Portland Head Lighthouse
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Maine is home to many of the nation’s oldest lighthouses. One of the most picturesque is Cape Elizabeth’s magnificent 200-year-old Portland Head. The rich and colorful history of this 72-foot tower makes it one of the country’s most photographed lighthouses.
At the urging of George Washington, the federal government took over the construction and operation of lighthouses and the first Congress of the newborn country appropriated $1500 to complete the building of Portland Head Light. With this authorization, Portland Head Light was the second lighthouse to be commissioned by the new government and first shone its light on January 10, 1791.
Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow would sit on the rocks on the south side of the beacon and write, exploiting the point’s serenity. Today the isolated spot where Longfellow penned his famous lighthouse poem is one of Maine’s most popular tourist attractions.