CREDITS: I would like to thank Jeremy D'Entremont for providing much of the history one can find on this site. He is a speaker, author, historian, and tour guide who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the lighthouses of New England. For a story on Jeremy or to visit his site (New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide), use the corresponding link in the right hand information bar under "Related Links".

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I have set up this site as a means to share my photographs of lighthouses. Since retiring and finding more time to study photography, my interests have expanded a little. For some of my work other than lighthouses please enjoy my Facebook page at, John Shaw Photography. Come visit, enjoy, and 'LIKE' if you wish.

Also, for your enjoyment, I have provided a slideshow of our journey. To view it please use the link on the right under 'Site Navigation Tools'.

I sincerely hope you enjoy my efforts and use my site not only for information and education but also to provide directions for many enjoyable, inspirational visits to the beacons along our beautiful coas.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Two Bush Island Lighthouse

       Established in 1897 to mark the entrance to Two Bush Channel in Penobscot Bay, Two Bush Island Light was an isolated and rough assignment for keepers. The island was named for two lone bushes or trees, now gone, that served as day beacons before the building of the 42-foot-tall square lighthouse.

     During a storm in March 1902, a fishing schooner, the Clara Bella, was in danger of being smashed on the rocky shores of Two Bush Island. The two men aboard took to a dory as a leak opened up in the schooner.

     The men were desperately trying to find a way to land on the island when they heard Smut's, the keeper’s dog, frantic barking. The schooner's captain later said that the barking was like music coming from an angel. Keeper Norton, alerted by the dog, ran to the shore and saw the men in the dory. He tried to guide them to a safe landing, but their boat was overturned by a wave. The keepers managed to get a line to the men and hauled them ashore. Smut eagerly licked the faces of the fishermen, who later offered to buy the dog at any price. The keeper refused to sell.

     The four-mile trip from Two Bush Island to the mainland was usually uneventful in summer, but it could be treacherous in winter. There is no protected landing area on the island, so the station's power boat was not kept in the water in winter. Instead, a 14-foot "double-ender" boat with a round bottom was used. This boat could only be launched when the sea was relatively calm, and it had to be hoisted in and out of the water with a winch.  If a keeper was able to make it ashore in winter, he still had a seven mile drive to Rockland for supplies.

     In January 1923 there were 21 snowstorms in the vicinity, and the following month the temperature hit zero for 18 days in a row. A lifesaving crew from Whitehead Island had to smash their dory through the ice to get provisions to Two Bush Island. Darrell Mann later described a winter trip from the island to the mainland during one of the times that much of the bay was frozen over. Darrell and his father, Keeper Leland Mann, enlisted the help of two fishermen. Dressed in hip boots, heavy woolen mittens, heavy wool stockings, oilskins, and wool hoods covering all but their nose, mouth, and eyes, they hauled the double-ender across the ice. When their feet broke through the ice, they would hold on to the sides of the boat for dear life and slide along until they reached solid ice again.

      Two Bush Island Light was automated in 1964 and the keepers were removed. In 1970, the Coast Guard allowed the Green Berets to destroy the keeper's house, seen below, as a demolition exercise.

     The light was converted to solar power in the summer of 2000.  The lighthouse, still an important aid to navigation, now stands alone on the stark island. Under the Maine Lights Program, the lighthouse became the property of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1998. The lighthouse can be seen only by boat or from the air.

     Directions:  The lighthouse can best be photographed on a lighthouse cruise out of Port Clyde.  Morning light in most cases would be the best light for shooting.

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