Established in 1817 and rebuilt of granite in 1855, this is the second tallest lighthouse in Maine, standing 123 feet above mean high water (the tower is 119 feet high). The light is located on the east point of Petit Manan Island, 2.5 miles off Petit Manan Point in South Milbridge. The station also has a fog signal to warn of a nearby reef as the location is one of the foggiest along the East Coast, engulfed in fog about 20 percent of the year. The island was named by explorer Samuel de Champlain because it reminded him of Grand Manan to the northeast. The "Manan" comes from the Micmac Indian word for "island out to sea".
The process of rebuilding the light in 1855 was twofold. The granite was first cut and assembled at a quarry in Trenton. Numbered stones were dismantled and brought to the island by boat for reassembly. Constantly buffeted by storms, the tower was strengthened by addition of iron tie rods in 1887. The lantern room at one time held a second-order Fresnel lens.
After automation of the light, the island was turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a wildlife refuge. The island now supports common, arctic and roseate tern colonies, a breeding colony of Atlantic puffins and common eiders. Fish and Wildlife staff use the tower as an observation post and live in the keeper's house.
Puffin watches from Bar Harbor go to Petit Manan and spend time offshore watching the birds. The lighthouse can also be seen in the distance from Petit Manan Point in Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge.
On U.S. Route 1, between Steuben and Milbridge, turn south onto Pigeon Hill Rd (marked). The turn is approximately three miles west of the intersection of US 1 and US 1A in Milbridge and three miles east of the Unionville & Steuben Road intrersection. Continue on Pigeon Hill Road to the Chitman Point area (approximately 5.5-6.0 miles) to the fisherman's coop. Petit Manan can be seen in the distance. Continuing further south about 0.5 mile brings you to the Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge. There is a parking lot straight ahead; just south of the parking lot is the beginning of a five-mile Shore Trail. The First two miles of the trail lead to the eastern side of Petit Manan Point peninsula and good, distant views of the light.