Portland Head Lighthouse

The name "Portland Head" predates by more than a century the name of the port city "Portland" which was known as "Falmouth Neck" prior to 1786. The headland, located in the agricutural, fishing and shipbuilding town of Cape Elizabeth, served as a natural lookout position. By the 1790's Portland had become America's sixth largest port, with its merchants gaining a large slice of the Atlantic carrying trade. Still, at the outset of this commercial boom, there were no lighthouses in all of Maine. Local petitions for a light at the entrance to the harbor began as early as 1784 with leading merchants call on the Massachusetts legislature to act.