The storied past of Maine's lighthouses includes shipwrecks, mysterious discoveries, and feats of bravery—as well as madness and even murder.
In January 1885, during one of the coldest, most violent snowstorms, the schooner Australia ran aground near the Cape Elizabeth Light and the schooner’s captain was swept away by ferocious waves.
Frozen in Ice
On the night of Dec. 22, 1850, a small schooner was crushed against the ledges near Owl’s Head Light with one mate, his bride-to-be, and a deckhand aboard.
A Keeper’s Fraud
One lighthouse keeper on Whitehead Island was dismissed after only three years, when it was discovered that he had been supplementing his income by selling the station’s oil.
Turtle-shaped Seguin Island, the site of Maine’s first offshore station, is one of the foggiest places in the nation, socked in for as much as one-third of every year.
A Fated Crash
With his debts mounting, Captain Thomas O’Neil of the frigate Annie C. Maguire was in legal trouble in December 1886.
The Verge of Insanity
It might seem that the lonely lighthouse life would encourage communication between those who ran a lighthouse together. But even two people were too many for one keeper who lived at the Halfway Rock Light in the 1880s.
Wood Island’s Haunted Lighthouse
Howard Hobbs was a fisherman who lived on Wood Island. Late in the afternoon of June 1, 1896, Hobbs arrived at the island's lighthouse and told Keeper Orcutt that he had just shot his landlord and neighbor, Frederick Milliken.