The cliffside Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park, Tremont marks the entrance to Bass Harbor on the southwestern side of Mount Desert Island, Maine. The lighthouse was built of brick in 1858 on a stone foundation, stands 56 feet above mean high water and is accessible by car. Parking is free and it is open daily from 9:00 AM to sunset. (lighthouse photos)
Congress appropriated $5,000 for the construction of the Bass Harbor Head Light after it was determined that “sufficient need” existed to have a lighthouse near the entrance to Bass Harbor. This was followed by the addition of a fog bell and tower in 1876. However, this was replaced by a substantially larger 4,000 pound (1,800 kg) bell in 1898 when it was installed within the tower. On January 21, 1988, the lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places, reference number 87002273, under the title of Bass Harbor Head Light Station.
There is also a keeper's house that remains pretty much in its original form other than a 10 foot addition that was added in 1900. However, the house serves as an actual full-time residence for a U.S. Coast Guard family. They ask that their privacy be respected.
When you arrive at the lighthouse, you will see a path in plain sight on the right side. This will take you next to the tower and lighthouse viewing area where you have a great vantage point to see a panoramic view of the harbor and the islands in the distance. There are some plaques with detailed information about the grounds, the lighthouse, and its history.
On the left side of the buildings is a path that appears to go into the tree canopy. This will take you to a stairway that follows down the front face of the cliff, eventually arriving at a prime spot for capturing a picture of the lighthouse and cliffs like you may have seen here on AcadiaMagic.com or elsewhere. Use utmost caution if you venture down to the rocks below. There are no guardrails or boardwalks for safety once you get to the bottom. This is the rugged Maine coast with its roughness, loose stones, and slippery spots. (see large lighthouse photo)
You may be surprised to hear that the Bass Harbor Head Light is in Tremont rather than Bass Harbor. The fact is, Bass Harbor is actually a village in the municipality of Tremont along with Bernard, Gotts Island, Seal Cove, and West Tremont.
The National Park Service may be reached at: 207.288.3338
Parking Area GPS: Latitude 44.222568; Longitude -68.337273
Click the following for information on Maine Lighthouses:
Lighthouses Illustrated Map & Guide
by Peter Dow Bachelder, Bella Terra Publishing
Lighthouses of Maine (Lighthouse Treasury)
by Jeremy D'Entremont
Lighthouses: Documentation Of Their Past
by J. Candace Clifford, Mary Louise Clifford
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