This was considered one of the most remote and lonely lighthouse stations in New England. A British ship, the Nottingham Galley, was wrecked at Boon Island in 1710; the shipwreck story became the basis of a novel by Kenneth Roberts called "Boon Island." The lighthouse was licensed by the Coast Guard to the American Lighthouse Foundation in 2000.
In 2003, Timothy Harrison, president of the American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF), launched “The Republic of Boon Island,” that was an idea taken from the book and movie, “The Mouse That Roared,” which declared Boon Island as an independent nation and he declared himself “The Regent Lord Master.” The American Lighthouse Foundation then sold citizenship papers and political appointments to help raise money for the American Lighthouse Foundation. The spoof drew local as well as national media attention. After Harrison left the American Lighthouse Foundation in 2007, the organization, to the dismay of many, stopped promoting the unique fund raising idea.
In 2012, under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, the federal government declared the lighthouse as excess property and ownership of the lighthouse was offered free of charge to ALF. However, ALF declined to take ownership, saying the lighthouse would be too expensive to maintain.
In 2014 the General Services Administration put the lighthouse up for auction to the highest bidder.On August 18, 2014, it was sold to a private individual for $78,000.
Tower Height: 133
Height of Focal Plane: 137
Characteristic and Range: Flashing white every 5 seconds, visible for 19 nautical miles.
Description of Tower: Cylindrical granite tower.
This light is operational
1799: wooden tower; 1805: stone tower; 1811: new tower, 32 feet above water; 1832: new tower.
Date Established: 1799
Date Present Tower Built: 1852-54 (activated 1/1/1855)
Date Automated: 1980
Optics: 1855: Second order Fresnel lens; 1993: solar powered VEGA VRB-25. Original Fresnel lens is now on display at the Kittery Historical and Naval Museum, Rogers Road, (207) 439-3080.
Fog Signal: 1890: Hand-operated fog bell on roof of oil house; now automated fog horn with one blast every 10 seconds. A fog bell from Boon Island is now at the South Shore Baptist Church in Hingham, Massachusetts.
Current Use: Active aid to navigation.
Open To Public? No.
The lighthouse can be seen distantly from Cape Neddick and Long Sands Beach in York. The Isles of Shoals Steamship Co. in Portsmouth, NH, offers occasional lighthouse cruises with views of Boon Island Light. Call (800) 441-4620 or (603) 431-5500 for information.
Mapquest URL: Click here to get a map to this lighthouse!
Listed on the
National Register of Historic Places
Keepers: David Oliver (c. 1811); Thomas Hanna (c. 1811-1816); Eliphalet Grover (1816-1839); Mark Dennet (1840-1841); John Thompson (1841-1843); Morgan Trafton (1842, assistant keeper, lost in boating accident); John Kennard (1843-1846); Nathaniel Baker (1849); John Thompson (1846-1849); Hiram Tobey (1853); Caleb S. Gould (1853-1854); George Bowden (1854-1855); Josiah Tobey Jr. (assistant, 1855); Samuel S. Tobey (assistant, 1856); Christopher Littlefield (1854); Sam Philbrick (1854); Charles H. Tobey (assistant 1850, keeper1856); Charles E. Thompson (1858); John S. Baker (assistant, 1858); Nathaniel Baker (1859); William L. Baker (assistant, 1859); Cabin (?) Gray (1861); George B. Wallace (June 1861-1866); Benjamin Bridges (1861); George E. Bridges (1864); Richard C. Yeaton (1864); Charles Ramsdell (assistant 1865); Joshua K. Card (1867-1874); George H. Yeaton (assistant 1867); Samuel Meloon (assistant, 1868); Nathan White Jr. (assistant 1870); Alfred J. Leavitt (1874-1886?); Leander White (1st assistant, 1874); Edwin J. Hobbs (assistant, 1874-1876); David R. Grogan (assistant, 1876, keeper 1879); George O. Leavitt (assistant, 1878); Walter S. Amee (Ames?) (2nd assistant, 1878); John Kennard (1884); William C. Williams (1st assistant 1885, then keeper 1885-1911); James Burke (2nd assistant, 1886-1887, 1st assistant 1887-1890); Orrin M. Lamprey (1886); Meshach M. Seaward (2nd assistant, 1886-1900); Leonidas H. Sawyer (2nd assistant, 1889. keeper 1889); Charles W. Allen (2nd assistant, 1907-1911, first assistant 1911-?); Mitchell Blackwood (c. 1911); Harold Hutchins (c. 1923-1933); Fred C. Batty (assistant, c. early 1930s); Clinton Dalzell (assistant c. 1934); George Woodward (assistant?, c. 1920s); C. A. Tracy (c. 1935); Hoyt P. Smith (c. 1935); E. Stockbridge, assistant (c. 1935); Charles U. Gardner (Coast Guard relief keeper, c, 1942-1943); John H. Morris (Coast Guard, c. 1945); Ted Guice (Coast Guard assistant, c. 1945); Kendrick Capon (Coast Guard, c. 1950s); Harold L. Roberts (Coast Guard, 1956); Leonard John "Moon" Mullen (Coast Guard, c.1956); Charles Allen (1st assistant, c. 1957, served 6 years); Robert Brann (c. 1958); Dave Wells (Coast Guard, 1966); August "Gus" Pfister (Coast Guard, 1967-1968); Bob Roberts (Coast Guard, 1970s); Fred Kendall (1972-1975)