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Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Pemaquid Point light

Bristol, Maine
Built in 1827

Location:

Guarding the entrance to Muscongus Bay and John Bay, at Pemaquid Point at the end of Route 130. Grounds and lighthouse museum are open to the public.

Latitude: 43° 50' 12" N
Longitude: 69° 30' 21" W

 

Historic Stories:

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse was built to accommodate the increasing marine trade, fishing, and the shipping of lumber within mid-coast Maine.

Built in 1827, then rebuilt in 1857. Its location sits atop a unique set of geological rock formations that wreaked havoc for many mariners in bad weather.

early image of pemaquid light
Early Pemaquid Light
Courtesy US Coast Guard

By the late 1800s, Pemaquid Point was a desirable location for many keepers and their families, as it was easily accessible by land and allowed keepers to raise animals and crops. Pemaquid Point was not, however, easy to reach by water. For those that had to access the lighthouse by water, it was not a popular destination from the rock formations along the shore. Lighthouse tenders were forced to anchor offshore while attempting to move supplies over these treacherous rocks in front of the lighthouse and grounds.

Keeper Joseph Lawler and his wife, Sophronia, welcomed a baby girl in 1868; Susie Lawler was the only child ever born at the lighthouse. Marcus A. Hanna, who was best known for his most courageous rescue at Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, succeeded Lawler in 1869 and stayed at Pemaquid until 1873.

Shipwrecks would sometimes still occur on the dangerous rocks by Pemaquid. The Annie F. Collins was wrecked on May 4, 1891 and the Alice P. Higgins was wrecked on September 18, 1893. The three-man crew aboard the Annie F. Collins was lost, those aboard the Alice P. Higgins made it to shore by boat, landing at Pemaquid Light. Both vessels were carrying paving stone, and both were bound for New York.

 

Strange Coincidence

In a violent storm on September 16, 1903, the fishing schooner George F. Edmunds smashed against the rocks, drowning Captain Willard Poole and thirteen of his crewmates. Only two of the crew were rescued. William P. Sawyer, of Pemaquid Point talked to the two survivors of the George F. Edmunds and wrote down their story. Forty-two years later on the anniversary of the shipwreck in 1945, Sawyer's body was found near the Pemaquid Lighthouse.

Pemaquid light

 

A smaller fishing vessel, the Sadie and Lillie was also destroyed there and only two people survived.

Keeper Leroy Elwell rescued three people from a capsized sailboat on August 6, 1930, and later received a commendation for his heroism. It was also during Elwell’s tenure that the lighthouse was one of the first in Maine to be automated in 1934.

The keeper’s quarters was converted to the Fisherman’s Museum in 1972 and is still in use today.

As the lighthouse tower was falling into much needed restoration, funds were finally raised and restoration and repair of the tower was completed in 2007.

Pemaquid lighthouse grounds

The lighthouse on Maine's commemorative state quarter is Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. Also included on the quarter are Maine's state tree, the White Pine, and the three-masted schooner Victory Chimes, which visitors can still sail out of Rockport. It is the last of the three-masted schooners in the Maine windjammer fleet.

 

 

Places to Visit Nearby:

In Damariscotta and Newcastle, you’ll find nineteenth century storefronts filled with shops, restaurants and galleries. Head down Route 129 from Route 1, to Route 130, with plenty of artist’s galleries along the way.

The town of Bristol lies on a tip of land on the end of a long peninsula with its natural surroundings for all to enjoy.

rocky coastline of pemaquid light When you reach the end of the penninsula, you’ll find Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Bristol, providing some of the most spectacular scenery in Maine, with its unique rocky shoreline and park to explore.
On the lighthouse grounds, you can climb all around these unique rock formations that jut out to the sea (be wary of high tide with these rocks) or, sit and picnic while enjoying the splendor of the surf crashing against the rocks. sunrise by Pemaquid lighthouse

On the lighthouse grounds, you can climb all around these unique rock formations that jut out to the sea. The Fisherman's Museum, which is part of Pemaquid's adjoining buildings is open during the summer months.

view from Pemaquid light tower Take a tour to climb the tower for some great views and observe the beacon's original fourth order Fresnel lens.

A one-bedroom apartment in the keeper's house is available for weekly vacation rentals. The Fisherman's Museum, part of Pemaquid's keeper's buildings is open during the summer months. There is a restaurant to relax at and also a beach area.

A few miles away there is Colonial Pemaquid to explore, where visitors will find Fort William Henry. Fort William Henry in Colonial Pemaquid

This was was once the largest fort in New England, built in the late 1600s. There is also the Pemaquid Art Gallery, and other attractions around the area.

Off Route 130 in New Harbor, Hardy Boat Cruises, provides cruises out to Monhegan Island, puffin tours and seal watching, and coastal tours in the fall. They also provide an educational history cruise out to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse and Fort William Henry.

 

Driving Directions

 

Contact Info:
Fisherman’s Museum
New Harbor, ME 04554
Phone: (207) 677-2494

Friends of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
PO Box 367
Damariscotta, ME 04543-0367
Phone (207) 677-3499 for special off-hour tours
Phone (207)677-2100 for rentals or reservations .

 

 

 

Local Boat Tours

Boat tours mentioned below offer many types of cruises. While some may offer specific lighthouse cruises that pass by Pemaquid Point Lighthouse , some may pass by the lighthouse as part of charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, whale watching adventures, fishing tours, and other types of excursions.

 

Cap'n Fish's Whale Watch and Scenic Nature Cruises
Includes lighthouses along the Kennebec River and Boothbay Harbor.
Boothbay Harbor, Maine
(207)-633-3244
(207)-633-2626
Or toll free 1-800-636-3244

 

 

Balmy Days Cruises
Offers special lighthouse tours.
Pier 8
42 Commercial St.
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
(207) 633-2284 or
(800) 298-2284
info@balmydayscruises.com

 

 

Hardy Boat Cruises
Special lighthouse cruises available around Pemaquid Point lighthouse, and out to Monhegan Island lighthouse.
PO Box 326
New harbor, Maine 04554
1-800-2-PUFFIN
(207) 677-2026

 

 

Hay Val Charters
Tours of Boothbay region including lighthouse tours
(207) 633-2039
(207) 319-8123
parthill@midcoast.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 with plenty of coastal attractions and tours near each beacon, and contact info to plan your special vacation.

In the haunted lighthouses section of the book, you'll also find a story about a haunting at the keeper's house at Pemeaquid.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and attractions

 

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