cultural Museum is now open through most of the summer. The museum displays artifacts relevant to the natural, industrial, cultural, artistic, and social history of Monhegan. As soon as visitors arrive to the museum they will see the 1855 fog bell that was used at Manana. The bell was the subject of Jamie Wyeth’s painting, Bronze Age.

In 1985, the Monhegan Historical and Cultural Museum Association took ownership of the property, excluding the lighthouse. Then, in 1998, thanks to the Maine Lights Program, the lighthouse also became the association’s property. Monhegan Island Light is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and can be reached by ferry from Boothbay Harbor, New Harbor, or Port Clyde.


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


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