It faces west over the water, overlooking a village where an old dam once powered tide mills.
Photographed by Benjamin Williamson
In 1895, a Boston Post travel writer cruised on a steamboat past this little island, “where a new lighthouse is soon to be built, to aid the navigators of this circuitous river.” It was one of several lighthouses then in the planning for a waterway regularly navigated by commercial ships, brand-new military vessels, and plenty of passenger steamers, many of them carrying tourists along a stretch of coast “where the gayest life of New England centers,” as the Post declared. Leisure boaters still visit the island, now owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. Some pitch tents at its sole primitive campsite, and most walk the trail to admire this squat octagonal tower. It faces west over the water, overlooking a village where an old dam once powered tide mills in the 19th century. They burned in 1867, but the village stayed prosperous by turning its mill pond over to ice harvesting, so that an 1895 travel writer could wax romantic about “passing lumber- and ice-laden schooners lying at anchor in the broad channel . . . waiting for a turn of the tide to take them out to sea.”
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