From the entrance [of Eggemoggin Reach] at Pumpkin Island
out again at the Devil's Head, no sail could be more charmingly
diversified, more full of scenic surprises, or more free from
actual or hidden dangers. One cannot look in any direction without
seeing some new picture.
-- Samuel Adams Drake, The Pine Tree Coast,
Congress authorized the building
of a lighthouse on tiny Pumpkin Island in 1852. The light in
eastern Penobscot Bay marks the south side of the northwestern
entrance to the body of water known as Eggemoggin Reach, which
provides passage from Penobscot Bay to Jericho Bay and Blue Hill
Bay. In the nineteenth century, this area was heavily traveled
by vessels carrying lumber as well as summer pleasure craft.
- Pumpkin Island Light c. 1870s, with
its original lantern (U.S. Coast Guard)
Construction was at first delayed because of difficulties
obtaining the needed property. The light went into service on
Januaty 1, 1855, and the first keeper -- at $350 yearly -- was
J. C. Tibbetts, who stayed until 1861. The station consists of
a 25-foot brick tower and a 1 1/2-story Colonial Cape keeper's
house, attached to the tower by a work shed.. The lantern held
a fifth-order Fresnel lens, one of the earliest Fresnel lenses
in Maine. An oil house was added in 1904; an 1885 boathouse was
enlarged in 1906.
In 1889, the lighthousewas fitted with a new lantern, increasing
its height by three feet.
Charles Leroy Babson, a native of Brooklin, Maine, was keeper
from 1870 to 1902. Babson had received a gunshot wound in the
Civil War that led to the amputation of his left leg.
In 1909, the original lens was replaced by another fifth-order
lens. The light was discontinued and the station was destaffed
In 1934, Pumpkin Island Light was one of several of Maine
lighthouses that were discontinued and put up for auction by
the government. George Harmon of Bar Harbor bought the station
along with two others. Since then the island has passed through
several private owners.
- U.S. Coast Guard
An automatic beacon near Pumpkin Island continues today as
an aid to navigation. You can get a good view by turning right
on Eggemoggin Road just after crossing the bridge from the north
to Little Deer Isle and continuing to the end.
Some of the schooners out of Rockland, Rockport, and Camden
occasionally pass nearby.
Keepers: John Chester Tibbetts (1854-1861);
J. G. Walker (1861-1864); Joshua Snow (1864-1870); Charles L.
Babson (1870-1902); Charles H. Newman (c. 1920s); F. A. Rumery