Goose Rocks Light
Goose Rocks Light
North Haven, ME
Year Light First Lit:
Yes, active aid to navigation
Tower Height: 51 feet
250 MM, Solar Powered
Viewed by boat/boat tour
Open to public:
No, closed to public
Goose Rocks Light - located in Penobscot Bay at the eastern entrance to the Fox Islands Thorofare near Vinalhaven
Goose Rocks Light (+44° 8' 8.00", -68° 49' 50.00") is located in Penobscot Bay at the eastern entrance to the Fox Islands Thorofare, a busy mile-wide passage between the islands of Vinalhaven and North Haven. (Explorer Martin Pring coined the area's islands “The Fox Islands” in honor of the silver foxes that used to inhabit them.)
The lighthouse was built in 1890 to mark the dangerous ledge beneath it. It is an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation with a characteristic of a flashing red every 6 seconds with a white sector. Its fog signal is 1 blast every 10 seconds. It is a cast-iron, “sparkplug” style lighthouse typical of the era, built on a round cast-iron caisson filled with concrete. The three-story tower was painted red until 1903. Today, the caisson is black and the tower is white.
The lighthouse has been home to many keepers over the years. Serving at Goose Rocks Light was a lot like sailing aboard a ship, because one could not just get out and walk around on land whenever he pleased.
The light was automated in 1963, but the station still employed people as “lamplighters,” whose main duty was to control the fog signal. The original Fresnel lens was removed to make way for automation. Today, a 250 mm optic is solar powered.
Goose Rocks Light is now owned by Beacon Preservation, Inc., an organization dedicating to preserving lighthouses. Beacon Preservation accepts donations to their cause, and as a way of thanking contributors, offers visits and/or overnight stays at the lighthouse. Goose Rocks Light can accommodate up to 8 guests. Contact Beacon Preservation for more information.
On August 1st, 2009, Beacon Preservation sponsored a Goose Rocks Lighthouse exhibit at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland. The exhibit featured placards detailing the history of the lighthouse and its keepers, original diaries and documents of Keeper Albert Mills (1910), navigational instruments owned by former keepers, antique bottles found at the base of Goose Rocks, and a circa 1922 model of Goose Rocks Light made by Keeper Asa Smith. A photo-frame slideshow accompanied the exhibit.
The lighthouse can easily be viewed from boat or aircraft. Distant views are possible from the islands of Vinalhaven and North Haven. One can also see the light while aboard one of the cruises offered by Old Quarry Ocean Adventures out of Stonington.
Goose Rocks Light Station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We would like to thank both Robert English and Elisabeth Burnett for granting us permission to use their repsective images of Goose Rocks Light. You can view more images of Goose Rocks Light and Maine Lighthouses by visitng their respective Flickr pages at Robert's Flickr page and Elisabeth's Flickr page.