Bug Light Park

Bug Light Park

aka Portland Breakwater Light


Portland Breakwater Light, sometimes referred to a Bug Light Park Lighthouse, stands as a living history. Its role as a marker of the end of the rocky breakwater shielding Portland Harbor began in 1855. In 1875 it was replaced, and at only 26-feet tall, it is known for its diminutive size and its elegance. It continues to be cared for and enjoyed by those visiting the park and those passing by on the waters of Casco Bay – its 250 mm optic exhibits a white flash every four seconds, welcoming visitors to South Portland and historic Portland Harbor.

Portland Breakwater Light designates the eastern terminus of the Greenbelt Walkway and is a popular destination for those taking a waterside walk or coming to Bug Light Park for a day of kite-flying, a popular activity there. It is also a busy boat launching area and liberty ship memorial; the South Portland Historical Society and Museum can be found near the entrance.

Bug Light with Sailboat


The lighthouse was first built in 1855, as a wooden structure, but the breakwater was extended and a new lighthouse was constructed at the end of it in 1875. The new lighthouse was made of curved cast-iron plates whose seams are disguised by six decorative Corinthian columns. Its design was inspired by the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, made well known by engravings. The architect was Thomas U. Walter, most noted as the designer of the U.S. Capitol east and west wings and its current dome. Wooden sheds and a six-room house for the lighthouse-keeper were added incrementally as needed. In 1897 Spring Point Ledge Light was erected and the houses around Bug Light were demolished and the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse keepers tended to both lighthouses.


The light was fully restored in 1989 and was reactivated in 2002. It appears as a private aid to navigation in the US Coast Guard Light List as South Portland Breakwater Light. Today a park named after the lighthouse, Bug Light Park, allows visitors to view the Portland Breakwater Light up close, while memorializing the ship building efforts of World War II. The light was added to the National Register of Historic Places as Portland Breakwater Light on June 19, 1973.

other lighthouses in Greater Portland

Portland Head LightSpring Point Ledge LightBug LightRam Light