Last Visited: July, 2005
In the 1850s several severe nor'easters caused considerable damage to many Rockland waterfront installations, businesses and to shipping in the harbor. Lack of a protective breakwater clearly prevented the harbor from realizing its potential as a commercial port and a harbor of refuge for coastal shipping. However, in spite of citizen petitions and intervention by a local Senator, Congress did not approve constuction of a breakwater until 1880.
The initial appropriation in 1880 started the Rockland Breakwater project. Two sections of breakwater were called for in the plan - one portion extending 1,900 feet from the shore at Jameson Point and the other section extending 2,640 feet from South Ledge back towards the point. Cost estimate for the project was $500,000.
As early as 1886, discussions among those responsible for the project considered changing the original two-breakwater design in favor of a single, long breakwater. The single breakwater plans was approved in 1890. Construction of the single-breakwater design was completed on November 24, 1899, but severe winter storms during the winter of 1899-1900 proved that the height needed to be increased. The four-foot-high cap was completed on October 15, 1901 including the base at the end for the lighthouse.
A total of 768,774 tons of stone were used for the project, total expenditure up to that point was $880,093.
The original light was a "fixed white lens lantern, 18 feet above the breakwater, lantern hung on an iron crane on top of stone beacon, 24 feet above sea level." On August 15, 1892 the beacon was changed to two red lanterns, spaced six feet apart, one above the other placed on a mast atop the stone beacon. In 1895, the beacon was further improved by providing a six-by-six foot building at the base of the mast.
In 1900, with the breakwater essentially complete and plans for the permanent lighthouse and fog signal underway, a new temporary structure for the lantern was completed at the end of the breakwater.
On September 19, 1902 the W.H. Glover Company completed work on the lighthouse and on October 20, 1902 it was equipped with a fourth-order flashing white light. On October 30, 1902 the Rockland Breakwater Light was officially operational.
Friends of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
The breakwater is accessible to the public at all times, however the lighthouse itself is not.
Nearest Address: 57 Samoset Rd, Rockland, ME
- From Route 1 in Rockland, head north past the ferry station.
- Take a right onto Waldo Road.
- Follow road for .5 miles and take a right onto Samoset Road.
- The road ends at the parking lot.
- To get to the lighthouse, walk to the far left of the parking lot and follow the path to the jetty.
View Larger Map