Portland Breakwater Lighthouse "Bug Light"

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The Club has been taking care of the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse in South Portland since 1989 as an on-going service project.

A Brief History of the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse
at Bug Light Park in South Portland, ME
 
A fierce storm ravaged Portland Harbor in November 1831, destroying wharves and buildings. In response, a 2,500-foot protective breakwater was planned for the south side of the harbor's entrance, beginning at Stanford Point and extending out over Stanford Ledge. A lighthouse was included in the plans for the structure.

Construction on the breakwater began in 1837, and the foundation was completed by later that year. The breakwater eventually reached 1,800 feet and was uncapped for much of its length. Vessels had to pass through a narrow channel between the breakwater's end and an obstruction known as Hog Island Ledge. With no lighthouse at its end, the breakwater became more of a navigational hindrance than a help.

In September 1853, Lieut. Thornton A. Jenkins, secretary of the Lighthouse Board, recommended a sixth-order light at the end of the breakwater. "It is absolutely necessary to make a safe entrance into the harbor," he wrote, "and to guard against striking the breakwater itself, which is nearly under water at high tide, and therefore on dark nights difficult to be seen so as to be avoided."

The Lighthouse Board asked Congress in 1853 for an appropriation of $3,500 for a lighthouse and keeper's house, or for $1,000 if it was deemed that no keeper's house was needed. An appropriation of $3,500 was made on August 3, 1854.

Through the 1990s, the tower's condition deteriorated and the ventilator ball was stolen from the top of the lantern. The South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club and the Spring Point Ledge Light Trust completed a new restoration culminating in a relighting ceremony on August 14, 2002.

A replacement ventilator ball was installed, donated by the U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team South Portland. The tower was painted inside and out, and a 250 mm optic was added. South Portland Mayor William Dale declared at the relighting ceremony, "This harbor is alive and well, and this lighthouse is representative of it."
Jack Roberts, president of the South Portland-Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club and chairman of the town council of neighboring Cape Elizabeth, added:

Bug Light has a new lease on life. It will shine as the crown jewel of Bug Light Park. . .
 
For further information about the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, please click on the links provided.

 Bug light park also has a World War II Memorial and a museum.

 
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