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Nubble Lighthouse | Facts and Trivia

Nubble Lighthouse | Facts and Trivia
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Nubble Lighthouse

Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine

DON’T MISS: Photos of New England’s Most Famous Lighthouses.


The Cape Neddick Light Station, a.k.a. Nubble Light, sits on a rocky little ‘nub’ of an island (hence the name) 100 yards off the coast of York Beach, Maine. It’s best viewed from York’s Sohier Park, which draws an estimated 500,000 visitors annually.

The area saw many shipwrecks before Nubble Light was constructed. The wreck of the Isidore in 1842 is the most famous; her crew all perished. Since then, legend has it that a phantom ship continues to haunt the seas around Cape Neddick.

In 1874, the federal government appropriated $15,000 for the Nubble lighthouse project. The island was purchased in 1879 for $1,500. An additional $10,619.45 was spent on constructing the actual lighthouse that same year.

The Nubble was home to more than 30 lighthouse keepers between 1879 and 1987. In 1987, it became the last lighthouse in North America to be automated and bade farewell to its final keeper, Coast Guardsman Russell Ahlgren, and his family.

The keeper’s annual salary was approximately $500 per year in 1879 (worth about $12,000 today) and held steady at that rate well into the 20th century.

The lantern room contains nearly all of the original brass fittings. Among the few changes is a red plastic encasement on the light itself, which replaced the original glass.

Debbie Despres


Debbie Despres


Debbie Despres is an associate editor for the magazine. Deb is the primary fact checker for Yankee Magazine and also contributes content to each issue. A member of YPI’s corporate staff since 2000, Deb joined Yankee’s editorial team in 2011. A native of New Hampshire, with a work history that includes several years in the travel industry, she enjoys discovering new destinations, and the myriad of road trip opportunities unique to New England.

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