Grindle Point Light
Grindle Point Light
Year Light First Lit:
Yes, active aid to navigation
Tower Height: 39 feet
Accessible by boat & car ferry. Also viewed by boat tour
Open to public:
Yes, open to public
Grindle Point Light - located in Islesboro, adjacent to the ferry landing in Gilkey Harbor
Grindle Point Light (+44° 16' 56.00", -68° 56' 34.00") is located in Gilkey Harbor on the western side of Islesboro Island. Islesboro, which was once known as Long Island, is a 14-mile long, narrow island in upper Penobscot Bay. Penobscot Native Americans called the island "Pitaubegwimenahanuk", which means, “the island that lies between two channels.”
The island can be reached via a ferry that runs out of Lincolnville Beach, which is located on Route 1, six miles north of Camden. The lighthouse station is adjacent to the ferry landing. The keeper’s dwelling is now home to the Sailors’ Memorial Museum, which houses a small but impressive collection of maritime and lighthouse related items. The Museum is open in the summer. There is a public beach on the island and plenty of areas to walk, bike, drive, hike, or jog. There’s also a chance of running into a celebrity – John Travolta and Kirstie Alley both spend parts of their summers on the island.
Grindle Point Light is an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation with a characteristic of flashing green every 4 seconds. The light is visible for 4 nautical miles. There is no fog signal.
In 1851, a light station was established at Grindle Point to aid mariners navigating into Gilkey Harbor. The original lighthouse was a one-and-a-half story brick dwelling with a lantern on its roof. It cost $3100 to build. The government purchased the land on which it was erected for $105 from Francis Grindle.
The lighthouse that stands today was built in 1874. It is a square 39-foot brick tower attached by a covered walkway to a one-and-a-half story keeper’s dwelling. This tower was originally fitted with a fifth-order Fresnel lens. A boathouse was added in 1886 and an oil house, which still remains, was added in 1906.
In 1934, Grindle Point Light was deactivated and replaced by a skeleton tower light, but in 1987, the citizens of Islesboro managed to convince the Coast Guard to relight the old landmark. A solar-powered optic was installed and the skeleton tower was removed.
If one doesn’t have time to travel to the island, distant views are available from the mainland at Lincolnville Beach. Of course, the best views are available from the water.
Grindle Point Light is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We would like to thank Robert English for granting us permission to use his images of Grindle Point Light. You can view more images of Grindle Point Light and Maine Lighthouses by visitng Robert's Flickr page.