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
-- 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 1933.
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
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 (?-1933)