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Doubling Point Light
Arrowsic, Maine
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History
Doubling Point Light was established in 1898 on the northwest end of Arrowsic Island, at a sharp double bend in the Kennebec River, near the busy shipbuilding harbor of Bath. It was one of several aids to navigation built on the river in the same year. old photo of Doubling Point Light

A wood-frame keeper's house, a shed, and a bell tower were erected in 1898 along with an octagonal lighthouse tower. In 1899, the lighthouse was moved offshore to a stone pier connected to the island by a footbridge. The fog bell was relocated to the lighthouse tower, and the bell tower was moved and converted into a garage.

old photo of Doubling Point Light
c. 1940s - from the book Casting off from Boothbay Harbor by Sidney Baldwin

The station received a boathouse in 1901, and an oil house was added in 1906. A fifth-order Fresnel lens was installed in 1902, replacing the original lens-lantern.

The first keeper was Merritt Parker Pinkham, a native of Southport, Maine, who had formerly been a keeper at Seguin Light. Pinkham moved to the new station with his wife, Mary (Marr), and their two children.

Merritt PinkhamIsa Stinson Pinkham

Keeper Merritt P. Pinkham and his second wife, Isa Stinson Pinkham
Courtesy of the Friends of Doubling Point Light and the family of Barbara Hall

Mary Pinkham died in March 1899, and Keeper Pinkham married Isa Stinson of Wiscasset in October 1900. They would have two children together, and when Pinkham died at the age of 85 in 1947, he had nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Pinkham and his family had a long, 33-year stay at Doubling Point. Judging by a letter written in October 1927 to his fellow keeper, C. L. Knight of the Squirrel Point Light Station, Pinkham was quite content.

I do not intend to retire until I am 70 unless sickness or something over takes me and that will be four years from November 16th, 1927. . . . I call Doubling Pt. a fine Station. My children have been strong, and they could get themselves to school. Virginia is walking to Bath to High School now in the winter time she leaves home at 6 o’clock am. . . . I get up at 4 am, build on a coal fire in the cook stove and my wife gets up at 5 am. You can see it is quite a struggle to get them to school from here. . . . . I saw Mr. Haley from Perkins Island just a short time ago. I do not think he will leave the service until he is 70 years old unless he has another sick spell like he had last winter. He will not be 65 years old until next July. . . . Capt Nye on the Range Lights is just as full of pep as ever works every day at something. I wish you might get the Keepers job in the Gov. Depot over to Portland that would make you a fine job. I never kept any list of stations in the office for I have always been very concentrated on this station and I do not know of any station that I would like to ask for at the present time.

After Pinkham retired in 1931, Charles W. Allen, formerly at Boon Island and Eagle Island, became the station’s second and last keeper.

In 1935, the keeper's house at Doubling Point was sold to a private owner. The keeper at the Doubling Point Range Light Station a short distance away became responsible for both stations.

In the mid-1970s, the Fresnel lens was removed; it is now at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine. The fog bell was removed in 1980. Responsibility for looking after the light went to the keeper at Squirrel Point Light Station.

Beginning in 1981, Doubling Point Light was again monitored from the Kennebec River (Doubling Point) Range Lights Station. It became the job of one keeper to look after the Range Lights, Doubling Point Light, and Squirrel Point Light, as well as their fog signals.


The keeper's house

For a few years, this job was performed by Coast Guard Boatswain Mate Karen McLean, one of a very small number of woman Coast Guard lighthouse keepers. McLean, married to a Coast Guardsman heading a unit in Boothbay, lived at the keeper's house at the Range Lights with her two young children.

Doubling Point Light remains an active aid to navigation, and the light itself is still maintained by the Coast Guard. Under the Maine Lights Program, the lighthouse was transferred to the Friends of Doubling Point Light in April 1998. The group, led by President James A. E. Spencer, had been working to save the lighthouse since 1996.

Over the decades, ice floes in the Kennebec damaged and shifted the tower's foundation of granite blocks. With the goal of repairing the foundation, the Friends of Doubling Point Light raised roughly $25,000. The group received a matching grant from the Kurt Berliner Foundation of New York.  The funds allowed for repairs to the walkway as well as the work on the foundation.

In December 1999, the tower was lifted off the foundation with a crane and placed on a barge, then moved into temporary storage at a docking facility in Woolwich. A contractor, Reed and Reed, reset the granite blocks, each weighing about six tons.


The foundation before and after the 1999 repairs

The foundation's core was filled with concrete, and steel tie rods were inserted to hold the blocks together. In January 2000, the repairs were completed and the lighthouse was returned to its home.

In 2007, the Friends of Doubling Point Light offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the bell. The bell is 26.5 inches high and 36 inches in diameter. One side reads, "Buckeye Bell Foundry," and the other side reads, "E. W. VanDuzen Co., Cincinnati, U.S. Lighthouse Establishment, 1897."

Please help if you can with the ongoing preservation of this historic landmark.

Friends of Doubling Point Light
c/o Joyce G. Spencer
140 Doubling Point Road
Arrowsic, ME 04530-2330
Phone 207-443-8464
Email JAEHS@AOL.com

This attractive station can be seen distantly from the grounds of the Maine Maritime Museum. Some cruises from Bath and Boothbay Harbor pass by.


Keepers: Merritt Pinkham (1898-1931); Charles W. Allen (1931-1933); Karen McLean (Coast Guard (1981-?)

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Last updated 10/10/11
Jeremy D'Entremont. Do not reproduce any images or text from this website without permission of the author.

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