{Photograph} of the week: Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, Casco Bay, Maine, USA



“The rocky ledge runs far into the ocean,
And on its outer level, some miles away,
The Lighthouse lifts its huge masonry,
A pillar of fireside by evening, of cloud by day…”

In 1849, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow started his poem “The Lighthouse” with this stanza in what was extensively believed to be an ode to Portland Head Gentle, a historic lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Longfellow was, in any case, a frequent customer at Portland Head, whiling away lengthy hours speaking and ingesting with Joshua Strout, keeper on the time.

“Steadfast, serene, immovable, the identical,
Yr after yr, by way of all of the silent evening
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable gentle!”

Essentially the most visited, painted, and photographed lighthouse in New England, Portland Head has impressed greater than its justifiable share of inventive excellence with its “quenchless flame” and “inextinguishable gentle”, as Longfellow so eloquently put it. Edward Hopper painted the lighthouse in 1927; that watercolour may be considered at this time at Boston’s Museum of Superb Arts. Extra lately, a snow-bedecked Portland Head was featured within the 1999 film Snow Falling on Cedars (filmed, by the way, throughout the North American Ice Storm of 1998), and the lighthouse additionally featured within the fifth season of Marvel’s Brokers of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Extra importantly, although, Portland Head continues to soundly information ships into harbour, because it at all times has carried out. The sunshine station sits on a treacherously rocky head of land on the entrance of the first transport channel into Portland Harbor, which is inside Casco Bay within the Gulf of Maine. Accomplished in 1791, and lit for the very first time on January 10, 1791, Portland Head burned vibrant till June 1942 when it was extinguished by way of June 1945 to keep away from aiding German submarines throughout World Warfare II. Aside from that, this oldest gentle within the state of Maine, and the primary lighthouse accomplished by the US authorities, has at all times been operational and stays so to at the present time.

Initially commissioned by George Washington in 1787, the station was constructed with cost-cutting economies in thoughts. Reminding masons Jonathan Bryant and John Nichols to be frugal, Washington instructed the sunshine builders to make use of supplies that may very well be taken from the “fields and shores”, and that would “be dealt with properly when hauled by oxen on a drag”. Regardless of, or maybe due to, these measures, Portland Head has modified little or no aside from the rebuilding of the whistle home in 1975 after being badly broken in a storm.

Talking of storms, Portland Head has been overwhelmed by greater than its justifiable share. Thayer Sterling, the final keeper at Portland Head earlier than US Coast Guard personnel took over in 1946, as soon as informed a narrative of his spouse Martha’s fortunate escape from a very rogue tempest. The story goes that of a night you’d discover Martha knitting in a chair subsequent to a window. However one blustery evening the Sterling’s canine, Chang, spent the whole night growling at her toes. Ultimately, irritated, Martha left her customary spot and went to knit elsewhere. No sooner had she moved, with a finally-quiet Chang following her, than a large wave crashed into the keeper’s home, spraying freezing water, and shards of glass from the now-broken window, over her common chair.

Immediately, Portland Head Gentle continues to serve and defend, standing 80 toes (24 m) above floor and 101 toes (31 m) above water. Its airport model aerobeacon is seen for 24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi), and the 400 watt metallic halide lamp is rated for 20,000 hours and produces 36,000 lumens of sunshine at 200,000 candlepower. The sunshine station is automated, with the tower, beacon, and foghorn maintained by the US Coast Guard as a seamless support to marine navigation. The previous lighthouse keepers’ home is owned by the city of Cape Elizabeth and is now a maritime museum inside Fort Williams Park. Discovered at 1000 Shore Highway, Cape Elizabeth, admission to the park is free, and it’s open yr spherical from dawn to sundown.

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