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Nash Island Lighthouse

Nash Island lighthouse

Addison, Maine
Built in 1838


Nash Island is near the entrance to Pleasant River, southwest of Addison, and is part of the Petit Manaan Wildlife Refuge. Nash Island is closed to the public to protect nesting seabirds during the summer months.

Latitude: 44° 27' 50" N
Longitude: 67° 44' 45" W


Historic Stories:

With the area flourishing with shipbuilding, passenger steamships, lumbering, fishing and granite quarrying, a lighthouse was needed and appropriated on Nash Island in 1838.

In the middle 1800’s, a small schoolhouse was built to educate the children inhabiting the island until they would go to high school on shore in Jonesport.

early image of Nash Island light and buildings

Early Nash Island Light
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Keeper Allen Holt received a special commendation from Washington after rescuing the crew of a fishing schooner during a fierce storm. During his tenure on the island, his children were given the task of counting bird nests for the Audubon Society.



Tradition of Raising Sheep on Nash Island

Many of the numerous islands that had dotted Maine’s coastline had traditionally been used for pasturing sheep. Each spring, it was necessary to visit these islands to shear the sheep. Today this ritual has all but vanished from the islands, but there is still a pair of islands, Big and Little Nash Islands off Addison, where volunteers congregate each spring to keep the tradition alive.

John Purington was appointed keeper of the lighthouse on Little Nash Island in 1916. He and his wife Ellen had nine children that were raised on the islands, and it was their daughter Jenney who helped to maintain the tradition, as they kept sheep all during the keeper’s tenure. With Keeper Purlington retiring in 1935, Jenny spent the next few years purchasing with her husband, land that wasn’t government owned on Big and Little Nash Islands and kept her sheep there until she died in 2004, at the age of 91. She even piloted her own lobster boats for over 70 years of her life. It was her inspiration that led to the continued preservation of the lighthouse and island, and continuation of grazing and sheering sheep.

Nash Island light engulfed in fog

Today Nash Island is designated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as an area for migratory birds and is maintained by the Friends of Nash Island Light.



Places to Visit:

Milbridge offers seventy-five miles of coastline with spectacular views of the Narraguagus River and the Gulf of Maine. Milbridge was once a shipbuilding town and has a historical museum of local history. The Petit Manan National Wildlife Sanctuary is an island less than a half-hour from Milbridge, with its nesting area serving over 300 species of birds. The area is one of the foggiest regions in Maine.

The Maine Historic Preservation Commission lists 28 prehistoric archaeological sites along the Addison coastline. You may have an opportunity to visit some of these sites by getting their permission.

Robertson Sea Tours offer tours pass the lighthouse in an authentic lobster boat.

They also provide demonstrations in hauling in lobster traps to understand the daily occupation of local lobstermen in the region. demonstration in hauling lobster traps onto the boat

The lighthouse is part of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Wild Blueberryland Bake Shop At the Corner of Route 1 and Route 187, you’ll find Wild Blueberry Land, the world’s largest “blueberry” building with great bakery and organic grown food at great prices.

You’re in Maine’s true blueberry region and this landmark is a must stop. There’s even a nine-hole mini golf course and all kinds of photo ops.



Contact Info:
Friends of Nash Island Light

P.O. Box 250
Addison, Maine 04606



Local Boat Tour

Boat cruise mentioned below may offer many types of cruises. In addition to a specific lighthouse cruise where they pass by Nash Island Lighthouse, they also offer charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, and fishing tours.


Robertson Sea Tours
Lighthouse cruises and nature trips along the shores of downeast Maine and Schoodic Peninsula area aboard a classic downeast lobster boat. Special lighthouse cruise covers Narraguagus (Pond Island) Light, Nash Island Light, and Petit Manan Light, along with natural wonders and hauling up a lobster trap.
Contact: Captain Jamie Robertson
Home Phone: (207) 483-6110 o,r Cell: (207) 461-7439




My 300-page book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Northern New England: New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, provides human interest stories from each of the 76 lighthouses, along with plenty of coastal attractions and tours near each beacon for all you vacationers.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions





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