Saturday September 18th is Open Lighthouse Day here in Maine. Beacons all over the state will be flinging their doors open to the public for tours. To help sound the horn, here are some pictures from a trip I took to Seguin Island Light today, two-and-a-half miles from the mouth of the Kennebec River between Phippsburg and Georgetown Maine. I made the trip on assignment for The Times Record aboard the Leeward with Captain Ethan DeBery.
Seguin Island stands 186 feet above the sea boasts the highest and second-oldest of Maine’s 67 lighthouses. It was commissioned by George Washington in 1795. The current lighthouse tower is 53 feet tall and dates from 1857. It’s made from cut granite blocks. The beacon is still maintained, along with a foghorn, by the U.S. Coat Guard. The massive fixed white beam is visible for 20 miles and is the only first-order fresnel lens in operation north of Virginia.
The light station, natural environment and historical artifacts on the 64-acre island are under the care of the Friends of Seguin Island.
Today, the island was bathed in bright sunshine under a blanket of blue skies. The air was rippling with gulls, catbirds, black guillemots and sparrows. I saw at least three little snakes on the grassy trails draped over the island. I saw a monarch butterfly, too.
The lighthouse and island is usually open to visitors, who can finagle a boat ride, from Memorial to Labor Day. But, this year it will be open all the way to Columbus Day. Then, the lighthouse keepers, who stay on the island all summer long, will be gone.