Owls Head Lighthouse, a crown jewel of the Midcoast Maine
region, is having its historic splendor renewed thanks to a team effort
by the American Lighthouse Foundation and the United States Coast Guard.
On April 23, 2010 the 24-foot sentinel was enveloped by
staging in preparation for two separate restoration
Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.
Owls Head Lighthouse
projects totaling $248,000.
The two projects, which will occur simultaneously, will address many
structural aspects of the 1852 brick lighthouse.
The nonprofit American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF), headquartered in
Rockland, Maine, will repoint the exterior and interior brickwork of the
structure, refurbish the interior window frames, iron staircase, the deck
and ladder leading to the lantern, as well as repair the light tower’s stone
foundation and recoat the exterior brickwork.
ALF has contracted the $80,000 project to J.B. Leslie Company, Inc. of South
J.B. Leslie Company, Inc. has also worked on restoration projects at other
lighthouses such as Pemaquid Point, Monhegan Island, Cape Elizabeth and
White Island. The American Lighthouse Foundation and J.B. Leslie Company,
Inc. each received a 2009 Honor Award from Maine Preservation for their
collaboration on the recent Pemaquid and Cape Elizabeth projects.
The funding for the Owls Head project was made possible thanks to the
efforts of U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins.
Owls Head Light is one of three Maine lighthouses (Pemaquid Point and Wood
Island being the others) that are benefiting from an FY09 $380,000 federal
appropriation secured by Senator Collins for the preservation of
federally-owned lights under the care of ALF.
The United States Coast Guard, which maintains ownership of Owls Head
Lighthouse and licenses the tower to the American Lighthouse Foundation for
preservation and educational purposes, is funding a separate project to
restore the lantern of the lighthouse.
The $168,000 Coast Guard project, which has been contracted to KGCI, Inc. of
Saugus, Massachusetts, will allow for the historic restoration of the
lantern’s exterior and interior ironwork, as well as the lantern’s
windowpanes, parapet masonry floor, exterior iron railing system and the
granite gallery that supports the lantern.
Both the ALF and USCG projects are expected to be completed by July 2010 and
have been approved by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, who
ensures historic restoration projects such as Owls Head Lighthouse, meet the
U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Preservation.
During the restoration project that is presently underway, the staircase
leading up to the lighthouse will be closed to the public.
“This is an exciting and historic time in the history of Owls Head Light,”
said Bob Trapani, Jr., American Lighthouse Foundation executive director.
“The work that ALF and the Coast Guard are teaming up to undertake will
ensure that this lighthouse remains preserved for the public’s enjoyment
well into the future.”
Trapani went on to note, “Though the days of the traditional lightkeepers
have passed, there remains solidly in place the presence of ‘keepers of the
lights.’ The Owls Head project personifies this notion to the fullest as the
Coast Guard and the American Lighthouse Foundation, who each possess an
important role in the modern day history at this site, work side by side for
the good of the lighthouse.”
“The simultaneous facilitation of this complex restoration work by the two
entities is also noteworthy, for such projects don’t just happen without a
great deal of teamwork. There has been a lot of communication, planning and
coordination between the USCG and ALF to allow for this opportunity at
To learn more about the current Owls Head Lighthouse restoration project,
the American Lighthouse Foundation’s mission or when you can visit ALF’s
Interpretive Center and Gift Store at 464 Main Street in Rockland, call
(207) 594-4174 or email Info.
Local residents interested in volunteering at Owls Head Lighthouse in 2010
and beyond are encouraged to contact the Friends of Rockland Breakwater
FRBL, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, has been designated
by ALF with the local care of Owls Head Light, including its on-site
FRBL volunteers have worked the past two years to open Owls Head Lighthouse
periodically to the general public for educational tours, and will continue
with this effort in 2010 following the completion of the current restoration
projects at the site.
To learn more about the Friends of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse or how you
can volunteer at Owls Head Lighthouse in 2010, call (207) 542-7574 or visit