Protected by a headland and Monroe and Sheep Islands, Owl’s Head has long been a safe haven for mariners with the earliest natives making their summer hunting and fishing camps here. In 1823 the local customs officer, Hezekiah Prince Jr. reported 25 vessels waiting for fair wind. Shortly thereafter Congress authorized the construction of a light on the headland. Within 2 years a 20-foot tower was completed and the 1st keeper, Isaac Stearns, was on the job with a salary of $350 per year. In 1953 the last civilian keeper, Archford V. Haskins, surrendered responsibility for the light to the U. S. Coast Guard. His daughter still resides in Owl’s Head.
Over the years Owl’s Head Light has been a favorite venue for family picnics; for young people to pledge their love; for novice photographers to hone their skills, easily giving Portland Head and West Quoddy Head a run for their money in a contest for the most photogenic Maine light
Our postcards of the Light show several changes over the years. One dated 1873 shows the keepers house, erected in 1853, as a basic cape line style dwelling without dormers or a sun porch. The siding is all of vertical board and batten rather than the horizontal clapboards in this picture. The walkway to the tower is not covered.
A postcard dated 1907 shows dormers on the west side of the keeper’s house with the walkway in a different location. Finally, a postcard dated June 1935 shows the keeper’s house with dormers on each side of the roof and open sun porch on stone pillars facing to the east and the walkway completely covered. This particular post card is captioned Owl’s Head Light, Rockland, Maine, a mistake seen much too often.
Tom and Linda Christie
Mussel Ridge Historical Society