Port Clyde, one of the villages
that comprise the town of St. George, became a busy port in the
1800s with granite quarries, tide mills for sawing timber, shipbuilding
facilities, and fish canning businesses. The area later became
a magnet for writers and artists. Sara Orne Jewett's popular
book The Country of the Pointed Firs was written in St.
Port Clyde's harbor, sheltered by Hooper Island (also known
as Hupper Island), was originally known as Herring Gut. Marshall
Point, Port Clyde's southernmost extremity, is at the east side
of the southern entrance to the harbor.
- Marshall Point Light with the original
keeper's house, prior to 1895
- U.S. Coast Guard photo
To help mariners entering Port Clyde's harbor or passing to
the west into Muscongus Bay, Congress appropriated $4000 for
a light station at Marshall Point in March 1831. The rubblestone
lighthouse tower, completed in 1832, was 20 feet high to the
The tower and adjacent one-and-one-half-story stone
dwelling ere built at a cost of $2973.17. The first keeper was
John Watts, a veteran of the War of 1812. Watts's son, Joshua,
took over as keeper in 1835 and stayed until 1839.
The extant 31-foot brick and granite lighthouse was built
in 1857. The cylindrical tower is 24 feet from its base to the
lantern deck. The lower half is constructed of granite, and the
upper half is brick. The new lighthouse was fitted with a fifth-order
Fresnel lens showing a fixed white light.
A bell tower with a 1,000-pound bell was added to the station
in 1898. The fog bell remained in use until it was replaced by
a horn in 1969.
- U.S. Coast Guard photo
|(Above and left: views of the station after the keeper's house was rebuilt in 1895.)|
The bell was returned to Marshall Point in the
late 1980s and is now on display near the keeper's house.
The original 1832 keeper's house stood until 1895, when it
was destroyed by a fire caused by lightning.
The Colonial Revival house built
that year still stands. It had a water cistern that held 1,500
gallons; the cistern has since been removed
Charles Clement Skinner, a Maine native and Civil War veteran,
was the keeper from 1874 to 1919, an unusually long stint at
a single light station. Skinner's first wife, Alfreda (Colby),
had died in 1871, and he married Alfreda's younger sister Arvilla
in the same year he moved to Marshall Point.
Skinner's daughter, Eula Kelley, was born in the first keeper's
house in 1891. She lived until 1993, spending her last years
in a cottage nearby the light station.
Eula's sister, Marion Dalrymple, was born in the new keeper's
house in 1895. Both sisters attended the opening of the restored
keeper's house in 1990.
- Keeper Charles Clement Skinner. Courtesy
of Marshall Point Lighthouse Museum.
The light was converted to electricity in 1935. When the light
was automated in 1971, the Fresnel lens was removed and replaced
by a modern plastic lens equipped with backup battery power.
Also in 1971, a LORAN station was located in the keeper's house.
This station sent a 128,000 watt signal over a range of 14,000
square miles. In 1980 the equipment was outdated and the house
was boarded up.
In 1986, the St. George Historical Society undertook the restoration
of the house. A committee raised money and the restoration was
completed in 1990. The first floor now houses the Marshall
Point Lighthouse Museum. The exhibits highlight area
history as well as life at Marshall Point.
The second floor apartment was occupied from 1989 to 2002
by Lee Ann and Tom Szelog. Lee Ann wrote a letter to the St.
George Historical Society explaining why the couple should be
chosen to be "keepers."
Tom Szelog is a photographer whose photos of Marshall Point
and other lighthouses have graced the covers of Down East
and other publications. He once said, "This is a remarkable
place. Every time I go out to take another picture I realize
how lucky I am to live here."
Remember the scene in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump when
Tom Hanks ended his cross-country run at a lighthouse? That was
Marshall Point. A picture of Hanks at the lighthouse hangs in
Bob Ensor and Jane Scarpino published a book about Ensor's
pet, Nellie the Lighthouse Dog, featuring Marshall Point
Light. The book and a sequel have been very popular.
The lighthouse is still an active Coast Guard aid to navigation.
Under the Maine Lights Program, the entire station, including
the lighthouse, became the property of the Town of St. George
in April 1998.
- The original 1857 ventilator ball
and lightning rod are in the Marshall Point Lighthouse Museum.
You can visit the lighthouse and grounds all year; the museum
is open from May to October. You can also view Marshall Point
Light from the Port Clyde-Monhegan Island ferry.
For more information, or to help with the maintenance of Marshall
Point Light and the Marshall Point Lighthouse Museum, contact:
- Marshall Point
- Marshall Point Road
- P.O. Box 247
- Port Clyde, Maine 04855
- (207) 372-6450
list is a work in progress. If you have any information on the keepers
of this lighthouse, I'd love to hear from you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone copying this list onto another web site does so at their own
risk, as the list is always subject to updates and corrections.)
John Watts (1832-1835);
Joshua Watts (1835-1839); William Perry, Jr. (1839-?); Daniel
Bartlett (?-1843); William Battle (1843-1845); ? Alexander (1845-1849);
Samuel Hart (1849-1853); Orram Prescott (1853-1857 and 1861-1868);
Ruggles Tory (1857-1861); Seth B. Prescott (1868-1874); Charles
C. Skinner (1874-1919); Joseph M. Gray (c, 1920-1921); Edward
H. Pierce (1923-1933); Charles Allen (1933-1946); Wilson Carter
(U.S. Coast Guard, 1946-1952); Ralph Banks (U.S. Coast Guard,
1952-1963); ? (U.S. Coast Guard, 1963-1967), Rodney Drown (U.S.
Coast Guard, 1967-1968); Lewis Carmichael, Jr. (U.S. Coast Guard,1968-1970);
William Boddy (U.S. Coast Guard, 1970-1971).
- This keeper's list is displayed in
the Marshall Point Lighthouse Museum.