First lit in 1791, Portland Head Light served to protect the coast of Portland for over a hundred years.
The setting for Portland Head Light, Fort Williams Park, became particularly instrumental during World War II as a military asset by keeping watch over the shoreline and serving as the location of infantry and artillery units which provided defense for Portland Harbor.
Fort Williams and many additional military forts in the area were closed after World War II and became used instead for army accommodations. The fort was officially closed and deactivated on June 30, 1963.
Things to Do
- Learn some additional history about the lighthouse from your viewing of the lenses and exhibits found in the Museum, located in the former Keeper's Quarters.
- Stop by the lighthouse gift shop which contains mementos relating to lighthouses and the state of Maine.
- Appreciate the history found throughout Fort Williams Park as you inspect the batteries, the facade of a historic fort and the remnants of Goddard Mansion occupied by Colonel John Goddard's family during the mid to late 1800's.
- Have a picnic, take a hike or admire the many magnificent ocean views as you roam around Fort Williams Park.
Portland Head Light Insider Tips
- Fort Williams Park, is open all year from sunrise to sunset, while the lighthouse museum is open daily Memorial Day through October and weekends from mid-April through Memorial Day and November through mid-December.
- The Gift Shop is open whenever the Museum is open.
- Access to the grounds is free; entrance to the Museum is $2.00 for adults, $1.00 for children age 6-18, and free for children under 6.