A lighthouse on the small, rocky island (the nubble) off the eastern point of Cape Neddick, had been recommended by local mariners since 1807, but it wasn't until 70 years later that the lighthouse was established. The 41-foot cast-iron tower was authorized by President Rutherford B. Hayes and first illuminated in July 1879. Although initially painted chocolate brown, the tower has been white since 1902. The distinctive red oil house was built in 1902 and the walkway connecting the keeper's house and tower added in 1911. The station originally had a fog bell and bell tower; this structure was razed in 1961. An 1891 fourth-order lens, although not the original, still is in use. A bucket suspended on a line across the channel was used to transport supplies to the station; the conveyance is similarly used today for maintenance equipment.
Unique to this light tower are the miniature cast-iron lighthouses atop the posts on the railing surrounding the lantern room. Also distinguishing Cape Neddick Light was a past feline resident who, at 19 pounds, reportedly attracted as many interested tourists as did the lighthouse itself. The cat allegedly was the best mouser in Maine, regularly swimming the channel to visit briefly with mainland friends, then returning to the lighthouse to deal with the mice.
Cape Neddick Light was automated in 1987. In 1989 a second story window was replaced with two smaller windows to restore the original appearance of the house
The lighthouse and grounds are among the most appealing and photographed in the world, with an estimated 250,00 visitors annually. In 1977 NASA sent Voyager II into space with items aboard designed to teach extraterrestrial civilizations about our planet; a picture of the Nubble Light was among the images included.
The lighthouse is now owned by the town of York and managed by The Friends of Nubble Light.
From I-95 or U.S. Route 1 in York, take U.S. 1A to York Beach, continuing to Nubble Road (marked with a small "Nubble Light" sign). Follow this road to Sohier Park and the parking area.