On the southern tip of Green Island, just southwest of Carver's Harbor on Vinalhaven, this light was built in 1854 to mark the east entrance to Hurricance Sound. The 30-foot brick tower, located on a sharply defined rock ledge, was attached to the brick Keeper's house by a passageway; a fifth-order Fresnel lens was installed. The keeper's house was rebuilt in 1895, an oil house (still standing) added in 1903 and fog bell tower in 1944. A foghorn subsequently replaced the bell; the horn is displayed at the Shore Village Museum in Rockland.
Heron Neck Light was automated in 1982 and a new plastic 300mm lens replaced the Fresnel. In April of 1989 an electrical fire severely damaged the empty keeper's house but fortunately the lighthouse tower was spared. Shortly thereafter in 1990 the Coast Guard confirmed there was no intent to rebuild the dwelling.
This decision received national publicity and in 1992 a Boston developer offered to restore the structure. Citing an engineering survey stating that restoration of the keeper's house to its original condition would be impossible, the Coast Guard then announced plans to raze the building.
Preservationists objected to that plan and a battle of conflicting opinions/intents/interpretations ensued, each group claiming to offer the best course of action. An agreement was reached whereby the Coast Guard turned over the light station to the Island Institute of Rockland. The Institute in turn leased the property to an individual who restored the damaged keeper's house; the work is ongoing.
In 1989 the owner of Green Island unofficially renamed the island "Bush Island" after then President George Bush. Outward Bound's Hurricane Island is "next door".
The lighthouse must be viewed by boat or air. Windjammer cruises from Camden, Rockport or Rockland often pass this light; specialty photo excursion tours from Camden also pass Heron Neck Light.