Bass Harbor Head Light stands at the southernmost tip of Mount Desert Island and marks the entrance to Blue Hill Bay and Bass Harbor. Since 1858 it has warned mariners of navigational hazards along this rocky shore.
In the nineteenth century, the waters near this light station bustled with merchant ships, fishing vessels and schooners, which carried granite, fish, lumber and lyme to distant ports, or bought goods from around the world back to Maine.
Many of the islands you see were once inhabited by people who made their living from the surrounding sea. By 1860, nearly one in five Maine residents was a mariner. Today, Swans Island is the only island in view with a year-around population.
As ships and commerce have changed, the light station has been automated, but never darkened.
(Inscription in the box on the right) Bass Harbor Head Light 44 13.3N, 68 20.3W-built 1858-Height: 56 feet above mean high water-Maximum visibility: 13 nautical miles-Light: red occulting—4 seconds on, 1 second off-Lens: 4th Order Fresnel Classical-Automated: 1974. The light is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The small building east of the lighthouse was built in 1897, and housed the fog signal. The keeper's quarters is a U.S. Coast Guard residence. Neither the lighthouse nor the quarters are open to the public.