Scenic USA - New Hampshire

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

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Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse - New Castle, New Hampshire

Photo by Brad Troy
Brad Troy Photography

   For those of us who are geographically challenged, it may come as a surprise to hear New Hampshire has a coastline. Albeit a short one, its Atlantic seacoast spans an 18 mile section from Massachusetts to Maine. And naturally, the state’s major harbor needed a lighthouse. Although it took a lot of convincing, Portsmouth Harbor had its first beacon in 1771. The 50 foot wooden tower was built at Fort William and Mary. The old lighthouse served the new country well after the Revolutionary War until a replacement was erected on Pollack Rock in 1805.
   New Hampshire’s final lighthouse, raised on the same foundation as the 1805 lighthouse, was assembled inside the old structure. The new lighthouse tower was one of the first utilizing cast-iron segments, lined inside with brick. Today, it’s common to see these historic towers of iron throughout New England. Although stripped of its lead paint and repainted, the coastal salt-air still presents problems with rust and corrosion. Part of the Fort Constitution Historic Site, the Portsmouth Harbor Light continues service as navigation aid. During the past, Lighthouse tours were only available during an open house sessions conducted by Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse. Now a strong emphasis is place on fund raising, hoping to raise enough money for repainting. With that goal in mind, the lighthouse is now open for tours every Sunday afternoon.

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