|In 1717, the ship Squirrel
brought Samuel Shute, the royal governor of Massachusetts, to Arrowsic
Island on the Kennebec River to renew a peace treaty with the local
Indians. The ship ran aground but was later refloated, and the incident
was memorialized in the name given to the location: Squirrel Point.
Point Light, on Arrowsic Island, is one of several aids to navigation
authorized in 1895 and erected in 1898 on the Kennebec River, a
bustling waterway at the time. The 25-foot wooden tower is very similar
to the lighthouses built at nearby Doubling Point and Perkins Island.
The Victorian keeper's house, garage and barn were all built along with
the tower in 1898. The boathouse and oil house were added a few years
George Matthews, the first keeper, was in charge until 1912. He had
previously been an assistant keeper at Whitehead Light in Maine. Later
keepers included Arthur V. Smith and Clarence Skolfield, who was the
last civilian keeper. Skolfield also served at two other stations in
the vicinity, at Seguin Island and Perkins Island.
U.S. Coast Guard photo
Matthews, seen here with his wife, was keeper 1898-1912. Courtesy of
Reynolds and his wife had two children born at the light station during
their stay in the 1950s. Tragedy struck in 1955 when their
three-year-old son, Scotty, fell into the river and drowned. The
Reynolds, who went on to have 12 children, left Squirrel Point a short
The last resident Coast Guard keeper was Joseph
Robicheau, who lived at Squirrel Point with his wife, Leanne, and their
two daughters. The Robicheaus endured a memorable Christmas in 1980,
with when the wind chill at was 50 below zero. To reach their car, a
mile away through the woods, so they could get to their planned
Christmas dinner, the family bundled up and boarded a snowmobile, with
a sled in tow for the two little girls.
The light was automated in the early 1980s and the
fifth-order Fresnel lens was removed and replaced by a modern optic.
For some time after that, the light was monitored by the keeper at the
Kennebec River (Doubling Point) Range Light Station, a few miles up the
Beginning in February 1982, Karen McLean, one of a very
few female Coast Guard lighthouse keepers, was in charge of the that
range light station as well as the stations at Squirrel Point and
Doubling Point. When the foghorn was needed at Squirrel Point, McLean
had to tramp through the one-mile path in the woods from her car to
reach the station. In winter the trip sometimes required cross-country
Mike Trenholm, a semi-retired real estate dealer from
Yarmouth, Maine, first saw Squirrel Point Light while on a cruise on
the Kennebec River in 1993. Three years later he formed a nonprofit
organization, Squirrel Point Associates, Inc. He was granted the
five-acre station by the Coast Guard in 1998. The deed required that
Squirrel Point be "used for educational, historic, recreational,
cultural and wildlife conservation programs for the general public" and
that it be "maintained in a manner consistent with the provisions of
the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966."
Trenholm put some work into the property, including
putting new wiring, heating and plumbing in the keeper's house. He
hoped to establish an educational facility at Squirrel Point Light
Station, but health problems got in the way.
A new group called Citizens for Squirrel Point (CSP)
formed to ensure that the light station would be used and maintained in
accordance with federal, state, and local laws, as well as the
covenants in the 1998 deed from the U.S. government. In August 2003,
the Citizens for Squirrel Point filed suit in federal district court.
In February 2005, a federal judge ruled in CSP’s favor.
All rights, title, and interest in Squirrel Point Light Station thus
reverted to the U.S. government.
E. Seavey was keeper at Squirrel Point from 1937 into the 1950s.
Courtesy of Ellen Teschler, Michael Howard, and Patricia Howard
In February 2008, the Chewonki
Foundation signed a 15-year license to manage the light station
property. The foundation offers a broad array of environmental
education, natural history, conservation, and wilderness programs.
Donations toward restoration can be sent to Citizens
for Squirrel Point c/o Susan Lubner, Treasurer, 51 Bedford
St., Bath, ME 04530. Anyone interested in volunteering should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The light station is accessible via a 2/3-mile trail at the
end of Bald Head Road in Arrowsic. It is surrounded by conservation
lands managed by the Division of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the
Nature Conservancy. The attractive little light station can also be
viewed from cruises leaving Bath and Boothbay Harbor, and it can be
seen from across the river in Phippsburg.
The original fifth-order
Fresnel lens (left) can now be seen at the Museum at Portland Head
Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
The boathouse in May 2004
D'Entremont and his wife Charlotte Raczkowski at Squirrel Point Light
following list of keepers is not complete. It is a work in progress,
and any additional information is welcomed and appreciated; you can
email me at email@example.com. If you copy this list to another site,
you do so at your own risk. I can't guarantee its accuracy.
George Matthews (1898-1912), Arthur V. Smith (?), Harold E.
Seavey (1937-195?), Stanley C. Reynolds (195?-1955), Clarence Skolfield
(1955-1956), Charles Burns (1970-1972), Joseph Robicheau (Coast Guard,
May 1980 - November 1981)