Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, South Portland

#5 of 23 in Things to do in South Portland
Lighthouse · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The Portland Breakwater Light is a small lighthouse in South Portland, Maine.
The lighthouse was first built in 1855, as a wooden structure, but the breakwater was extended and a new lighthouse was constructed at the end of it in 1875. The new lighthouse was made of curved cast-iron plates whose seams are disguised by six decorative Corinthian columns. Its design was inspired by the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, made well known by engravings. The architect was Thomas U. Walter, most noted as the designer of the U.S. Capitol east and west wings and its current dome. Wooden sheds and a six-room house for the lighthouse-keeper were added incrementally as needed. In 1897 Spring Point Ledge Light was erected and the houses around Bug Light were demolished and the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse keepers tended to both lighthouses. During World War II, the breakwater was slowly absorbed by landfill as the New England Shipbuilding Corporation built two shipyards next to the lighthouse. These shipyards produced Liberty Ships for the war effort. Because of the smaller breakwater, there was a lesser need for the lighthouse and it was decommissioned in 1943.
The light was fully restored in 1989 and was reactivated in 2002. It appears as a private aid to navigation in the US Coast Guard Light List as South Portland Breakwater Light. Today a park named after the lighthouse, Bug Light Park, allows visitors to view the Portland Breakwater Light up close, while memorializing the shipbuilding efforts of World War II. The light was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Portland Breakwater Light on June 19, 1973, reference number 73000238.
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Portland Breakwater Lighthouse reviews

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141 reviews
  • I am a sucker for lighthouse! This one is not a huge one but it’s truly amazing ! I got lucky that there was not too many people so I could get some nice pic!!!! Very lovely place !!!! Has free...  more »
  • This lighthouse, also known as Bug Light, is easily accessible and quite charming. Well worth the visit.  more »
  • Wonderful little lighthouse with a delightful park. There are quite a few benches to sit on and admire the view and enjoy the fresh air. The path to the lighthouse are original laid stones that are beautiful but uneven so be careful when walking. You can actually walk all around the lighthouse. People are so nice, they stopped to talk to us and gave us tips on what to see and do in the area. Lovely.
  • Cool little lighthouse. Lots of parking and a nice walkway to and around the lighthouse. Lots of boat traffic to watch. Many park benches available to sit and watch the water, boats, waves. Very peaceful and serene. If you enjoy lighthouses like my family does they are several different ones nearby you can check out.

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