|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.
Squirrel 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 later.
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
- U.S. Coast Guard photo
George Matthews, seen here with his wife, was keeper 1898-1912. Courtesy of Mike Wright.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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
Webmaster Jeremy D'Entremont and
his wife Charlotte Raczkowski at Squirrel Point Light in 1997.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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)