Digest>Archives> Mar/Apr 2012

Bass Harbor Lighthouse on Quarter Dollar Coin

By Timothy Harrison


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For the second time in history a Maine lighthouse appears on a quarter dollar coin (25-cent piece) as part of a new coin from the United States Mint’s “America the Beautiful Quarters Program.”

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Photo by: Lou Kellenberger

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse on Mount Desert Island will be featured on the back of the U.S. quarter was released in June of this year. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse was chosen to represent Acadia National Park, whisch is the 13th national park, national forest, or other historic site featured in the U.S. Mint series that will continue through 2021 with one site in each state plus Washington, D.C. and the five U.S. territories that will be featured in the program.

The first traditional lighthouse ever to appear on United States money was Maine’s Pemaquid Point Lighthouse that was released in a ceremony at the lighthouse in 2003 as part of U.S. Mint’s “50 States Quarters Program.”

It’s easy to understand why picturesque Bass Harbor Lighthouse, perched on the rocky ledge overlooking the eastern entrance to Bass Harbor and the southeast entrance to Blue Hill Bay, was chosen to represent Acadia National Park on the series of “America the Beautiful Quarters.” Previous sites chosen for the series of quarters include Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon National Parks and Gettysburg National Military Park. Other coins to be released in 2012 will include images from El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, Chaco Cultural National Historical Park in New Mexico, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and Denali National Park in Alaska.

Because of the popularity of Acadia National Park, Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is at the top of the list of Maine’s most visited and photographed lighthouses. Although the lighthouse and keeper’s house, which is now Coast Guard housing, is not open to the public, the area around the lighthouse is, with a parking lot and trails to accommodate the throngs of people who visit the lighthouse each year. The lighthouse was visited by President Obama and his family in 2010 and they even climbed the tower going on the outside lantern gallery to witness first hand the spectacular view that few others have ever had the opportunity to see.

Built in 1858, Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse has seen relatively few major changes in its appearance since it was constructed. By comparison to many other Maine lighthouses, the station is very plain and simple. However, its spectacular and colorful location makes up for the plain design of the light station.

To learn more about Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse with images of the keepers who served there, I would recommend the book, Lighthouses of Bar Harbor and the Acadia Region that is available from Lighthouse Digest by calling 207-259-2121 or on the web site at www.LighthouseDigest.net

(Photo captions)

U. S. Mint artist’s depiction of Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse that will appear on the new quarter dollar coin to be issued by the U.S. Mint, as part of its “America the Beautiful Quarters Program.” Image used by permission of the U. S. Mint.

This story appeared in the Mar/Apr 2012 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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