Mount Desert Light
The 1847 (current) tower with
the 1892 keeper's house.
LocationSouth of Mount Desert Island, Maine
Coordinates43°58′7.01″N 68°7′42.012″W / 43.9686139°N 68.12833667°W / 43.9686139; -68.12833667Coordinates: 43°58′7.01″N 68°7′42.012″W / 43.9686139°N 68.12833667°W / 43.9686139; -68.12833667
FoundationSurface rock
ConstructionGranite blocks
Tower height17.5 m (57 ft) Edit this on Wikidata
Tower shapeConical Tower
MarkingsNatural granite, black lantern[1][2][3]
HeritageNational Register of Historic Places listed place Edit this on Wikidata
First lit1847 (current tower)
Focal height75 ft (23 m)
Lens3rd order Fresnel Lens (original),
VRB-25 (current)
Range20 nmi (37 km; 23 mi)
CharacteristicFl W 15s
Admiralty no.J0048
Fog signalHORN: 2 every 30s operates continuously
ARLHS no.USA-516
USCG no.1–5 (the first lighthouse in the Light List)
Mount Desert Light Station
ArchitectAlexander Parris; US Army Corps of Engineers
MPSLight Stations of Maine MPS
NRHP reference No.88000155[4]
Added to NRHPMarch 14, 1988

Mount Desert Light is a lighthouse on Mount Desert Rock, a small island about 18 nautical miles (33 km; 21 mi) south of Mount Desert Island, in the U.S. state of Maine. While the first light station was established in 1830, the current lighthouse was built in 1847. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Mount Desert Light Station in 1988.[4]


The conical granite structure was one in a series of lighthouses in Maine designed by architect Alexander Parris. A bell tower and fog bell were added in 1858, as well as a new lantern with a 3rd order Fresnel lens. The bell was replaced by a steam-powered whistle in 1889. The present keeper's house was built in 1892. The station was electrified in 1931 and automated in 1977; around that time, the lantern was removed and the lens was replaced aero-beacon. In 1985, a replica of the lantern was installed, and circa (c.) 1995, the aero-beacon was replaced with a VRB-25 lighthouse system.[1][3]

The station was transferred in 1998 to the College of the Atlantic as part of the Maine Lights program. It is used as an ecology research station, primarily known for its work on finback and humpback whales.

The station is both farther offshore and more exposed than any other lighthouse on the east coast. It sustained serious damage during Hurricane Daisy (1962) and Hurricane Bill (2009). In August 2009, the boathouse was washed away, two walls of the generator building were ripped apart, and all the furniture and equipment on the first floor of the lightkeeper's house were ruined when it flooded almost to the ceiling. The college research station was subsequently closed until August 2010.


See also


  1. ^ a b c "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Maine". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office. 2009-08-06. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01.
  2. ^ Light List, Volume I, Atlantic Coast, St. Croix River, Maine to Shrewsbury River, New Jersey (PDF). Light List. United States Coast Guard. 2009. p. 1.
  3. ^ a b Rowlett, Russ (2009-09-30). "Lighthouses of the United States: Eastern Maine". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  4. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.