Doubling Point Lighthouse

Doubling Point Lighthouse, Arrowsic Island, Maine

Doubling Point Lighthouse, Arrowsic Island, Maine

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

Doubling Point Lighthouse

Doubling Point Lighthouse is located at the west end of Arrowsic Island, Maine, in the main channel of the Kennebec River where it takes a sharp turn. Though perhaps hard to imagine today, at one time the Kennebec River was a very busy waterway as evidenced by the river traffic report contained in the following Bath Daily Times story of July 1880:

Yesterday on the passenger steamer Henry Morrison, we counted 27 schooners at Bath, 13 more between Bath and Richmond, 55 more between Richmond and Hallowell, and two more docking at Augusta.

The U.S. Lighthouse Establishment had no lights on the river at that time. Instead, the Kennebec Steamboat Company and towboat companies maintained lights at turning points and other difficult places along the river. In 1892, the Lighthouse Board acknowledged the need to increase aids to navigation on the Kennebec and recommended the establishment of five official lights, including one at Doubling Point across from the historic shipbuilding town of Bath. Congress provided $17,000 for these lights in 1895.

A plot of land on Arrowsic Island was purchased on May 29, 1896 for the Doubling Point Lighthouse from Samuel S. Freeman, a local resident. The first station at Doubling Point, completed in 1898, consisted of a white octagonal wooden tower, a one and one-half story wooden L-shaped keeper’s dwelling, a fog bell tower, and a small barn. A year later, the tower was moved to its present offshore location, at the end of a 130-foot-long footbridge extending over a marsh and out into the Kennebec River. At the same time, the fog bell was mounted on the lighthouse tower. The tower’s original foundation is still visible on a rock ledge at the eastern edge of the lighthouse grounds.

There were only two on-site keepers during Doubling Point’s history: Merritt Pinkham (1889-1931) and Charles W. Allen (1931-1935). In 1935 the Lighthouse Service decided to manage the Doubling Point light from the nearby Doubling Point Range Light station, and the entire Doubling Point station grounds (except for the lighthouse tower) were sold to a private party for $2,200.

In the mid-1970s a 300mm modern optic replaced the Fresnel lens in the Doubling Point Lighthouse. The Fresnel lens is now on display at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine. The fog bell was removed in 1980, and its location is unknown. The catwalk was rebuilt in 1985, and in 1998, the Friends of Doubling Point Light, a non-profit corporation, was granted stewardship of the lighthouse.

For years ice floes had rushed down the Kennebec River each spring, crashing into the lighthouse’s granite-block foundation, which was held together by large metal “staples.” By 1999, the staples had long since rusted away, and the abuse had caused the foundation to become so unstable that it was feared the tower might soon topple into the river. The Friends of Doubling Point Light raised $25,000 from donations sent in from all over the country. This sum was matched by a grant from the Kurt Berliner Foundation of New York, permitting the Friends to hire a local construction company, Reed and Reed, to repair the foundation.

A small crowd, made up of supporters, a TV crew, and reports, assembled near the lighthouse on December 10th, 1999 to watch the removal of the tower. The five-ton structure was lifted skyward by a crane, and after dangling over the Kennebec River for a few moments as the crowd held its collective breath, the tower was carefully placed on a waiting barge without incident. The lighthouse was then towed upriver to its temporary home at the construction company’s yard in Woolwich, Maine. Working in frigid conditions, the contractors inserted stainless steel rods in the granite blocks, placed them back in position, and filled the foundation with concrete. A cap of red concrete, molded to resemble bricks, was placed atop the granite blocks, and on January 5th, 2000, the tower returned home.

The Doubling Point Lighthouse was automated in 1988 and remains an active aid to navigation, showing a flashing white light every four seconds. The lighthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Doubling Point Lighthouse, Arrowsic Island, Maine

Doubling Point Lighthouse, Arrowsic Island, Maine

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

The narrative above, with some minor amendments, has been taken from www.lighthousefriends.com.

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11 Comments

  1. I love lighthouses in Maine Mark and you have captured this wonderfully. This one could be the twin sister of the Marshall Point Lighthouse on Port Clyde.
    Len Saltiel recently posted..Beach LightMy Profile

    • Seems like the lighthouses in this area have a reasonably common look. I checked up on Marshal Point Lighthouse on lighthousefriends.com and not only does it look quite similar, it is in the same part of the Maine coast.

  2. Very nice, my wife and I are heading that way in the fall, I might have to pick your brain!
    Mike Criswell recently posted..One Last SqueakerMy Profile

    • I think you will enjoy your time in this area. Let me know when you are planning on visiting and I’ll give you the names of some other photogs to contact as well as some ideas of my own.

  3. Great lighthouse shots, Mark. I really love that second one. Enjoyed reading the write-up as well.
    Jimi Jones recently posted..PillarsMy Profile

  4. Great compositional elements used for these lighthouse pictures Mark. 2 very good photographs.

  5. I’m a big fan of Maine lighthouses Mark, and this one is on my list to visit this summer. Great images.

  6. I have still never been able to shoot a lighthouse…well someday – nicely done here Mark!
    Jim Nix recently posted..The Pennybacker sentinelMy Profile

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