Location: Piscataqua River, Kittery, Maine (View Map)
Coordinates: 43° 03′ 32″N 70° 41′ 47″W
Maine’s Whaleback Lighthouse may stand alone on a wave-swept ledge at the entrance to the Piscataqua River, but this stout beacon has some good friends on land who are laying the groundwork for its eventual restoration.
Whaleback Lighthouse, which is owned by the American Lighthouse Foundation and cared for by its local chapter, Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, is in need of major restoration work, especially on its interior.
Quick Lighthouse Facts:
- Year Built: 1872
- Height of Tower: 75 feet
- Description: Gray conical tower that exhibits a flashing(2 flashes…one at 8.4 second intervals and the other at 1.4 second intervals) white light every 10 seconds from a focal plane of 59 feet above the water and visible 17 nautical miles. The lighthouse is equipped with a foghorn, which sounds two blasts every 30 seconds. – Reference: 2005 U.S. Coast Guard Light List
- Location: On ledge, northeast side of outer entrance to Portsmouth Harbor. – Reference: 1939 U.S. Lighthouse Service Light List
- Automated: 1963
- Status: Active aid to navigation owned by the American Lighthouse Foundation.
Light Station Historical Facts…
Although it marks the approach to the harbor of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Whaleback Light is officially is in Maine waters, as it is clearly on that state’s side of the Piscataqua River… The original Whaleback Lighthouse was built in 1831…The tower was 40 feet tall and exhibited a fixed white light 58 feet above high water…The 1849 List of Light-Houses, Beacons, and Floating Lights of the United States noted that the original Whaleback Lighthouse was outfitted with “Two lights – one 10 feet above the other – but seen as one light at about 6 miles distance”… By 1836 it was realized that the tower had been poorly built. It leaked badly in storms and heavy seas… A fourth order Fresnel lens was installed in 1855… A new lighthouse tower was finally erected in 1872… The 50-foot tower was constructed of granite blocks dovetailed together in similar fashion to Minot’s Ledge Light in Massachusetts and the Eddystone Light in England… Part of the base of the old tower is still visible.
Local ALF Chapter Information:
Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses
P.O. Box 8232
Portsmouth, NH 03802-5092
Telephone: (603) 534-0537