Scenic USA - Maine

Ram Island Lighthouse

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Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse

Photo by Lou Kellenberger
Lou Kellenberger Photography

     Ram Island, located near the entrance of Maine's Portland Harbor, has always been a dangerous obstacle for maritime traffic. The island and its rock ledges become submerged with every approaching high tide, magnifying the problem. Just as it takes years of traffic accidents at a dangerous intersection to institute a DOT study, it had taken years for the federal government to place a navigational aid on Ram Island.
     The submerged island also presented some challenges during lighthouse construction. The huge granite blocks were placed at low tide and required a year long effort to complete assembly of the tower. Finally the tower was ready for the 26,000 pound lantern-room in 1905. The lightkeepers, confined to living in the tower, lead a Spartan life and their only contact with the outside world was by radio. Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse The lighthouse, without any significant changes for nearly 100 years, was finally automated in 1958 and converted to solar power in 2001.
     Still an active navigational aid today, the lighthouse is not open to the public and is dangerous to go ashore on the slick rock ledges. Some of the best vantage points of the lighthouse from land are found at Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth or on the eastern shores of Peaks Island. Boat tours are one of the best ways to take in all the lighthouses in the Portland area and along the Southern Maine coastline.

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