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Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse

Spring Point Ledge lighthouse

South Portland, Maine
Built in 1897


Inside southern entrance to Portland Harbor, at the end of a quarter mile jetty. Portland Harbor Museum (originally the Spring Point Museum) and Fort Preble Park where the lighthouse is located are open to the public during the tourist season.

Latitude: 43° 39' 07" N
Longitude: 70° 13' 26" W


Historic Stories:

Prior to the building of Spring Point Lighthouse, many ships would find themselves stranded on a dangerous ledge, named Spring Point Ledge, that runs from the shore at Fort Preble out into the main shipping channel that leads into Portland Harbor, especially during low tide. Though many managed to free themselves at high tide, when the waters rose, others perished.

On September 7th, 1832, the Nancy, a lime coaster out of Rockland hit the ledge and burst into an uncontrollable fire caused by the salt water combining with the lime. The schooner burned to its waterline as a total loss, in full view of onlookers from shore. 

Public outcry caused a huge buoy to be placed at the point, which didn't prove very effective during New England stormy weather, as accidents still occurred.

The most well known of these accidents occurred when the nearly 400 ton vessel, the Harriet S. Jackson, ran aground during a fierce gale storm on March 21, in 1876. Luckily all the crew survived, as the ship wrecked close to shore.

Spring Point Ledge Light, after many a public outcry, was finally built in 1897 on that treacherous ledge a few hundred yards off shore.

early image Spring Point Ledge light
Vintage Image
Courtesy US Coast Guard

The beacon was originally surrounded by water.

One strange incident involved the schooner Electric Flash, when, on a sunny afternoon on August 20, 1908, she ran into the lighthouse, destroying one of the station’s lifeboats. The schooner then immediately put to sea, and later provided a peapod boat to the station as reimbursement for the damages to the lifeboat.  

In 1951, a 900-foot long breakwater consisting of 50,000 tons of granite was built leading to the lighthouse.

One of Spring Point Light's keepers, Aaron Wilson, gained fame as one of New England's most accomplished carvers of wooden bird decoys.



Places to Visit Nearby:

Visit the Portland Harbor Museum, once called the Spring Point Museum, which is located inside Fort Preble, which also allows access to the lighthouse and its grounds.

The 900-foot jetty that leads to the lighthouse is a nice walk. breakwater out to Spring Point light

There isplenty of opportunity for fishing off the rocks, and Fort Preble gives families a chance to explore.

There is also a tiny beach area to relax at and watch the boating traffic coming in and out of Portland. The Lyric Music Theater in South Portland is open year round.

Portland is one of the largest seaports in New England, Maine’s largest and arguably most cultural city, offering lots of specialty restaurants and shops, artist galleries and museums to visit. Visit the historic Old Port district with lots of nineteenth century architecture to discover, boutiques and many restaurants to choose from. You can also follow various urban Portland Trails through the city. One waterfront park called the Easter Promenade provides nearly seventy acres of water views and recreation.

Portland Schooner sailing Enjoy authentic schooner sailing of early 1900s vessels, also known as windjamming, around Portland Harbor and Casco Bay area.
For those interested in private personal charter sailing in Casco Bay Sail Portland Maine offers charters for up to six people aboard the Friendship Sloop Eleanor Hawkes.

There are some interesting museums to visit as well. If you happen to look at Portland’s skyline you may see what appears as a red lighthouse on a hill.

The Portland Observatory is the only remaining historic maritime signal tower in the United States. Portland Observatory looks like a lighthouse


Driving Directions


Contact Info:
Spring Point Ledge Light Trust
P. O. Box 2311
South Portland, ME 04106

United States Coast Guard
312 Fore Street
Portland, ME



Local Boat Tours

Boat tours mentioned below offer many types of cruises. They may pass by Spring Point Lighthouse entering and leaving out of Portland Harbor, and may also pass by the lighthouse during charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, fishing tours, and other types of excursions.

Maine Duck Tours
Ride these amphibious vehicles through Portland and as they pass by Portland Breakwater and Spring Point Light.
177 Commercial Street
Portland, ME 04101
Phone: (207) 774-DUCK(3825)


Casco Bay Lines
Passes by the lighthouse on some its routes out to the islands.
56 Commercial Street
Portland, Maine 04112
(207) 774-7871


Portland Discovery
Specific lighthouse cruises like the "Lighthouse Lover's Cruise", and "Sunset Lighthouse Cruise." They also provide a trolley tour of Portland and a lighthouse cruise on Casco Bay for Portland's lighthouses.
Long Wharf
Portland ME
(Phone: (207) 774-0808


Lucky Catch Cruises
Lobster boat cruises that may pass by Spring Point Light. Can also request special excursions.
170 Commercial St.
Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: (207) 761-0941


Deep Cove Sailing
Sail aboard the Halie & Matthew, one of the largest fiberglass schooners built in Maine at 115 feet in length with beautiful woodwork in her interior. She is operated by Captain Suzanne Driscoll, and provides special 2 1/2- hour cruises along Casco Bay to view Portland Breakwater (Bug) Light, Spring Point Light, and Portland Head Light if weather conditions allow.

Berlin Mills Wharf, Portland, Maine
Phone: (207) 420-5682


The Portland Schooner Company
They provide two-hour windjammer cruises on Casco Bay in Portland with morning, afternoon, and sunset sails, and private charters. There are four sailing ships used that have been restored to their original condition from the early 1900s and 1930s. The Bagheera which won races in the 1920s, the Heart's Desire, built in 1925 and was used as a charter vessel along the Eastern seaboard, the Timberwind, which is a large 96-foot schooner that was built in 1931 and used as a pilot vessel in guiding incoming vessels outside the harbor to their berths, and the 88-foot schooner Wendameen, which was built in East Boothbay, Maine, and launched in 1912, during the golden era of sleek ocean schooners. There are also special event sails, from rum history and tasting tours, to live music happy hour sails with local artists.

Maine State Pier, Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: (207) 766-2500


Maine Sailing Adventures
For those who want an authentic sailing experience, the 74-foot Frances was built as a replica of a working coastal pilot cutter that sailed the waters of New England nearly 200 years ago, offering morning, afternoon, and sunset 2-hour sails. Special event sails include Wine Sails, Acoustic Sails, and unique Yoga Sails.

Maine State Pier, Portland, Maine
Phone: (207) 967-8809


New Book Just Published Summer 2023!

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships:
Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted
Coal Schooners of New England

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

Available in paperback, hard cover, and as an eBook for all devices.

my ebook on apple books

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships amid social and political reforms. These giants of sail were built to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies, and measured longer than a football field! Portland Harbor became a secondary port after Boston to drop off their massive cargoes. One ship sank in Portland Harbor from catching fire.

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases the historical accounts that followed each of these eleven mighty ships.

Click for larger video here.



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, and contact info to plan your special trips.

In the book you'll find famous stories of the wreck of the Annie C Maguire and the Bohemian that occurred a short distance away from the lighthouse.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions





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