Whitehead Light Station: Programs for adults at an historic light station off the coast of Maine
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Light Station History

bulletWhitehead Light Station was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803. It was  the seventh lighthouse commissioned in the United States and has been in continuous operation ever since. The Light Station has seen many changes in its long history, but the mission of the station has always been the same: to provide a beacon to mariners negotiating the challenging waters that mark the entrance to Penobscot Bay. Today Whitehead Light continues to be an aid to navigation used by recreational boaters and professional mariners. While Pine Island Camp is the owner of the Light Station, the light is maintained and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The original light tower was lit by a whale oil lamp and was maintained by a single light keeper family. In 1891 the original rubble stone keeper’s dwelling was razed and the current two-family dwelling for the keeper and assistant was built on the old foundation. In 1895 a second assistant keeper was added to the crew.  A single-family house for the Head Keeper was built in 1900. The light was automated in 1982 and both keeper’s dwellings were boarded up and abandoned. The lovely Head Keeper's House was torn down in the mid-1980s, and outcry over its demise, along with that of a few other lovely keeper’s houses along the Maine Coast, gave rise to the Maine Lights Program.  It was through the efforts of the Island Institute that federal legislation was passed that made it possible for responsible owners to be found for nearly all of the 32 lighthouse properties in  Maine.  Pine Island Camp, a nonprofit with a 40-year history of responsible stewardship on Whitehead Island, applied for and was granted ownership of the Light Station in 1997. 

bulletSince 1998 Pine Island Camp has been working to renovate the Keeper’s House and other Light Station structures, and has purchased property on the mainland at Emery's Wharf to serve as a parking area and debarkation point for programs at the Light Station. This work has been made possible through generous donations of time and funds by Pine Island Camp alumni and other friends of WLS. 

Whitehead Light Station will continue to serve as an aid to navigation, but it will now also serve as a place for rest, recreation, and learning for adults.

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"At Whitehead Light Station, we seek to give participants an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy the dramatic coast of Maine in an atmosphere that will broaden knowledge, strengthen skills, and promote renewal.  We aim to achieve these goals through a program of simple living, appreciation of the natural world, and first-rate instruction."

© 2008-2023 Whitehead Light Station | Benjamin Swan, Director
Whitehead Island, St George, Maine telephone (207) 200 7957