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NUBBLE FACTS

  • Official name Cape Neddick Light Station
  • Located on Cape Neddick Peninsula
  • In 1602, explorer Bartholomew Gosnold met with local Indians on the island and dubbed it “Savage Rock”
  • Built on an island – a nub of rock – hence Nubble
  • Congress appropriated $15,000 for the building of a lighthouse on the Nubble in 1874
  • 1877 Construction Began
  • Finished 1879, first lit July 1, 1879
  • 1910 covered walkways added
  • Bell tower built 1911 – taken down in 1961
  • Two outbuildings and a boat house on island
  • Red Fuel house built 1909
  • White workshop & storage house 1910
  • First boat house built 1888 – three destroyed by storms, present boat house 1978
  • The first birth of a child at the Nubble occurred on August 23, 1923
  • Travel over by pea pods – a two ended boat until 1945
  • Today travel is by row boat
  • Tower 41 feet high, 88 feet above high water mark, 13 feet in diameter – brick construction, 18 inches thick, covered by wrap around iron sheathing, cement was poured between brick and iron sheathing
  • Circular stairway, 33 steel steps in tower to first landing
  • First landing with portholes used for storage or sleeping quarters during storms
  • Eight iron ladder steps lead to lens room
  • Light enclosed in eight layers of glass prisms in brass frame
  • Fourth order Fresnel lens – Lens and light enclosed in red plexiglass – The present lens was manufactured in 1891 by F. Barbier in Paris – Powered by 1,000 watt bulb with backup
  • Signal is three seconds on, three seconds off
  • 13 nautical mile range in clear weather
  • Fog horn automated – runs by atmosphere
  • Sounds one blast every ten seconds
  • Living quarters in seven room house – three bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, laundry room or pantry
  • Bathroom was a saltwater flush
  • Water supply is rain (collected during storms)
  • 4,000 gallon storage tanks in cellar
  • House formerly heated by coal, then oil – a 2,000 gallon diesel fuel tank (now removed) fed a 275 gallon oil tank in cellar
  • Nathaniel Otterson – first official keeper 1879
  • Russell Ahlgren – last keeper 1987
  • World War I and World War II – island occupied with military personnel
  • Light shut off temporarily during World War II – A contingent of Coast Guardsmen kept a 24-hour eye out for German U-boats
  • Sohier Park, incidentally, is named for William Davis Sohier, a lawyer from Boston who gave the land to the town of York in 1929
  • Around 1967, Coast Guard keeper David Winchester put his two children in the bucket each morning to send them on their way to school
  • 1987 electronic technology replaced keepers and Nubble Light was the last lighthouse in North America to be automated
  • 1987 Town of York leased the property from the U.S. Coast Guard
  • 1998 Town of York took title to Nubble Light
  • York, ME Parks and Recreation Department maintains the property
  • Nubble Light is one of the most photographed and visited lighthouses in America
  • No one is allowed on the island without special permission
  • Nubble Light is the symbol and trademark of the greater Yorks
  • The Nubble Light has probably appeared on more postcards, calendars, and other souvenirs than any other New England lighthouse. In 1977, when NASA sent Voyager II into space to photograph the outer solar system, it was also loaded with artifacts. One of the images it carried was a picture of the Nubble Light.
  • Nubble Light and Sohier Park donations (upkeep and restoration of Lighthouse, Park and New Gift Shop) – Checks Payable to: Town of York Sohier Park Fundraising 186 York Street York, ME 03909