OWLS HEAD LIGHT

Owls Head Light is an active lighthouse at the summit of Owls Head that marks the north end of Muscle Ridge channel. The lighthouse was built in 1825 and first lighted in September 1825. The first keeper was Isaac Stearns who served for 13 years before he retired in 1838. Local contractors built the 26-foot tower and keeper’s house and Winslow Lewis, the prominent early lighthouse engineer, fit the light. The light shows a fixed white light 100 feet above the water and is visible for 16 nautical miles. The original fourth order Fresnel Lens is still in use.

Owls Head Light has been the scene of many interesting and unusual events. In December 1850, during a fierce storm, a schooner was wrecked on the shore nearby. In the morning the mate and his fiancé were found on board frozen in a block of ice. They were brought to the keepers’ house and successfully revived. The couple married the following June. Other stories tell of the keepers’ cow that fell over the cliff and had to be rescued by a team of local men; and of Spot, the keepers’ dog, who saved the Matinicus mail boat one foggy night by barking from the cliff when the fog bell couldn’t be rung.

The light station consists of the stone lighthouse, a brick oil house and the brick keeper’s house. The keeper’s house is still used as quarters by the Coast Guard. When the light used oil, (first whale oil, then lard oil and finally kerosene), the stairs to the oil house and light were covered to protect the keeper from the harsh Maine winter weather as he tended to his duties. A boathouse and barn, which were in the cove on the north side of the point, have been removed.

 

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