discover york maine

Shedding a Light on Nubble Lighthouse – Cape Neddick

We are truly lucky to call York Beach home. The ocean, beaches, weather, activities, and the beauty that is a Maine. One of our favorite things to do at the York Beach Club is telling our guests all the great things they can do during their stay. And when we say “all the things”, we mean ALL. As proud Mainers, we love to showcase our lighthouses. No light is a stunning as our own Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse. In all seasons the lighthouse is gorgeous, but for those lucky enough to be here in the winters, it is something special.  

Shedding a Light on Nubble Lighthouse

The livelihood of York, Maine depended greatly on mariner traffic and the rocky coast of Maine was treacherous. The colonial people of York petitioned the United States Government for a lighthouse to ensure mariners of the time safe travels. In 1874 President Ruthford B. Hayes appropriated the sum of $15,000 for a lighthouse to be constructed on the tiny island of “Nub”.

The History of Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse

Originally called the Knubble Lighthouse to honor the builder’s English roots, it was completed on July 1, 1879. The lighthouse order took amazing care of the light and the surrounding buildings until 1939. At that time, it was renamed the Cape Neddick Light Station and placed in the care of the U.S. Coast Guard. Assigned Coast Guard members would live on the island with their family. Over those years, the many servicemembers and families that called Nubble home proved to be wonderful caretakers.

With budget cuts and the increase in technological advancements, Nubble Lighthouse was automated in 1987. Russ Ahlgren, the last Coast Guard caretaker and his family moved from the island of “Nub”. The inside of the Victorian caretaker’s home has been left untouched to this day and remains a peek back in time to the ’70s.


People of York Maine Become the Owners the Nubble Lighthouse

With the future of the buildings and the island grounds in question, the people of York signed a lease agreement with the United States and had Nubble Lighthouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places ensuring the Nubble Lighthouse will be protected for years to come. 

The lighthouse was of great significance to the people of York. In 1994 The Main Lights program was developed to save all Maine’s lighthouses. With this came competition on who should become the permanent guardians and owners of Nubble Lighthouse. After a lengthy process, the lighthouse was acquired through legal action of the Congress of the United States on December 18, 1997.

Nubble Lighthouse Today

Today the daily duty to maintain the buildings and grounds are handled by the Parks Department who still use a two-person rowboat to commute from Sohier Park, donated by the Sohier-Davis Family, to the Island. The United States Coast Guard continues to maintain the light and the horn.

Nubble Lighthouse stands beautiful and proud today thanks to the people of York and the countless volunteers and is now one of the most photographed lighthouses on the Coast of Maine.

During your next stay with York Beach Residence Club, stop by Sohier Park and see this historical monument for yourself. Make sure to stop by the gift shop and pick up a souvenir. Proceeds go toward the maintenance of the Lighthouse and Sohier Park. 

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(207) 363 0900

Short Sands Beach
1 Ocean Avenue
York Beach, Maine 03909


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