As its name suggests, Portland Breakwater Light is a lighthouse. It is also commonly known as “Bug Light” – a nickname coined by locals who thought its appearance resembled some insect. Regardless of what you call it, Bug Light – or Portland Breakwater Light – is one of Maine’s most iconic landmarks and deserves more than a passing glance from visitors to the state.
Bug Light’s history
Bug Light was built as early as 1855, but only as a wooden structure. It wasn’t until 1875 that the lighthouse was rebuilt to perform its function reliably. The architect of the new lighthouse structure was Thomas U. Walter, who gained fame for, among other things, designing the east and west wings of the U.S. Capitol.
The fate of Breakwater Light began to change during World War II. At that time, not far from the lighthouse, the “New England Shipbuilding Corporation” built two shipyards to produce warships. The smaller breakwater became impractical. So, Bug Light was closed. The lighthouse did not function until 2002. After many years of restoration, that’s when it began serving again for the private Coast Guard.
Portland Breakwater Light today
Bug Light was registered in 1973 on the “National Register of Historic Places” list as one of the most historically important lighthouses in the United States. To this day, the lighthouse attracts tourists who visit the adjacent park of the same name, “Bug Light,” nearby restaurants and the “Ships of Liberty” monument with its museum. One of the more popular activities at Bug Light Park is kite flying. Unfortunately, Nico got there early in the morning (shortly after sunrise) and didn’t capture any of the kites in the photo – no one would probably be crazy enough to fly them at such an early hour 😉