Also known as the Fort Constitition Lighthouse;
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The Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse Station was established in 1771. The light was located at the British Colonial Fort William and Mary (renamed Fort Constitution following the American Revolution). This colonial tower was made of wood as was its replacement, built in 1804. The third and current tower was built in 1877 from cast iron plate lined with brick. The 1872 keeper's house is still in use as Coast Guard housing and the 1903 oil house was recently restored. The light was automated in 1960. The 1896 Fog bell that served until replaced by a fog horn in 1972 is now on display in front of the Coast Guard Station office.
Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse continues to be an active aid to navigation operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. The 48 foot tall white tower with a black lantern displays a fixed green light from its classic fourth order Fresnel Lens. This light is visible for 12 to 13 nautical miles and continues to guide mariners on the Pisataqua River and the Portsmouth Harbor. The Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation has stewardship of the light and is dedicated to its restoration and preservation.
July 2004 Issue, A Piece Of History Brought Back To Life In New Hampshire by Jeremy D'Entremont. In 1903, the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse received its own brick oil house to store the kerosene used to illuminate the light. After electrification of the light, the oil house was abandonded to the elements. The oil house was historicaly restored through the efforts of the Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation that also maintains the lighthouse and the wooden walkway. This $5,600 restoration was funded by yet another preservation group, the New England Lighthouse Lovers (also a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation). Please go to the Lighthouse Digest Magazine Archives for the full article. Lighthouse Digest magazine not only keeps the history of our lighthouses alive both in print and on line, but it is the best single source to keep current on all aspects of lighthouse preservation, news and events
The Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse is located on the grounds of Fort Constitution State Historic Site and the Portsmouth Harbor US Coast Guard Station. The grounds immediately around the lighthouse are closed to the public except during open houses. Since both the Fort and the Lighthouse are on an active Coast Guard Base, visitors are restricted to certain areas, specific parking and a blue painted path to be taken while crossing the base.
Directions: From US Route I95 take exit 7 and turn south - east on Market St. Continue into downtown Portsmouth and straight onto State Route 1B. Route 1B starts where Market St crosses Rt 1 (Congress St on your right and Daniel St on your left. Remain on Route 1B as it follows Pleasant St, Marcy St, New Castle Av, Portsmouth Av, Cranfield St and then Main St in New Castle. After passing the New Castle Post Office and the Fire House, follow the signs on your left for the US Coast Guard Station and Fort Constitution State Historic Site. Park in the designated spaces OUTSIDE the gate to the Coast Guard Station. Visitors must walk into the station and follow the BLUE LINE to Fort Constitution. The lighthouse can be viewed on the south side from the fort.
Please visit the Friends Of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses web site for information on visiting the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse
For more photographs and history of the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, you can visit the:
For other area attractions and info, you can visit the:Visit The Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce For other attractions and information when visiting the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse.