The Museum started with a handwritten note on the backside of a graduation program. It was mailed to Jim Rockefeller, who had a grass airstrip on the side of a mountain in Camden. The message was from Tom Watson, who had his own grass strip next to his North Haven Island summer home in sight of the Camden Hills. The two had met previously through their love of aviation. That handwritten message read: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have some old airplanes flying around Owls Head.” There was no question mark at the end of the message. Tom was head of IBM, and he didn’t use question marks.
This small gesture catalyzed a much grander plan. Jim, a builder of boats and airplanes, asked his friend Steve Lang if he would like to help spend some seed money that Watson said he would put up—if a place to fly old airplanes at the Rockland Airport could be obtained, and if the flying might be supported by the community in some way. Tom enjoyed combining business with pleasure. The word “museum” was bandied about as a plausible excuse to fly old airplanes. Cars were not mentioned at the time. The undeveloped land at the end of old Runway 17 was obtained from Knox County under the concept of a cultural park. It had been earmarked for an industrial park, which did not sit well with the locals. Owls Head was delighted to unload the problem. There was no access road. The seed money was spent to put in a dirt road. Paperwork was drawn up to form a nonprofit museum with a mission based on demonstrating the flying of old airplanes.
Owl's Head Light
Owl's Head Light
Active aid to navigation. The lighthouse and keeper's house are licensed to the American Lighthouse Foundation. The lighthouse tower is cared for by a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights.
Accessibility: The lighthouse is located in Owls Head Light State Park. There is a large parking area near the lighthouse, and the grounds are open to the public. From spring to fall, the lighthouse is open on selected days; check the Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights site for the schedule.