Goat Island Light
Goat Island Quick Facts
Year Station Established: 1835
Is the Light operational? Yes
Year Light First Lit: 1859
Year Automated: 1990
Tower Height: 25 ft.
Original Optic: 5th Order, Fresnel
Present Optic: 300mm
Existing Keepers Quarters? Yes
Year Constructed: 1860
Number of Stories: 1.5
Architectural Style: Colonial Cape
Construction Materials: Wood
Goat Island Lighthouse
(3 photos, 82KB total download)
Goat Island Lighthouse Videos
Last Visited: May, 2012
Goat Island Light is best viewed from the municipal pier at Cape Porpoise, a village in the town of Kennebunkport. Goat Island marks the northeast entrance to Cape Porpoise Harbor, a working harbor formed by an archipelago of low scrubby islands. A 20 foot rubblestone tower and keeper's cottage were built in 1835 at a cost of $6000.00. Unlike other lighthouses in York County, the main structures on Goat Island have never been blown away. The original tower was torn down in 1860 when the present station was constructed of brick. The keepers' house and several outbuildings are woodframe. The tower is an example of conservative Federal Period architecture (1789-1852), plain, squat, and unadorned. The light can be seen for 12 nautical miles.
Goat Island has the distinction of being the last manned lighthouse in Maine. In 1976 the Coast Guard had plans to automate the light. In 1978 the same storm than inundated Boon Island partially submerged Goat Island and did blow away a covered wooden walkway. The keeper's wife and two small children took refuge on the second floor of the house which was the most inland building on the island while the keeper kept watch. The family was offered a transfer shortly after the ordeal and automation seemed imminent. However, when George Bush came into office, the Coast Guard decided to use the island as a security station and another keeper and family were assigned. Boswain Mate, Brad Culp, became the last keeper of Goat Island and enjoyed quite a different tour of duty than his predecessors. The presidential compound at Walker's Point is just a mile or so from the island and clearly visible from it. Military and security helicopters frequently landed especially when foreign dignitaries visited. Bush, himself, would occasionally drop in on the Culps when out fishing from his speed boat. No major storms affected Goat Island during Culp's tenure. Finally, the light was automated and in 1990, the career Coast Guard man and his family were transferred to the Great Lakes.
Goat Island has recently been purchased from the government by the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust which owns several other islands in the Cape Porpoise group. Fundraising efforts are ongoing to improve the buildings and grounds of Goat Island, including the replacement of the walkway. The island is inhabited by a local family during the summer. A bachelor and his dog stay at the light from October through June. Visitors are are welcome if they can get there. The island's best small boat landing is tidal.
Nearest Address: 78 Pier Rd, Kennebunkport, ME
- Take Route 9A into the town of Kennebunkport.
- Follow 9A through town - it will become Route 9.
- Continue on Route 9 into Cape Porpoise. There the road will take a 90 degree turn to the left. Go RIGHT onto Pier Road.
- Stay on Pier Road to the end. It will end at the town pier. From there you can see the lighthouse in the distance.
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