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Squirrel Point Light
Arrowsic, Maine
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History
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.

S
quirrel 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 Island.

aerial photo

U.S. Coast Guard photo

Keeper Matthews and his wife

George Matthews, seen here with his wife, was keeper 1898-1912. Courtesy of Mike Wright.

Stanley 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 time later.

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 river.

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 skis.

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.

 Harold Seavey

Harold 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 info@squirrelpoint.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.


lens



The original fifth-order Fresnel lens (left) can now be seen at the Museum at Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.


boathouse

The boathouse in May 2004


Charlotte and Jeremy at lighthouse

Webmaster Jeremy D'Entremont and his wife Charlotte Raczkowski at Squirrel Point Light in 1997.

Keepers: The 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 nelights@gmail.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)

boating local button

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Picaboo


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Last updated 1/2/12
Jeremy D'Entremont. Do not reproduce any images or text from this website without permission of the author.

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