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It’s Lighthouse Day. Ring the bell!

09/16/2014
A picket fence was built around the Fort Point Lighthouse in the late 19th Century after a  resort hotel built was built nearby. Curious visitors would wander over to its grounds. The hotel closed and later burned after less than 25 years in business.

A picket fence was built around the Fort Point Lighthouse in the late 19th Century after a resort hotel opened nearby. Curious and unwanted lodgers would wander over to the lighthouse grounds. The hotel closed and later burned after less than 25 years in business.

The rocky and dangerous Maine coastline is loaded with dozens of tough, independent, historic, charming and wonderfully photogenic lighthouses.

The state celebrates these once important maritime navigational aids each September with an event called Open Lighthouse Day. It’s was on our calendar this year as a “can’t miss.”

Why?

Because lighthouses are great to look at but are even better when you go inside.

Climb up the wrought iron spiral stairway. Push through a hatch door in the floor. Stand up and look out plate-glass windows with a 360-degree view of Penobscot Bay. Huddle next to an ancient Fresnel lens. It looks and feels like a small campfire made out of white and yellow glass.

Lighthouses pack a lot of fun into a little brick building.

In past Open Lighthouse Days, we  scaled a quarter-mile long ocean breaker to visit the Rockland light, hopped a ferry-boat to the Grindle Point Light on Islesboro and hiked a short trail to the Owls Head light. The Fort Point Light was a little easier, just a 45-minute drive down the highway to Stockton Springs.

But Fort Point is also home to a State Park. Before Maine became a state, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Pownall had a fort built on the Penobscot River in 1759. The British removed its guns in 1775 and, in response, American rebels burned the post down. Today it’s just a whole in the ground. But it’s amazing that the site is still there, and not a luxury condominium.

Another cool feature of the Fort Point Light is a nearby bell tower. Before fog horns bellowed across the coastline. Bells were used to warn sailors of dangerous rocks. The Fort Point bell is as big and round as a truck tire. It was built in Boston in 1890 and a sledgehammer used to ring out its warning.

Go ahead, give it a ring. It sounds tough, independent, historic and, yes, charming.

 

 

 

 

 

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From → Out and about, Travel

4 Comments
  1. John Freed permalink

    A great story and the bell sounds wonderful! Probably a lot more pleasing that the foghorns.

  2. Loved the video. My phone vibrated along with the bell. 🙂

  3. I did the video on my new phone. It seems to work real well and is super easy to upload. I’ll try and do more. Glad you liked it.

  4. Dave Ferrara permalink

    Another winner, Nick- I’ve always had a fascination with lighthouses. The bell sounds beautiful and I like the sustain. As long as you’re covering Maine’s highlights (no pun intended), how about a feature on lobster rolls?

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