Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2021

The Last Children


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This Coast Guard staged photo showing the Reed ...

The last children born to a lighthouse family stationed at Maine’s Pond Island Lighthouse were Steve and Lynne Reed, the children of Coast Guard light keeper Bruce Reed and his wife Marjorie.

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Steve and Lynne Reed have the distinction of ...

The Pond Island Lighthouse officially went into operation on November 1, 1821 at the west side of the mouth of the Kennebec River near Pomham Beach, Maine. When the Reed family arrived at Pond Island Lighthouse in 1954, they soon discovered that they did not have the modern amenities that most other lighthouses had received by the 1950s. There was no electricity, and kerosene lamps had to be used for light. The plumbing in the house consisted of a lonely hand pump in the kitchen that only drew cold water from the cistern that had collected rain water from the roof. They were provided with an unsafe gasoline powered washing machine, and a kerosene refrigerator, which sometimes froze everything in it. 

The old dilapidated and smelly out­house stood twenty feet away from the keeper’s house. It could be quite a project getting to it in storms, especially those accompanied by high winds. Bruce Reed later recounted, “Our first summer there (just before our son was born) we had a big hurricane. Knowing that winter was coming and we’d have to brave the elements (near zero temperatures and snow drifts) to get to the outhouse, I took action. I pushed that rickety outhouse into the sea.” He blamed the hurricane on its loss. He went on to say, “We were thrilled when the Coast Guard supplied us with a brand-new chemical toilet inside the building.”

Despite all the inconveniences and problems of raising infants under these conditions, which included the trips ashore in the rowboat, The Reeds loved their isolated life at Pond Island.

In 1957, Bruce Reed was transferred to Maine’s Nubble Lighthouse, which wasn’t as remote, but was also somewhat isolated.

This story appeared in the May/Jun 2021 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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