Boon Island was named by the fishermen who, for many years left a barrel of food and clothing on the island every fall as a "boon" to any sailor who found himself shipwrecked on the lonely island. But the barrels rarely survived the first winter storm as the high point of the low rcky islet is only 14 feet above high water. Boon Island lies 6-1/2 miles off the southern coast of Maine and about eight miles from York, the nearest port. The island measures 200 feet by 700 feet and is devoid of any vegetation.
Established in 1808, the West Quoddy Light Station was the first and only station in the nation’s Light List (LL No. 1) until the St. Croix River station was completed in 1858. It is the easternmost light station in the country, one of only two red and white banded US towers, and among the first to be equipped with a bell fog signal and, later, a steam whistle.
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.
In November 1831, a fierce northeaster wreaked havoc on Portland’s exposed harbor. The storm, coupled with a high tide, caused widespread damage in the harbor. Vessels’ mooring lines were parted, piers were destroyed and several buildings were carried away. The Portland Breakwater Light Station assisted mariners to navigate the shoal-laced approach to the harbor at Portland, Maine.
Cape Elizabeth is a critical geological point on the Maine coast. South of the Cape the coast has long sandy beaches amongst rocky spits and headlands. To the north of the Cape the coast line is almost devoid of sandy beaches and becomes laced with rocky cliffs and islands. Early Spanish explorers called the area cabo de muchas isles or “cape of many islands.”