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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cape Elizabeth in Cumberland County, Maine — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Portland Head Light

 
 
Portland Head Light Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 16, 2009
1. Portland Head Light Marker
Inscription.  
Since its commission by George Washington in 1790, Portland Head Light remains an enduring symbol of the rugged, solid characteristics of a magnificent coastline and proud people weathering the challenges of nature and time.

In observance of Greater Portland's 350th anniversary, we rededicate this unique landmark to the aspirations and achievements of those who came before us and to present and future generations who will continue its proud heritage.

George Bush
Vice President of the United States
July, 1982
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: CommunicationsGovernment & PoliticsLandmarksWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #41 George H.W. Bush, and the Lighthouses series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1982.
 
Location. 43° 37.382′ N, 70° 12.513′ W. Marker is in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, in Cumberland County. Marker is on Fort Williams Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Cape Elizabeth ME 04107, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (within shouting distance
Portland Head Light and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 31, 2017
2. Portland Head Light and Marker
Marker in shadow in bottom foreground
Click or scan to see
this page online
of this marker); Coast Guard Day (within shouting distance of this marker); Civilian Conservation Corps (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Williams (within shouting distance of this marker); U.S.S. Eagle-56 (PE-56) (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Portland Head Light (within shouting distance of this marker); Annie C. McGuire Shipwreck Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Battery Blair (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cape Elizabeth.
 
Additional commentary.
1. The bell structure on side of building
I use to be a assistant lighthousekeeper there at Portland head from 1980-1983 and lived there with my family, I was in US Coast Guard. My comment is, We use to take care of all the structures around there all the time, when the light tower was falling apart, we would put new plaster on it, and we also always kept the bell structure up and planted flowers around it to look always excellent for the tourist to enjoy viewing when
Portland Head Light image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 16, 2009
3. Portland Head Light
they visited every day. I was really disgusted on how the town has let this bell structure fall away like it has, from looking at that picture that's on this site, I find it disgusting that they would show the deterioration on this national landmark. I think someone needs to get in there and restore it to its normal state of beauty the way it was, re-patch it and repaint it. I am sure the town of Cape Elizabeth can afford that. I have a picture of me standing next to that bell tower in 1982 with the Captain of the Coast Guard base and the Admiral of the First Coast Guard District. Anyway if you want me to send that picture of the bell tower the way it looked when I was there, I will be glad to, that's the way it should always look. Like I said, I still can't believe the management there would let it get to the deteriorated state it is now, and let the public see it. Marion Danna USCG-Ret.
    — Submitted April 20, 2011, by Marion Danna of Groves, Texas.
 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 16, 2009
4. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Plaque
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow often walked from Portland to visit this Lighthouse. The Keepers were his friends, and it is believed he sat here for inspiration for his poem "The Lighthouse"
"Sail on; Sail on ye stately ships
And with your floating bridge the ocean span
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse
Be yours to bring man near unto man."
Portland Head Keeper's House image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 16, 2009
5. Portland Head Keeper's House
Lighthouse Bell image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 16, 2009
6. Lighthouse Bell
Lighthouse Bicentennial image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 16, 2009
7. Lighthouse Bicentennial
1789 - 1989
Portland Head Light
"Keepers of the Light"
1791 Joseph k. Greenleaf • 1796 Dave Duncan • 1796 Barzillia Delano • 1820 Joshua Freeman • 1840 Richard Lee • 1849 John F. Watts • 1853 John W. Collidge • 1854 James S. Williams • 1854 James Delano • 1861 Elder M. Jordan • 1869 Joshua F. Strout • 1904 Joseph V. Strout • 1928 John W. Cameron • 1929 Frank O. Hilt • 1941 Robert T. Sterling • 1946 William L. Lockhart • 1946 William T. Burns • 1951 Earle E. Benson • 1956 Archie W. McCaughlin • 1957 Henry E. Leonard • 1960 Armand E. Haude • 1965 Manford H. Durkee • 1967 John F. Johnson • 1968 Franklin D. Allen • 1974 Roy B. Cavanaugh • 1977 Victor I. Bissonnitte • 1978 Raymond W. Barbar • 1982 Michael W. Cook • 1986 Davis Simpson, Jr.
Dedicated August 7, 1989 to the men and women of the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the U.S. Coast Guard in appreciation of their two hundred years of service.
Coastline image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 16, 2009
8. Coastline
Coast Guard Day Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 16, 2009
9. Coast Guard Day Plaque
Aug. 4, 1965
Coast Guard Day
In this bicentennial year, 1765-1965, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, the town dedicates this plaque in honor of the United states Coast Guard on the 175th anniversary of its founding and the commissioning of the light by the President of the United States, General George Washington in 1790. Portland Head was manned on Jan. 10, 1791.
National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark image. Click for full size.
By Matt Gilbertson, February 12, 2011
10. National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark
Portland Head Light was the first lighthouse completed and put into service by the Federal government under the Lighthouse Act of 1789.
Completed 1791                               Designated 2002
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2009, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,755 times since then and 15 times this year. Last updated on April 20, 2011, by Marion Danna of Groves, Texas. Photos:   1. submitted on October 17, 2009, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.   2. submitted on August 15, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on October 17, 2009, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.   10. submitted on May 21, 2012, by Matt Gilbertson of Medford, Massachusetts.

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Apr. 21, 2021