Isle au Haut Light
Isle au Haut Light
Isle au Haut, ME
Year Light First Lit:
Yes, active aid to navigation
Tower Height: 40 feet
250 MM, Solar Powered
Viewed by boat/boat charter; accessible by boat
Open to public:
Yes, open to public
Isle au Haut Light - the last traditional lighthouse built in the state of Maine
Isle Au Haut (pronounced Ilaho, to rhyme with Idaho) is the English translation for High Island, the name given by Samuel Champlain in 1604, when he was exploring the Maine coast.
Isle Au Haut Light (+44° 3' 54.00", -68° 39' 6.00") is located at Robinson Point, at the southern end of the passage between Isle au Haut and Kimball Island. It is sometimes called Robinson Point Light. It was the last traditional lighthouse built in the state of Maine. The lighthouse is 40 feet tall. A white granite and brick cylindrical upper section sits on a conical granite block foundation. The tower is reached via a wooden catwalk. The 2 ½-story dwelling, oil house and storage shed sit slightly inland from the lighthouse. The light is an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation with a characteristic of a flashing red every 4 seconds with a white sector. The red light is visible for 6 nautical miles and the white is visible for 8. There is no fog signal.
Most lighthouse lovers are familiar with Linda Greenlaw, one of the only female swordfishing boat captains on the east coast, and the best-selling author of several maritime-themed books, including The Hungry Ocean. It was Greenlaw’s great-grandfather, Charles Robinson, who sold the land, on which the lighthouse now sits, to the government. Greenlaw spent summers at the keeper’s dwelling and wrote about it in her book The Lobster Chronicles. Greenlaw still lives on Isle au Haut today.
The lighthouse and accompany buildings were built in 1907 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the light was first lit on Christmas Eve of that year.
The lighthouse was automated in 1934 and Charles Robinson bought the property back, with the exception of the lighthouse. In 1986, Jeff and Judi Burke purchased the property, except for the lighthouse, and converted the keeper’s house into a bed and breakfast inn, aptly named, “The Keeper’s House,” which became a mecca of sorts for lighthouse lovers everywhere. Even the old oil house served as a guest room.
The light is now solar powered. A 250 mm has replaced the original fourth-order Fresnel lens, which is now on display at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland. Under the Maine Lights Program, the lighthouse was turned over to the Town of Isle au Haut in 1998. The lighthouse was completely restored in 1999.
The lighthouse can be visited by taking the mailboat/ferry from Stonington to Isle au Haut and then walking a short distance (less than a mile) to the lighthouse.
Isle Au Haut Light is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We would like to thank Lynne A. Kennedy for granting us permission to use her images of Isle au Haut Light. You can view more images of Isle au Haut and Maine by visitng Lynne's Flickr page.