Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2006

Wood Island Fogbell

By Sheri Poftak


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The bell as it appears today at Vine’s Landing in ...
Photo by: Sheri Poftak

The fogbell which rang at Wood Island Lighthouse from 1873 to 1890 is on public display at Vine’s Landing in Biddeford Pool, Maine. Records at the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) tell us that this big steel bell was installed at Wood Island in a fogbell tower with a Steven’s striking apparatus in 1873, just one year after the bell was cast in Sheffield, England by Wickers, Sons & Co.

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Holly Burnham with the bell on the island in ...
Photo by: Sheri Poftak

In 1890, this bell was removed from the tower so that a smaller “bell metal” bell could be installed. It was found that the steel bells just didn’t hold up. After being removed, it was apparently placed at the yard of the keeper’s house where it sat for over 85 years.

It was brought to Biddeford Pool by fisherman and harbormaster, Marshall Alexander, on his ship, the DeeDeeMae.

Some controversy took place over the placement and ownership of the bell, but today it is safely mounted at Vine’s Landing, which overlooks Wood Island Lighthouse, the place where the bell began its journey.

This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2006 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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