Light Keeper's Life
In her memoir, “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife,” Connie Small, who served at five different lighthouses, recalls being asked, “How on earth could anyone have any kind of life in a lighthouse?” Even the mainland sites were often remote and life offshore could be even more lonely and stressful.
The “spark plug-style” lights were especially confining, surrounded by nothing but water. Life here, one keeper at the Spring Point Ledge Light observed, was like “being on a circular, stationary ship.” All anyone could do was walk round and round. Fifty-six laps made a mile, he calculated.
It was not unusual, especially on the smallest isles, for the sea to sweep right through a keeper’s house and cover the entire island, submerging everything in sight. “I was always thinking what I would do to save my life should the whole station be washed away,” wrote William Williams, a lighhouse keeper on Boon Island Lighthouse. “I believe it is these things which gradually wear on the mind and finally upset the brain.”
Read about more tales of madness in Maine lighthouses.