":Americans have a fascination with lighthouses.They plan vacations around lighthouses.People fall in love at lighthouses,they get married at lighthouses.When they die they have their ashes scattered at lighthouses.":
Timothy Harrison is the former president of the American Lighthouse Foundation.Harrison says people may have a fascination with them but they haven’t always taken care of them.Automation marked a dramatic change.
":A lot of times the coast guard would offer a lighthouse up for adoption and nobody would take it and maybe there were concerns about vandalism or there were bad decisions made early on.":
The Little River Lighthouse off Cutler was abandoned for 26 years.
":The first time we came out here we thought what have we gotten ourselves into.The boathouse was slipping into the ocean.The walkway going from the boathouse to the other side of the island was rotted away.The trees wee taller than the lighthouse.There was no light in the tower.The tower was full of water.The house was in shambles.At that time it had been declared one of the ten most endangered historic properties in Maine.":
Harrison says the Friends of River River lighthouse have made a lot of progress in it’s restoration.
":You can spend the night here and experience what it was like a hundred years ago to live in a lighthouse.":
The money they charge guests is helping restore this lighthouse and others.
":There’s a lot of other lighthouses in Maine that need assistance so they can be restored and kept open to the public.":
Harrison says the Prospect Harbor Light was one of those almost lost forever.
":The platform that the heavy lantern room sat on was made of wood and it was rotten and it was about to crush that whole platform and the whole tower would have come down.It’s one of three conical lighthouses left in America and that’s why it was so important that we save it.":
Harrison says the Nash Island light off Addison wasn’t so lucky.
":We have pictures of the Nash Island keepers house being burned.":
One keeper of the Libby Island lighthouse is credited with saving 16 men during a storm in 1891.Harrison says the light off Machiasport met a different fate.
":The Libby Island lighthouse was blown up.":
Burnt Coat Light on Swans Island is in the process of being restored.
":There used to be two lighthouses there.There was a set of range lights.One sat in front of the other and that lighthouse no longer stands.":
Today the town manager lives in Browns Head Light on Vinalhaven,Bass Harbor Light Is a popular tourist attraction and a private home for the coast guard.Petty officer Joseph Havner is living there.
":It takes a lot of getting used to. A lot of people have lived there in the past and they just can not deal with as soon as you get out of the car everyone in the parking lot stops and stares.Not many people can say they have lived in a lighthouse.It may be a little better after I leave.You feel important knowing that what you’ve done will make it last maybe a little bit longer.":
Susan Farley-Coastal Bureau chief
YOU CAN DONATE AT THE AMERICAN LIGHTHOUSE FOUNDATION… POST OFFICE BOX 5-6-5 IN ROCKLAND 0-4-8-4-1