Tenants Harbor Light
Tenants Harbor Light
Tenants Harbor, ME
Year Light First Lit:
Tower Height: 27 feet
Fourth Order Fresnel
Viewed by boat/boat tour
Open to public:
No, closed to public
Tenants Harbor Light - marks the mouth of Tenants Harbor in St. George
Tenants Harbor Light (+43° 57' 39.96", -69° 11' 5.39") is located on the 22-acre Southern Island and is sometimes called Southern Island Light. It marks the mouth of Tenants Harbor in St. George.
The 27-foot tall cylindrical brick tower was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1857, along with a covered workroom which attached the tower to a wood-frame dwelling. The lighthouse featured a fourth-order Fresnel lens that exhibited a red flashing light with a range of 13 nautical miles. The characteristic was later changed to a fixed red light varied by a brighter flash every 60 seconds. The tower was originally painted white with a red lantern. A boathouse was added in 1880, followed by a storage building in 1895, and an oil house in 1906.
In the early years, the station was equipped with a hand-operated fog bell, but that was later replaced by a wooden, pyramidal bell tower with automatic striking machinery.
In 1934, Tenants Harbor Light was discontinued and sold at auction. A Rockland resident bought the lighthouse. It then passed through several hands, until 1978, when it was purchased by renowned artist Andrew Wyeth. Wyeth designed a studio inside the base of a replica bell tower. The lighthouse appears in several of Andrew Wyeth's paintings, including: Easterly, Signal Flags, and Fog Bell.
Andrew's son, another prominent artist, Jamie Wyeth, has lived on the island since 1990. Several of Jamie Wyeth's works feature the lighthouse, including: Lighthouse Dandelions, Iris at Sea (which was created to benefit the Island Institute of Rockland), Gaggle, Southern Island Sunset, and Pumpkinhead Visits the Lighthouse. Jamie once told National Geographic: It's like living in an Andrew Wyeth painting.
Tenants Harbor Light is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tenants Harbor is one of only 8 privately held lighthouses in Maine. It is not open to the public and is best viewed from the water or air.