Pemaquid Point Light House

Pemaquid Point was the scene of many shipwrecks through the centuries,including the 1635 wreck of the British ship Angel Gabriel. Five people died in the wreck, and all 100 on board lost their belongings. With marinetrade, fishing, and the shipping of lumber increasing in midcoast Maine, Congress appropriated $4,000 for the building of a lighthouse at Pemaquid Point in 1826 to mark the entrances to Muscongus Bay and John Bay. The land was purchased from Samuel and Sarah Martin for $90. Thomaston bricklayer Jeremiah Berry was contracted to build the tower. Isaac Dunham of Bath, later a keeper at Minot's Ledge Light, was the first keeper at $350 per year. Dunham and many of his successors kept a small farm by the lighthouse, producing food and supplementary income. In 1869, $25 worth of eggs were sold by the keeper at Pemaquid Point. The original stone tower didn't last long, possibly because Jeremiah Berry may have used salt water to mix his lime mortar. The second contract stipulated that only fresh water was to be used. A new 38-foot stone tower was built in 1835 by Joseph Berry, a mason from Georgetown. Keeper Dunham signed a statement, vouching, "... I will venture to say, a better tower and lantern never was built in the state." The original 10 lamps and reflectors were replaced by a fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1856. The original stone keeper's house was replaced by a wooden dwelling during the following year. Only one baby was born in the history of the light station: Susie Lawler, born to Keeper Joseph Lawler and his wife, Sophronia, in 1868. Many weddings have taken place near the lighthouse -- an average of six to twelve a year in recent years. A fog bell and bell tower were added in 1897. In 1898, steam engines were installed to operate the bell. Apparently this system didn't work very well, because a year later a striking machine was installed, powered by a hand-cranked clockwork mechanism. The fog bell was removed in the 1930s. The engine house and tower were destroyed by two storms in 1991, but they were reconstructed the following year.