433 Harbor Rd, Swan’s Island
The Burnt Coat Harbor Light, also known as Swan’s Island Lighthouse and Hockamock Head Light was first lit in 1872. The timing coincided with the growth of the mackerel fishery with Island fishermen leading the way as captains and crew on dozens of schooners. For over 100 years, lighthouse keepers maintained a Fresnel lens visible out to 12 miles. It shined the way for hundreds of Swans Island fishing vessels, from schooners to seiners to lobsterboats steaming to and from the fishing grounds. The lighthouse was originally composed of two towers that were used to create a range; lining up the towers on approach from the sea helped captains avoid shoal waters. It never quite worked as hoped so the smaller tower was discontinued.
There are four buildings located at the lighthouse site today: the light tower, keepers house, bell house and fuel house. The keepers house and the lighthouse are open in the summer for visitors (guided tours available) and the adjoining town park has 1.8 miles of scenic trails with a handicap accessible viewing site. The trails give access to two beaches.
207-526-4025 (seasonal) | www.burntcoatharborlight.com
Seasonal T – Sat. 11-3 (check website). Donations. Limited Parking. Restrooms (handicap accessible). Light keepers house has an apartment for summer rentals.
Sources & Links
Swan’s Island Lobster and Marine Museum Also a site on the Downeast Fisheries Trail
A great short history of the lighthouse and island fisheries: Burnt Coat Harbor Light Station, Swan’s Island, Maine, by John M. Bryan with Oral Histories and Archival Photography by Donna A. Wiegle
Swan’s Island: Six Miles East of Ordinary, Maine Memory Network online exhibit
Swan’s Island Ferry, Maine State Ferry Service