Archive for August, 2013


National Lighthouse Day

With over 60 lighthouses in the state of Maine, today is a day to be observed for sure. Many of Maine’s lighthouses are open to the public and some have unique museums in the “keeper’s” house. There is also a Lighthouse Museum in Rockland.
There are short ones, tall ones, squat ones, double ones, striped ones, famous ones and on and on… my favorite is the Pemaquid Point Light, which is on the Maine State Quarter.
Lighthouses are such unique symbols of long ago, though of course, they still serve a purpose today. The first known lighthouse, Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt, was completed about 280 B.C. It stood more than 350 feet tall until an earthquake destroyed it in the 1300’s.
Do you think lighthouses are romantic? I think some people do, but in reality I’m pretty sure they were lonely, desolate places that required immense responsibility and long hours of work. I’d go and stay in one today, but I don’t think I’d have wanted to be a “keeper”!
Here’s an incredibly sad story of newlyweds who were stationed on Boon Island Light in southern Maine in the 1800’s. Boon Island Light happens to be the tallest of all Maine lights with 168 steps leading to the top of the tower. After only about 4 months of “keeping” the light, there was quite a winter storm and a high tide was sweeping over the island. While Keeper Bright was trying to secure their little boat, he either slipped or was knocked down on the rocks. His wife, Katherine, was able to drag him to safety to the foot of the stairs of the tower, and immediately took over the lighthouse duties. It is unclear whether Keeper Bright died immediately, or at some point over the next 5 days while his wife was “keeping” the light. More than likely she did this without much time for eating or sleeping or caring for her husband (and don’t forget those 168 steps!). On the 6th day, local fishermen noticed the light was out and went to investigate. They found Katherine cradling her dead husband’s body at the foot of the stairs… she died soon after.
Of course, as a history lover, they intrigue me, but many of Maine’s lighthouses and/or keeper’s houses are reported to be haunted, so that’s an added bonus. In fact they’re so intriguing that we’ve put together a Maine Haunted Lighthouse Tour! We have one next week, which, of course, is too late to join, but there is still space available for our September tour, if you’d like to join us. Here is a link FMI.

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