Beacon of Light: Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse

Beacon of Light: Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse

Beacon of Light: Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse

The Portland Head Light shines across the darkening landscape, like a beacon of light guiding travelers to find the right path. Clouds are forming in the distance, signaling the arrival of a storm. Along with them come strong winds, bringing with it rain. A traveler standing at this location near the lighthouse only has to walk a short distance to reach it, so no time has to be wasted to get cover. Fort Williams Park is about to be drenched in darkness and rain.

Ever since it was first lit in 1791, Portland Head Light has always served one purpose: to protect the people living and traveling in Portland and its surrounding areas, including Cape Elizabeth. Whether it be to shine the way for wary travelers, or to warn passing ships of the sharp rocks that they were about to pass through, the light coming from Portland Head has done nothing but help everyone around it.

Like any man-made structure, Portland Head is vulnerable to the ravages of time. The rusting of its metal bars and hinges, and the cracks forming in its concrete floor and walls all threaten to bring down this magnificent structure. The same goes with the Keeper’s Quarters beside it, which was built in 1790 to house its caretaker and his family. The fact that the Northeastern United States is also prone to storms coming from the Atlantic acts as a further threat.

But in spite of this, Portland Head has become not just a beacon of light, but also a sturdy reminder of the resilience of its people. It has stood for more than 230 years, bearing witness to the numerous events that have happened in Fort Williams Park and the towns around it.

As the traveler approaches the towering lighthouse to take cover from the coming rain, he sees history etched in the walls of Portland Head and its Keeper’s Quarters. A crack that used to be there is now covered to prevent the crack from getting wider, a floor that used to be dirt is now lined with stones. And as the traveler climbs up the steps to the top, he sees marks that indicate that the lens on the light has been changed several times.

Finally, the storm clouds arrive and bring a torrent of water. As the traveler looks outside of the lighthouse, the darkness obscures his view, so much so that he couldn’t see any further than a few meters ahead. The rain is pushed by the strong wind that its droplets hit the glass like needles.

But the traveler doesn’t panic. Inside Portland Head, he knows he is safe. Portland Head has been here for over two centuries standing tall in the midst of all the storms it had to face all that time. A swell of confidence comes over the traveler and assures him, “it will take more than a storm such as this to fell this mighty structure.”

Throughout its over 230 year-history, the townspeople of Portland have not forgotten their beacon of light. They’ve made steps to ensure that this structure will last for a long time. From upgrading the structure’s foundations, to replacing its lenses, Portland Head has been taken care of by the people that it has provided light for.

The storm finally clears, and as the traveler steps outside Portland Head and walks towards Fort Williams Park, he looks back at the lighthouse. Another person was saved by Portland Head this day.

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Beacon of Light: Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse Diagram