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, May 15, 2014

Seguin Island Lighthouse

     For more than two centuries, this lighthouse has been an important guide for mariners traveling along the Maine coast as well as those entering the Kennebec River toward Bath and other ports. Even earlier, high Seguin Island, rising more than 100 feet above the sea, was a prominent landmark. In August 1607, the English founders of the Popham colony anchored at the island before landing on the mainland.

     When the explorer Samuel de Champlain sailed past Seguin Island in 1612, he commented that it looked like a giant tortoise. The name "Seguin" is said by some to be a corruption of an Indian word that means "place where the sea vomits." Others claim that it originates from an Indian word for "hump." Either way, it’s entirely appropriate.

     Fifty-five local merchants petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts for a lighthouse on Seguin in June 1786.  Nearly a decade passed before the establishment of a light station was approved by President George Washington in May 1793. Ten acres of land on the island was ceded in February 1794 to the federal government by the State of Massachusetts, as Maine was part of Massachusetts at the time.

     In June 1794, Commissioner of the Revenue Tench Coxe sent word to Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, the customs collector and local lighthouse superintendent in Boston, that he should examine Seguin Island to select the most advantageous position for the lighthouse.

     By April 1795, a site had been chosen and a request was posted in local newspapers for proposals to build an octagonal wooden lighthouse tower on a stone foundation and a one-story, wood-frame dwelling. A newspaper notice in late October 1796 announced that the buildings had been completed.

    The original tower had deteriorated and had to be rebuilt in 1819, this time of stone. The new lighthouse was much smaller than its predecessor; the specifications called for it to be 20 feet tall to the base of the lantern, 16 feet in diameter at the base, and 13 feet in diameter at the top. A fog bell was added to the station in 1837. In his 1843 report to Congress, the engineer I. W. P. Lewis described the stone tower as in "bad order." Lewis noted that the old 1795 house was “in very good preservation” and was used for storage and as a “lodging-house.”

    A new fog bell with automatic striking machinery was installed in 1854, and after an appropriation of $35,000, a new 53-foot stone tower was built in 1857. 

    Over a period of 31 years, the station was foggy 15 percent of the time. In 1907, the island set an all-time Maine mark for fogginess—2,374 hours, or about 31 percent of the year. The Lighthouse Board announced in 1870 that preparations had begun for the establishment of a new steam-driven fog signal to replace the bell. A new well was dug to provide the necessary water for the engines. A 10-inch steam whistle was installed by 1873, sounding one eight-second blast every minute.

     Because of the steep quarter-mile climb up to the lighthouse, a tramway system was installed in 1895, its tracks leading from the boathouse up to the keepers’ house. Supplies were loaded into a car that was brought up more than 1,000 feet on the tracks by means of a hoisting engine.

     As befits a remote lighthouse location, Seguin Island has ghost stories galore. Keepers spoke of furniture moving on its own and doors slamming themselves.

      The Seguin Island lighthouse has been featured on many TV shows such as ''Haunted Lighthouse'' and "America's Haunted Lighthouses". They say the keeper and his wife moved into the lighthouse as newlyweds. She quickly became bored, so to help keep her busy during the winter when no deliveries could get through, her husband ordered her a piano. She was extremely pleased with the gift and began playing the one song that came with it. Having had enough of hearing the same song played nonstop the keeper ordered sheet music for several songs, but she continued to play just the one. Not being able to take it for another second he took an ax demolished the piano, killed her and took his own life. Allegedly you can still hear the music from that one song being played. 

     The Maine writer William O. Thomson claims that Coast Guard keepers told him about the specter of a young girl they saw running and laughing in the house—the ghost, it’s said, of a keeper’s daughter who died on the island. Other keepers have reported doors opening and closing themselves and mysterious coughing not produced by any of the keepers.

      The light was automated in 1985 and the keepers were removed. The last Coast Guard keeper was First Class Boatswain Mate Edward T. Brown, who hated leaving Seguin. "I'd stand on my head to live on the island with my family," he said.

     A ghostly story about the automation of Seguin Island Light, related by the lighthouse historian William O. Thomson, concerns the crew that arrived to take all the furniture from the keeper’s house. They packed up most of the furniture and spent the night in the keeper’s house, planning to leave in the morning. 

    The officer in charge later claimed that he was rudely awakened by a figure standing in front of him, pleading, “Don’t take the furniture. Please leave my home alone!” The next day the crew went ahead and loaded the furniture into a boat. Suddenly the chain holding the boat broke, the engine stopped, and the boat sank with all the furniture.

      After automation, the future of the station was uncertain. Concerned local citizens led by a real estate broker, Anne Webster, founded the Friends of Seguin Island in 1986. Three years later the Friends of Seguin Island received a 10-year lease on the property from the Coast Guard. In February 1998, under the Maine Lights Program, the property was transferred to the group.

     Directions:  You can drive to Popham Beach for distant views of Seguin Light -- bring your binoculars. Better yet, you can visit the Seguin Island Light by boat.  For lovers of lighthouses teeming with legends and lore, this is a must.

     CreditsI would like to thank Jeremy D'Entremont, webmaster of,, for sharing the above history.  Jeremy is a speaker, author, historian, and tour guide who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the lighthouses of New England.  To view a story on him, go to, (Jeremy D'Entremont).  

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