The Town of Rockland received the lighthouse as part of the Maine Lights Program in 1998. The purpose of this program was to alleviate the Coast Guard from the responsibility of maintaining these historic structures that for their purposes had become somewhat redundant with the automation of the aid to navigation. Tight government budgets necessitated that something be done and in an effort to preserve and not tear down these structures, the Maine Lights Program was initiated to deed lighthouse structures from the Coast Guard to municipalities, other government organizations or non profit groups. Unable to undertake the effort involved in restoring and maintaining the lighthouse, the town of Rockland leased the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse to The Friends of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse which was formed as a non profit to meet the challenge. For a small group of people, this might have seemed to be a daunting task. The building had been uninhabited since the last Coast Guard keeper was removed in 1965. With virtually no maintenance having been done in the intervening years, the lighthouse had suffered the assaults of coastal weather, Maine winters, roof leaks and vandalism. After some initial fund raising and grant writing, work was ready to begin.
Major accomplishments in those first five years included hiring a contractor to remediate hazardous materials from the lighthouse, upgrading electrical work, replacing the tower railing with historically accurate reproduction railing, and major cleanup in order to invite the public into work in progress. Windows have been restored, and authentic storm shutters have been designed and installed to secure the building against further vandalism.
Work continues with our Second Five Year Plan restoring the engine room windows by replacing the glass block installed by the Coast Guard to secure the building with historically accurate reproduction windows and storm shutters. Wainscoting, and trim have been matched to pieces found at the lighthouse and every effort is made to maintain historic accuracy. See our photo gallery for more
You may have noted from looking at our Five Year Plans that projects have been shuffled to meet safety and security requirements. Priorities may have changed but the list of projects hasn’t. We answer to many authorities and agencies during this effort and are limited to a short working season. A tremendous amount of work, fundraising, public exposure and progress has been accomplished through the efforts of volunteers and professionals. Within the next five years, we should complete the restoration of the structure and begin the process of outfitting the lighthouse with permanent interpretive displays.
How can you help keep the light? If you would like to grab a paintbrush and join us, please contact our Project Coordinator, Brian Trask at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How else can you help? Become a sustaining member or make a tax deductible donation to help defer the costs of restoration projects.