A small lantern was placed at Jameson Point at the entrance to Rockland Harbor in 1827. As Rockland became a leading port for export of lime rock in the late 19th century, it became apparent that a lighthouse was necessary. The 0.8 mile-long stone jetty was built between 1881 and 1899; as the work progressed in piecemeal fashion, dependent upon allocation of funds, the small beacon was moved farther out as the breakwater extended. In 1902 a permanent lighthouse was built at the breakwater's end and a 25-foot brick tower was added atop the roof of the brick keeper's house. A fourth order Frensel lens was installed. The light was automated in 1964 and in 1973 the Coast Guard announced plans to raze the structure. This news was not well received, prompting the nearby Samoset Resort to assume partial responsibility for upkeep of the dwelling. However, in 1989 the resort relinquished its involvement. Major renovations were completed in 1990.
The lighthouse is now owned by the city of Rockland and leased to the Friends of Rockland Breakwater, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation. The Friends group is raising money to restore the lighthouse in hopes of eventually opening it as a living history museum.
Although the walk along the breakwater takes you directly to the lighthouse, best views and Photographs are from the water Ferries from Rockland pass this light as do area excursion boats and schooners.
From U.S. Route 1, turn onto Waldo Avenue ("Samoset Resort" Sign) Continue for about 0.5 mile, turning right at Samoset road. The road ends at a parking area. The breakwater, to the left of a small park area, leads about 0.8 mile to the lighthouse. The Maine State Ferries from Rockland to Vinalhaven and North Haven pass close to this light. Additionally, Rockland is home to many of Maine's windjammers. A trip aboard any of these vessels takes you by Rockland Breakwater light and other lighthouses in Penobscot Bay.