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Identification:

Preferred Structure Name:
Baker Island Light Station - Tower
Structure Number:
115242
Other Structure Name(s):
 
Other Structure Name(s)
1. 
Baker Island Lighthouse
Park:
Acadia National Park
Historic District:
 
Historic District
No records.
Structure State:
Maine
Structure County:
Hancock
Region:
Northeast
Cluster:
New England
Administrative Unit:
Acadia National Park
LCS ID:
973552
 
Historical Significance:

National Register Status:
Entered - Documented
National Register Date:
03/14/1988
National Historic Landmark?:
No
Significance Level:
State
Short Significance Description:
Significant under criteria A and C due to the association with Maine's critical reliance on maritime transportation and the aids that made navigation possible; and by the station's distinctive character that primarily embodies mid-nineteenth century light station design and construction.
Long Significance Description:
Standing at the summit of Baker Island, the Baker Island Light Station is a relatively intact example of an 1850s Maine lighthouse complex. It possesses integrity of design, setting, and association necessary for registration in the multiple property National Register submission, "Light Stations of Maine." The station's significance is evaluated with respect to the historic contexts Maritime Transportation in Maine: ca. 1600-1917 and Federal Lighthouse Management: 1789-1939.

The Baker Island Light Station derives significance under criteria A (association with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history) and C (embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction). Criteria A is satisfied by the association of the complex with Maine's critical reliance on maritime transportation and the aids that made navigation possible. Criteria C is met by the station's distinctive character that primarily embodies mid-nineteenth century light station design and construction.
 
Construction Period:

Construction Period:
Historic
Chronology:
 
Physical Event
Begin Year
Begin Year CE/BCE
End Year
End Year CE/BCE
Designer
Designer Occupation
1. 
Built
1855
CE


U.S. Light-House Board

2. 
Altered
1903
CE


U.S. Light-House Board

3. 
Altered
1951
CE
1958
CE
USCG

 
Function and Use:

Primary Historic Function:
Lighthouse
Primary Current Use:
Lighthouse
Structure Contains Museum Collections?:
No
Other Functions or Uses:
 
Other Function(s) or Use(s)
Historic or Current
No records.
 
Physical Description:

Structure Type:
Building
Volume:
2,000 - 20,000 cubic feet
Material(s):
 
Structural Component(s)
Material(s)
1. 
Walls
Brick
2. 
Foundation
Stone
3. 
Roof
Cast Iron
4. 
Other
Glass
Short Physical Description:
Located 70 feet above sea level, the 37-foot round brick light tower was built in 1855. Features two covered window openings on north and south face, interior spiral stair, and iron walkway with railing projecting above walls. Octagonal iron lantern atop tower capped by domed polygonal roof.
Long Physical Description:
Constructed in 1855, the Baker Island Light Tower stands thirty-seven feet tall from its base to the lens focal plane. Atop the brick cylindrical shaft is an octagonal iron lantern ringed by a circular iron walkway and railing. The brickwork consists of three concentric rings, the inner two dating to 1855 and the outer ring to 1903. The walkway has a slightly larger diameter than the top of the tower and protrudes outward slightly. The octagonal lantern has eight clear glass panes in its upper sections and surmounts the tower. It is capped by a domed polygonal roof composed of eight pie-shaped wedges, and features a spherical ventilator at its peak.

The existing light in the tower is a solar-powered MaxLumina Marine Lantern, Model ML-300, Series E, made by the Tideland Signal Corporation of Houston, Texas. The solar panel is mounted to the west side of the exterior deck. The date of the existing lighting equipment is not known, although solar technology has been used to power the light since the mid-1970s. The light is currently maintained as an active guide to navigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The lantern’s original fourth-order Fresnel lens was removed by the U.S. Coast Guard around 1957. All that remains of this early equipment today is the ventilation pipe in the ceiling of the lantern. The lens was preserved and is on display in the Fisherman’s Museum in the keeper’s dwelling at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Bristol, Maine. It had been retrofitted over the years with various lamps to accommodate different types of fuel, including sperm oil (1855-1867), lard oil (1867-circa 1885), and mineral oil (aka, kerosene, circa 1885-1954). The oil lamp was replaced by an electric light bulb in 1954, which was most likely powered by battery when the light was automated in 1957.

The entrance to the lighthouse is through an exterior ground-story doorway on the northeast side of the tower shaft. This opening was originally protected by a one-story work room that connected the tower to the house and was removed by the U.S. Coast Guard around 1958. Still extant are two square brick walls flanking the door or the tower. A heavy, cast-iron door hung on two strap hinges is an original feature dating to 1855, as is the granite sill. Today the original cast-iron door is protected by an exterior stainless-steel door installed by the U.S. Coast Guard sometime between 1958 and 1976.

There are three window openings in the brick shaft of the light tower, one in each the north, west, and south elevations, which illuminate the interior cast iron spiral stair. The exterior granite sills and lintels of these openings are mostly covered by the later exterior brickwork laid in 1903. While the window openings date to the original construction, glass blocks installed by the U.S. Coast Guard sometime between 1974 and 1976, replaced early 4-over-4 wood double-hung sashes.