Portland Head Light

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  • Portland Head Light
  • Joan Benoit Samuelson Statue Cape Elizabeth
  • Joan Boit Plaque

Portland Head Light

View from the Eastern Promenade

Portland Head Light can be seen flashing off to the right over South Portland and Cape Elizabeth. Although no woman was appointed lighthouse keeper at Portland Head, five other Maine women are documented as serving as keepers of lights in Maine, including the well-known Abby Burgess (later Grant, 1840-1892) who, as a girl, protected her family and "kept the light burning" on Matinicus Rock during a northeast storm in January, 1856. Lighthouse keepers' wives in remote locations needed to be self-sufficient in order to sustain their family's material needs and to mitigate the problems of isolation.

Portland Head Light is also the terminus of the annual summer "Beach to Beacon" 10K race, founded and chaired by Joan Benoit Samuelson, the winner in 1984 of the first women's marathon in the Olympics. A statue of her, see above, stands outside the Thomas Memorial Public Library on Scott Dyer Road in Cape Elizabeth.