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Eagle Island Lighthouse

Eagle Island lighthouse

Deer Isle, Maine
Built in 1839



Eagle Island is located in Penobscot Bay between Deer Isle and North Haven. You can take the mail boat out to photograph the lighthouse from the boat.

Latitude: 44° 13' 04" N
Longitude: 68° 46' 04" W


Historic Stories:

With the increasing lumbering traffic, Eagle Island Lighthouse was built in 1839 on the east end of the island to guide shipping traffic and fishing vessels toward the Penobscot River and on to Bangor, which had become America's leading lumber port in the mid-19th century.

early image of Eagle Island light

Eagle Island Light (1856)
Courtesy US Coast Guard

In 1857, with lumber supplies easily accessible, a wooden dwelling framed in hemlock and covered with clapboard pine replaced the original stone keeper's dwelling.

From 1883 to 1913 two generations, Keeper John Ball, and then his son Howard tended the light. Howard replaced his father who retired in 1898, and John stayed on at the station until his death seven years later. Howard passed away at the station in 1913 from pneumonia while helping guide a fishing vessel from Bucksport to safety. His wife Lucy took over duties of the lighthouse until a replacement was found later that year.

The light was automated in 1959 and by 1964 all buildings except the tower were razed, leaving only the foundations behind, much against fierce opposition from the locals.

When trying to remove the giant 1,200-pound fog bell, the Coast Guard's demolition crew lost control of it and the bell slid down the cliff into the ocean. The crew didn't bother to spend the time to retrieve the bell.

It was later hauled out by a local lobsterman and he towed it to nearby Great Spruce Head Island, where it still remains today.
eagle island bell

In 1998, ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to a non-profit group, the Eagle Light Caretakers, under the Maine Lights Program.



Places to Visit Nearby:

The town of Sunset is quite remote and shows you the quiet side of maine's coastal scene. There are lots of places to bike without worrying about too much traffic.

Kayaking or canoeing around these areas provides plenty of opportunities to explore the many small islands that lie around this area's coastline. lobstering or fishing near island cliffs

Excursion trips around the islands are offered via the Eagle Island Mail Boat from Sunset, Maine. The boat will pass by the Eagle Island Lighthouse en route to delivering mail to several islands in the area. To make a reservation on the mail boat, call (207) 348-9316. The ride is about two hours and they are happy to give you enough time to take pictures of the lighthouse.

Coming back from the mail boat at the dock in Sunset, there is also a small public beach to relax and take a swim.


Directions to the Sunset Dock

Directions for a Distant View


Contact Info:

Eagle Light Caretakers
Sunset, ME, 04683.
Phone: (207) 701-9316




Local Boat Tour

Eagle Island Mail Boat
Passes close by the Eagle Island Lighthouse on their daily mail run in the summer. They also offer an open house event each August to explore the lighthouse and grounds.

Eagle Light Caretakers
Eagle Island Rentals
Sunset, ME, 04683.
Phone: (207) 701-9316



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, provides human interest stories from each of the 76 lighthouses, along with plenty of coastal attractions and tours near each beacon.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions





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