Open Lighthouse Day kicked off this morning at 25 lighthouses along Maine’s coast.

Visitors have access to the towers, some of which were built in the 1700s, until 3 p.m.

Bob Trapani, executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation, said the event is an opportunity for the public to learn the role the towers played in American history, and the continued place they have in American culture.

“We have a real attachment to these lighthouses today,” he said. “They (have) a touch of romance, mystery. They are a part of the fabric of who we are.”

More than navigation aids, he said the towers helped protect early American seaborne commerce.

“It’s more romantic to say (they were) built to save lives, but to fund them you have to have an econonic reason,” he said.

Trapani said many lighthouses are now owned by nonprofit groups like the American Lighthouse Foundation, which has spent $2.7 million on lighthouse preservation in the last decade.

The event is organized by the U.S. Coast Guard, the American Lighthouse Foundation and the State of Maine.


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