Digest>Archives> September 2000

Salute to the Coast Guard: Restored and Solarized Libby Island Light

By Jeremy D'Entremont


Maine’s Libby Island Lighthouse stands at the east entrance to Machias Bay, scene of the American Revolution’s first naval battle. Libby Island is actually two islands connected by a sandbar with a total area of 120 acres. The present 42-foot granite tower was built at the south end of Libby Island in 1822, making it one of New England’s oldest lighthouses. Libby Island is among the foggiest locations on the Maine coast. In 1918 the fog signal was sounded for a total of 1,906 hours, the most of any Maine station.

The U.S. Coast Guard has just completed a major overhaul of the historic structure. The work began this past May under the direction of Civil Engineering Supervisor Chris Ledwith out of Industrial Support Detachment, South Portland, Maine. The white paint was removed from the granite tower, returning the lighthouse to its original look when it was first built. The cupola was painted and some of the lantern glass was replaced, and the lantern deck was restored and repainted. Some re-pointing of the tower’s interior and exterior was also done. The boat slip and a protective wall were also repaired.

The light was converted to solar power as part of the project, eliminating the need for a power cable from shore.

Some of the crew involved in this project were carpenters Hugh Hicks, Mike Trombley, Jim MacKinnon and Craig Smith, electricians Lee Neeman and Al Wilson, mason Buck Bolstridge, and Coast Guardsman Doug Stamper.

Libby Island Light is within the jurisdiction of Chief Preston Logan, Officer in Charge, Aids to Navigation Team, Southwest Harbor, Maine. Under the Maine Lights Program the lighthouse was turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. All of the buildings except the lighthouse tower and fog signal building are now gone.

This story appeared in the September 2000 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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