Nubble Lighthouse | Facts and Trivia
The island is subject to high winds and storm damage. During the Patriots’ Day storm of 2007, the keeper’s home, boathouse, and boat ramp sustained damage. FEMA assisted with the approximately $320,000 worth of repairs.Nubble Lighthouse has been under the guardianship of the town of York since 1998. The U.S. Coast Guard remains responsible for the navigational aids, maintaining both the light and the horn. (Lighthouse and grounds aren’t open to the public.)
Nubble Lighthouse keeper Eugene Coleman likely offered up a few celebratory fist pumps in 1938, the year when both electricity and indoor plumbing were introduced to the Nubble. It’s said that he inherited the previous keeper’s large tabby cat–nearly 20 pounds’ worth of feline companionship. Known as Mr. T, the cat became a tourist attraction himself and was often spotted swimming to and from the mainland.
Twice a year–for “Christmas in July” (July 28 this year) and to kick off the holiday season (November 30)–the Nubble’s white lights are illuminated ceremoniously. More than 1,230 feet of rope lighting edge the lighthouse and outbuildings, costing the town about $3,000 per year.
When Voyager 2 blasted off aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket, left, in 1977, it carried a cache of images depicting life on Earth–including a photo of the most iconic American lighthouse, the Nubble–on the chance that it might be discovered by curious extraterrestrials.
The light from the Nubble Lighthouse’s Fresnel lens is visible for 13 nautical miles in clear weather.
Off to School, a painting by Madeline Downing, depicts the 1967 keeper’s practice of sending his son to the mainland in a basket suspended over the ocean by a pulley system. A photo of the activity also appeared in the Boston Globe. Both depictions drew the attention of the Coast Guard, which put the kibosh on the unique commute: The basket was built for shuttling supplies, not people.