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Name: Whitehead Light (ME)  

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Also known as: Whitehead Island Light

Nearest Town or City:
Tenants Harbor (St. George), Maine, United States

Location: Southern entrance to Penobscot Bay.

Click to enlarge: Photo   
Photo: Jeremy D'Entremont

Managing Organization:
Pine Island Camp

Telephone: 207-729-7714


The keeper's house is being restored. Whitehead Island, located about a mile from the mainland at the mouth of Penobscot Bay just southwest of Rockland, it is a 90-acre island with only three property owners: the Swan family, David Gamage, and Pine Island Camp. Pine Island owns 11 acres at the northeast end of the island on which there are seven structures, including the granite lighthouse that has been operating since it was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson in 1803, making it the seventh-oldest in the United States. David Gamage owns approximately five acres on which there is a small cottage built by his grandfather, Arthur J. Beal, who was lighthouse keeper at Whitehead for 25 years. The rest of the island, approximately 75 acres, is owned by the Swan family and is protected by a conservation easement held by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. In 1997, under the Maine Lights Program, the lighthouse was transferred to Pine Island Camp.

Tower Height: 41

Height of Focal Plane: 75

Characteristic and Range: Green eclipsed by black every four seconds.

Description of Tower: Conical granite tower with green cast iron lantern.

This light is operational

Other Buildings?
1891 1.5 story wood frame duplex keeper's house, 1888 brick fog signal building, 1891 oil house, garage, boathouse.

Earlier Towers?
1807: stone tower.

Date Established: 1807

Date Present Tower Built: 1852

Date Automated: 1982

Optics: 1857: Third order Fresnel lens; 1982: 300 mm. The original Fresnel lens is now at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, ME.

Fog Signal: 1830: Fog bell; 1837: Tide-driven fog bell; 1853: New fog bell; 1869: Steam-driven fog whistle; 1933: Two new fog horns run by gasoline engines and air compressor; now automated horn with two blasts every 30 seconds.

Current Use: Active aid to navigation.

Open To Public? Grounds only.

Whitehead Light can only be partially seen through trees from the mainland, from the end of Spruce Head Point Road in Spruce Head. It is best seen by boat.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Keepers: Ellis Dolph (1805-1807); Ebenezer Otis (1813-1816); Charles Haskell (1816-1821); Samuel Davis (1821-1840); William Perry, Jr. (1840-1841 and 1845-1849); Joshua Bartlett (1849); Dennis Pillsbury (1853); Samuel B. Stackpole (1853-1858); Albert Thomas, assistant (1854); Edwin R. Stackpole (1853-1858); Eugene Stackpole, assistant (1857); Elisha Snow. Assistant (1857-1859); Isaac Sterns (1858-1860); Thomas Shoutts, assistant (1859-1860); Samuel Ludwig, assistant (1860); William Spear (1860-1861); William Spear, Jr., assistant (1860-1861); Ephraim Quinn (1861-1862); William Perry, assistant (1861-1862); Archibald McKellar (1862); James McKellar, assistant (1862); Edward Spaulding (1862-1865); E. Cooper Spaulding, assistant (1862-1866); Hezekiah Long (1865-1875); Horace Norton, assistant (1866-1874); Abbie B. Long, assistant (1867-1875); Isaac N. Grant (1875-1890); Abby B. Grant, assistant (1875-1890); Knot Perry, assistant (1876); George L. Upton (1890-1892); Frank N. Jellison, assistant (1890-1892), then keeper (1892-1905); Daniel Stevens (1892); George Matthews, assistant (1892-1898); Joseph W. Jellison, second assistant (1895-1898); Walden B. Hodgkins, second assistant (1899-1902); Otto A. Wilson, second assistant (1899); George S. Connors, second assistant (1899-1902); Edward T. Merritt, second assistant (1902-1903); Elmer Reed, assistant, then keeper (1902-1912); George M. Joyce, second assistant (1903-1905); A. Faulkingham, second assistant, then first assistant (1905-1909); Stephen F. Flood, first assistant (1905-1907); Frank B. Ingalls, second assistant (1907-1909); Fairfield H, Moore, first assistant (1909-1911); John E. Purrington, second assistant (1909-1911); Lester Leighton, second assistant (1911-1913); Charles Robinson, assistant (1913-?); Hervey H, Wass, first assistant (1913-1919); Arthur B. Mitchell (1919-1929); Arthur Marston (1923-1928, assistant?); Arthur J. Beal (1929-1950); Frank Alley, second assistant (1928-194?); George Lester Alley, first assistant (1926-194?); Clyde Grant (Coast Guard, c. 1950); Gordon P. Eaton (Coast Guard, c. 1950-1952); Richard (Rick) Ames (Coast Guard, c. 1950); Ronald Upton (Coast Guard keeper, 9/1973-5/1974); Frank Wescovich (OIC) 1978-79

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