Monhegan Lighthouse (1850), now the Monhegan Museum; on the highest point in the center of the southern end of the island
In 1822 Congress approved the building of the first lighthouse; it was rebuilt in 1850. Civilian keepers maintained it from 1824-1945. It is now automated and maintained (only the light itself) by the Coast Guard; the buildings (1850-1890) are a museum
The island is accessible by mailboat ferry (no automobiles) from Boothbay Harbor, New Harbor and Port Clyde. In the U.S. state of Maine, a plantation is a type of minor civil division falling between township (or unorganized territory) and town. The term, as used in this sense in modern times, appears to be exclusive to Maine. Technically the settlement (Monhegan) on Monhegan Island is a plantation, not a town. In 1824, a conical stone lighthouse was built on the island by order of Congress and President James Monroe (replaced by the present lighthouse in 1850, now the Monhegan Museum). The beginnings of the art colony on Monhegan date to the mid-19th century; by 1890, it was firmly established, and continues today. Among many early members who found inspiration on the island were summer visitors from the New York School of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, such as Robert Henri, George Bellows, Edward Hopper and Rockwell Kent. Later members of the artist colony include Reuben Tam, Frances Kornbluth, Elena Jahn and Jamie Wyeth.