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September 12, 2013

Open Lighthouse Day: Time to see the light

Always wanted a closer look at a lighthouse? About two dozen Maine beacons will be open to the public on Saturday.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer


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Doubling Point Light

Additional Photos Below


WHEN: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Various lighthouses in Maine



The tower is only 23 feet tall, but feels like a giant in the Kennebec River.

A visitor traverses a long wooden bridge, connecting the grassy mainland to the pudgy Doubling Point Light. Water rushes below, and one immediately senses the power of the river and the purpose of the light.

Doubling Point Light was built in 1898 on the northwest end of Arrowsic Island, on a sharp double bend in the river. For more than a century, it has served as an important aid to navigation for boaters heading up the river to Bath.

On Saturday, along with two dozen other lighthouses in Maine, the Doubling Point Light will be open to the public as part of the Maine Open Lighthouse Day.

Presented in a partnership among the U.S. Coast Guard, the state of Maine and the American Lighthouse Federation, the open house is the largest of its kind in the country.

This is the fifth year that Maine has opened some of its most picturesque and popular lighthouses to the public. Visitors have the unique opportunity to step into the romantic world of the lighthouse keeper, and to get a sense of the history and legacy of the beacons that dot Maine's coast and inland waterways.

In all, more than two dozen lighthouses and their grounds will be open from Wood Island at Biddeford Pool in southern Maine to West Quoddy Head in Lubec, far Down East.

Open Lighthouse Day has proven enormously popular, said Bob Trapani, executive director of the Rockland-based American Lighthouse Federation. He expects between 12,000 and 15,000 people will visit a Maine lighthouse on Saturday.

Predictably, some lighthouses are more popular than others. Pemaquid Point in Bristol, Bass Harbor at Mount Desert and West Quoddy Head in Lubec draw huge crowds.

Others, such as Doubling Point and the Kennebec River Front Range Light, both in Arrowic, attract fewer people. "But what jewels they are," Trapani said. "Sometimes those jewels are overlooked."

Several offshore lighthouses, which can only be reached by boat, also are less popular. For instance, the Sequin Island light off Popham Beach in Phippsburg is best accessed via the Sequin Island Ferry. Once there, visitors can tour both the lighthouse and its first-order Fresnel lens -- the only one of its kind in Maine -- as well as the keeper's house.

The lighthouses and grounds are open for guided and self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

In addition, the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The museum is home to the largest collection of Fresnel lenses on display in the United States.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be reached at:

Twitter: pphbkeyes

THE FOLLOWING are lighthouses in southern Maine that will be open during Maine Open Lighthouse Day. For a list of participating lighthouses statewide, go to


LOCATION: Lighthouse Road, off Route 102A, Bass Harbor


HEIGHT: 32 feet

ILLUMINATING FACT: According to family legend, the 3-year-old grandson of the lighthouse's first keeper, John Thurston, fell from a window of the lighthouse but was snatched up by his long dressing gown before hitting the rocks below.


LOCATION: Lighthouse Road, Swan's Island


HEIGHT: 32 feet

ILLUMINATING FACT: The first keeper, F.A. Allen, and his wife lived at the lighthouse with their nine children. The light used to have a twin, but one was taken out in 1884 after mariners complained that the twin lights were confusing.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse

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Burnt Island Light Station

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Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse

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Owls Head Lighthouse

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Range Light (front)

Fort Williams Park
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Portland Head Light

File photo

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Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

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Monhegan Island Lighthouse

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Marshall Point Lighthouse

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