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Deer Island Thorofare
(Mark Island) Lighthouse

Deer Island Thororfare (Mark Island) lighthouse

Stonington, Maine
Built in 1857


On Mark Island along a narrow passage south of Stonington in East Penobscot Bay. Can only be viewed by boat.


Historic Stories:

With a growing fishing industry and booming, prosperous granite quarries in the area, Deer Island Thorofare became a busy waterway in the 19th century.

The lighthouse was built in 1857 to help mariners negotiate the waters near Stonington along the western approach to the thorofare.

early inage of Deer Island Thorofare lighthouse

Early Deer Island Thorofare
(Mark Island) Light
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Keeper Allan Holt was known for his many rescues of stranded boats that landed on Mark Island, which included towing motorboats and stranded lobster boats, and for towing the steamer Minnehah to safety. He is also credited for helping to float the stranded schooner Sarah and Lucy which had run aground an nearby Andrews Island.

In February 1935, Keeper Conary had an apparent heart attack and needed to be transported to the mainland. A tugboat was sent out to navigate through the frozen ice flows to bring Conary back to the mainland to the hospital. The tugboat became stuck in Stonington Harbor, leaving no choice but to have Conary transported by lifeboat through the harbor where he survived the ordeal. Conary and his wife Gertrude were also known for splitting work between the duties at the lighthouse, and in growing potatoes and canning wild strawberries for their food supply. A unique marital relationship for those days.



Places to Visit:

Stonington is known in Maine as one of the most quaint unspoiled fishing villages in Maine. lobstering near rocky island cliffs

This most beautiful location offers a haven for artists and their galleries, and growing specialty shops. It lies on Deer Isle easily accessible by a bridge from the mainland.

The 100-year old Stonington Opera House provides films, music, and theater year round, including the Deer Isle Jazz Festival in early August. There are three large conservation areas with plenty of trails through mossy forests and along the shoreline maintained by the Island Heritage Trust. These include the Settlement Quarry off Oceanville Road, Crocett Cove Woods off Route 15A, and Holt Mill Pond Reserve off Airport Road.

There is also the Lighthouse Trail Weekend sponsored by the Deer Isle Chamber in the middle of September to view up to eight lighthouses in the area; some by land, and others from various boat companies and local business involved in the project.


Contact Info:
Island Heritage Trust
P.O. Box 42
Deer Isle, ME 04627


Local Boat Tours

Acadian Boat Tours
Acadian Boat Tours, out of Bar Harbor, offers various nature, puffin, and fishing cruises, along with 3 special lighthouse tours each week, and National Park trips. They cruise by the lighthouse as part of their Puffins, Lighthouses, and Seabirds cruise.
119 Eden St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Phone (207) 801-2300


Isle au Haut Boat Company
Daily mail boat trips to the island of Isle au Haut in the summer season. They also provide puffin cruises to Seal Island.

They offer a special annual 4-5 hour cruise during Maine's lighthouse weekend in September to see up to six lighthouses on Saturday: Isle au Haut Light, Mark Island Light (also known as Deer Isle Thorofare), Goose Rocks Light, Brown's Head Light, Heron Neck Light, and if weather permits Saddleback Ledge Light.

On Sunday of that weekend, they have a special tour to four other lighthouses: Hockamock Head Light (Swan's Island), Great Duck Island Light, Bass Harbor Head Light and Blue Hill Bay Light (also called Eggemoggin Lighthouse).

Isle au Haut Boat Services
P.O. Box 709
Stonington, ME 04681
Tel. (207) 367-5193


Scenic Flights

Penobscot Island Air
Chartering a variety of lighthouse viewing flights.
Knox County Regional Airport
Owls Head ME 04854
Phone: (207) 596-7500
Cellular: (207) 542-4944
Fax: (207) 596-6870



My 300-page book (with over 360 images), Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Northern New England: New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, published by Schiffer Publishing, provides human interest stories from each of the 76 lighthouses, along with plenty of coastal attractions and tours near each beacon, and contact info to plan your special trips.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions

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