Great Duck Island Light
Great Duck Island Quick Facts
Year Station Established: 1890
Is the Light operational? Yes
Year Light First Lit: 1890
Year Automated: 1986
Tower Height: 42 ft.
Original Optic: 5th Order, Fresnel
Present Optic: VRB-25, Solar
Existing Keepers Quarters? Yes
Year Constructed: 1890
Number of Stories: 1.5
Architectural Style: Cottage
Construction Materials: Wood Frame
Great Duck Island Lighthouse
Great Duck Island
Near Frenchboro, ME
(10 photos, 345KB total download)
Great Duck Island Lighthouse Videos
Last Visited: September, 2010
Great Duck Island got its name in the 1700s from a pond in its center that attracted large flocks of ducks each spring.
There was discussion of establishing a lighthouse on the island as early as 1823 to aid mariners heading for the Mount Desert area and Blue Hill Bay from the south, but many decades would pass before the idea became reality.
Work on the station began in May 1890. A double boat slip and boathouse were constructed on the east side of the island, joined to the lighthouse site by a 2,251-foot-long road. A 20-by-30-foot barn was erected at the lighthouse site to serve as temporary quarters for the workmen. Construction was completed by the end of the year, and the light was established on December 31, 1890.
The lantern on the 42-foot cylindrical brick lighthouse originally held a fifth-order Fresnel lens. A brick service room was attached to the base of the tower, which was painted red until it was changed to white in the spring of 1900. In 1902, the original lens was replaced by a fourth-order lens. Many other improvements to the station were made in the 1902-1906 period, including the addition of a tramway from the landing to the fog signal building.
The light was automated in 1986 and the Fresnel lens was replaced by a modern optic. The light remains an active aid to navigation, while most of the rest of the island was purchased by the Maine Chapter of the Nature Conservancy in 1984. The Nature Conservancy estimates that Great Duck Island supports 20% of Maine's nesting seabirds.
In 1998 Great Duck Island Light, along with Mount Desert Rock Light, became the property of Bar Harbor's College of the Atlantic under the Maine Lights Program. The two lighthouses are used in the school's programs on ecology, botany and island life. The college must see that the properties' condition meets state historical preservation guidelines.
New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide
Latitude/Longitude: 44.14223, -68.24585
- The lighthouse can only be seen by boat or airplane.