A 2,500-foot breakwater and lighthouse on the south side of the entrance to Portland Harbor were planned after a storm in November 1831 severely damaged the area. Although construction began in 1836, lack of funds caused delay but in 1855 a small octagonal wooden tower with a sixth-order Fresnel lens was in operation.
In the early 1870s the breakwater was extended approximately 200 feet and a new lighthouse built at the end. Known locally as "Bug Light," the new lighthouse included Greek architectural elements. The design of the cast-iron tower is unique: petite, with Corinthian columns created to resemble a 4th century (B.C.) Greek monument. A wooden keeper's house was built adjacent to the lighthouse in 1889.
In 1934 the light was electrified, the keeper's house removed and the light tended by the keeper at Spring Point Ledge Light. As shipyards expanded into the harbor to accommodate World War II shipbuilding, the breakwater progressively shortened until the lighthouse stood only 100 feet from shore, making it obsolete. The light was extinguished in 1942, declared surplus property soon after, and sold to private ownership. The property was later donated to the city of Portland. In 1989, after long standing unattended, repair and restorations were accomplished with money from federal, state and local organizations.
Take Route 77 from South Portland to Broadway. Turn east on Broadway and continue to Pickett Street. Turn left onto Pickett Street; follow that road around the warehouses then bear left to the parking area for the South Portland Public Landing. Entrance is free to view the light. To the right is a walkway to the light. Tour boats from Portland also offer good views.