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Two Bush Island Lighthouse

Two Bush Island lighthouse

Spruce Head, Maine
Built in 1897


The lighthouse marks the entrance to Two Bush Channel off Tenants Harbor in Penobscot Bay

Latitude: 43° 57' 51" N
Longitude: 69° 04' 26" W


Historic Stories:

The island was named for two lone bushes or trees, now gone, that served as day beacons before the building of the lighthouse. Two Bush Island Light was one of the last lighthouses to be built on the Maine Coast in 1897.

The first Keeper, Altiverd Norton, had a famous dog Smut, who became a hero when during a March storm in 1902, a fishing schooner, the Clara Bella, started taking in water. The dog heard the men's cries for help, and sensing the danger, started barking to awaken Keeper Norton. The men from the sinking schooner were desperately trying to find a way to land on the island when they heard Smut's frantic barking guiding them to the shoreline. Their small boat they used to escape from the schooner overturned from a huge wave, but Norton and his assistant were able to get a line to the men and hauled them ashore to safety. The crew wanted to buy the dog at any cost but the keeper refused to sell his four-legged companion.

Winters could be treacherous to keepers from this isolated island four miles out from the mainland. vintage image of Two Bush Island light
Vintage Image
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Even if a keeper was able to make it ashore during calm seas using a round bottom “double-ender” boat in winter, which at times could also be very treacherous over frozen ice areas, they still had seven miles to get to Rockland to obtain needed food and supplies.

In 1923, when the bay had frozen over from nearly three weeks of freezing temperatures, the two keepers, with the help of a couple of local fishermen, tried to haul the boat over the ice towards the mainland for supplies. At times when their feet broke through the ice, they had to hold onto the boat for safety until they found thick ice again. They eventually made it to the mainland and avoided frost bite.

In 1970, the Coast Guard allowed a group of Green Berets to blow up the keeper's house as part of one of their demolition exercise. Tow Bush Island light tower

Two Bush Island Light was automated in 1964, and then converted to solar power in 2000. It is maintained today by the Maine Coastal Wildlife Refuge.



Contact Info:
Public access is not allowed on the island as it is a protected wildlife refuge.
Maine Coastal Wildlife Refuge

P.O. Box 279
Milbridge, ME 04658
Phone: (207) 546-2124


Two Bush light


Local Boat Tour

Monhegan Boat Line
Ferry leaves out of Port Clyde to Monhegan Island. It also passes by the lighthouse on its annual Midcoast Lighthouse Challenge at the end of June.
P.O. Box 238
Port Clyde, Maine 04855
Tel: (207) 372-8848
Fax: (207) 372-8547


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 all of northern New England's beacons, along with plenty of coastal attractions and tours.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and local coastal attractions



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