See lighthouses through new lens
The fourth annual Maine Open Lighthouse Day will include tours at 22 light stations on Sept. 15, rain or shine. The event is the largest of its kind in the country, and is coordinated by the U.S. Coast Guard in partnership with the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation.
Most lights will be open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for guided or self-guided tours of keeper's houses and light towers. The event website, www.lighthouseday.com, has details about visitor hours, fees, activities and transportation to each participating lighthouse.
Local participating lighthouses include: Browns Head Lighthouse on Vinalhaven Island; Curtis Island Lighthouse, Camden; Fort Point Lighthouse, Stockton Springs; Grindle Point Lighthouse, Islesboro; Marshall Point Lighthouse, Port Clyde; Monhegan Island Lighthouse, Monhegan Island; Owls Head Lighthouse, Owls Head; and Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, Rockland.
The Owls Head Lighthouse staircase, landing and ladder, and its lantern room window panes were rehabilitated during a 2010 project, as was the exterior of the 30-foot sentinel. The newest addition to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse is a late 1800s wooden peapod on display in the boathouse. The boat recently was rowed to the lighthouse after being restored by a traditional boat building school in Rockland. Visitors will also see newly restored wood floors in the keeper's house.
The fourth-order Fresnel lens installed at Owls Head Lighthouse in 1856 is one of six rare Fresnel optics visitors can view during Maine Open Lighthouse Day. The Fresnel lens, named after its French inventor, was a state-of-the-art advancement for lighthouses in the 1820s. The glass lenses focus light through an array of thin, concentric sections that each act as a prism. The design allows a beam of light to be seen from as far as 20 miles away. Only 84 Fresnel lenses remain in working U.S. lighthouses. Six of Maine's eight working Fresnel lenses can be viewed during Open Lighthouse Day.
Courier Publications news staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.