ROCKLAND — Hundreds of people were out on the Rockland Breakwater on Sunday. The iconic Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse is the number one tourist attraction in Rockland.

The license plates on the cars parked along Samoset Road Sunday afternoon, May 29, showed visitors came from all New England states, as well as New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Quebec.

The Rockland City Council created a Rockland Breakwater Advisory Committee which plans on holding open houses this summer so people can tour the inside of the lighthouse. The tentative plan is for open houses from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays July 10, July 24, Aug. 7, Aug. 21, and Sept. 4.

Construction on the Breakwater began in 1881 and was completed, 4,300 feet in length, by 1899.

The lighthouse was completed in September 1902 and was manned for the next 63 years. The light was automated in 1965 and is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Samoset Resort maintained the building for years until 1989 when a nationwide program turned lights over to municipalities and organizations. Rockland accepted ownership in 1998.

The lighthouse has been owned by the city since 1998 but it leased the iconic building beginning in 2001 to Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation. The lease expired in September 2021. That is when the city created the new Advisory Committee.

The Council has approved applying for congressional directed spending of $125,000 to make improvements to the Lighthouse. The city would need to match that dollar for dollar for a total of $250,000. The match can come from private donations.

The lighthouse needs considerable work including replacing rotted sills and trim, masonry work, painting outside, and plaster work inside.

Photo by Stephen Betts

Photo by Stephen Betts