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Moose Peak Lighthouse

Moose Peak lighthouse

Jonesport, Maine
Built in 1825


Location:

On Mistake Island, a few miles outside of Jonesport Harbor. Island and grounds around the lighthouse are accessible by public boat, or from a boat tour from Coastal Cruises & Dive Downeast, weather permitting, to land on Mistake Island to explore and view Moose Peak lighthouse up close.

Latitude: 44° 28' 26" N
Longitude: 67° 31' 54" W

 

Historic Stories:

Mistake Island is one of the foggiest locations in Maine and prompted the need for Moose Peak Lighthouse, sometimes referred to as Mistake Island Light, to be built in 1825.

early image of Moose Peak lighthouse

Early Moose Peak Light
with Old Lantern
Courtesy US Coast Guard

early ariel view of Moose Peak lighthouse with buildings

Early Moose Peak Light
with Keeper's Buildings
Courtesy US Coast Guard

A powerful foghorn signal needed to be built in 1851. Records indicate that the lighthouse was in fog at least 20 percent of the time each year.

Fog was so bad for a number of days in 1916, that the loud blasts of the horn were heard consecutively for 181 hours without stopping. Between 1918 and 1934, Moose Peak Light logged in more hours of dense fog than any other lighthouse in Maine, averaging about 1600 hours per year.

 

Tragedy During Storm

In May of 1920, Keeper Henry Kay, and his assistant Maurice Beal, were approaching the island during heavy seas when they were knocked out of their boat by a rogue wave. They shouted out for help, and second assistant Harry E. Freeman ran to the shore while Keeper Ray’s wife and children came out. Freeman was able to pull Beal to safety. The keeper was not as lucky as he tried to get back in the dory, and was thrown back out into the raging waters as the boat capsized. The outgoing tide pulled Keeper Ray away from the island in front of his family, and he slowly disappeared beneath the waves.

Moose Peak light in cloudy weather

 

 

The lighthouse was automated in 1972, but couldn’t be sold for private property as the sewerage system would not meet EPA standards and was too expensive to build.

In 1982 the military blew up the Keeper’s quarters as part of a training exercise. The problem arose that instead of the expectation that the building would implode, it exploded causing damage to the lighthouse and nearby helicopter pad (ooops).

The lighthouse was converted to solar power in 1999 and today the Nature Conservancy manages Mistake Island.

 

 

 

Places to Visit Nearby:

Jonesport is a small fishing village located along Maine's rugged "downeast" coast. This island harbor is where Samuel de Champlain anchored in the early 1600s while mapping the area for the French King Henri IV. There is an old quarry dock on Head Harbor Island nearby where you'll see huge stacked pink-granite blocks.

islands in cloudy weather The area ia usually in fog at least 20% of the time each year, but still a great area to explore, rain or shine.

The whole area is full of islands you can take a boat around or kayak to.

Coastal Cruises provides access to land on Mistake Island to explore the island and view Moose Peak Lighthouse up close. clouds swirl over Moose Peak lighthouse

They also provide nature tours around the islands and diving expeditions to explore the wreckage of Crabtree Ledge Lighthouse and various shipwrecks in the area.

seals relaxing on rocks at low tide You'll find plenty of seals relaxing on the rocks at low tide.

You can also reserve a spot to kayak to and hike through the wilderness at Great Wass Island Preserve.

You’re in Maine’s true blueberry region as you travel, and at the Corner of Route 1 and Route 187, you’ll find Wild Blueberry Land, the world’s largest “blueberry” building with great bakery and organic grown food.

In the scenic area of Machias, check out Jasper Beach in nearby Machiasport with its unique multicolored pebbles. It creates a picturesque coastline, and is often referred to as the "Best Wilderness Beach in the Northeast." In mid-August, visit the annual Blueberry Festival, in Machias, which has become a huge event in this region.

 

Contact Info:
Nature Conservancy - Maine
14 Maine Street, Suite 401
Brunswick, Maine 04011
Phone: (207) 729-5181
Fax (207) 729-4118
Email: naturemaine@tnc.org

 

 

Local Boat Tours

Cruises mentioned below offer many types of adventures. They provide close views of Moose Peak Lighthouse. They may also pass by the lighthouse during special charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, and fishing tours.

 

Coastal Cruises
Lighthouse and nature cruises offered to Moose Peak Light and Libby Island Light where, depending on tides, weather, and availability, you may be able to get off the boat and walk up to the lighthouses. They can also be viewed from the boat as well. Sometimes, they provide diving excursions along the islands of and around Moose Peak and Libby Island lighthouses, and an excursion to explore the remains of the wreckage of the Crabtree Ledge Lighthouse, which was toppled by ice in 1950.

117 Kelley Point Road
Jonesport, ME 04649

Cruise Info Contact
Laura Fish: (207) 598-7473
E-mail: captainlaura@cruisedowneast.com

Dive Info Contact
Harry Fish: (207) 598-7473
E-mail: harry@divedowneast.com


 

 

 

My 300-page book (with over 360 images), Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Northern New England: New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, provides human interest stories from each of the 76 lighthouses along the northeastern coastline, with plenty of coastal attractions and tours near each beacon.

Take a look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions

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