Squirrel Point Lighthouse is an iconic lighthouse located at the southwestern point of Arrowsic Island on the Kennebec River.
One of the earliest and biggest colonial villages in modern-day Maine was located on the long Arrowsic Island, which is situated on the eastern bank of the Kennebec River. The Kennebec became a more vital river as the number of communities in the region increased. According to the 1892 Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, hundreds of vessels utilize the river annually, necessitating the improvement of navigational aids. The Squirrel Point Lighthouse funds were secured in 1895 and it was completed in 1898 along with a barn, fuel house, and keepers dwelling. The lighthouse proved to be successful and many additional changes came to the lighthouse in order to make navigating the river even easier for vessels.
One of the first changes which occurred at Squirrel Point Lighhouse was the intensity of the light increasing. The lens-lantern was changed to a fifth-order Fresnel lens which was one of the most powerful lights at the time. On the tower, a 1,000-pound fog bell was installed, along with a bell house and weight shaft. An oil house was also added to the station in 1906.
The lighthouse was transferred to the United States Coast Guard in 1939 along with all other US lighthouses. It was automated in 1982. A semi-retired Yarmouth realtor named Mike Trenholm first noticed Squirrel Point Lighthouse in 1993 while cruising by on a bird-watching excursion. The next day, Trenholm approached the Coast Guard about the lighthouse, and after six months of tenacity, a lease was eventually obtained for the property. Having established a nonprofit organization named Squirrel Point Light Associates, Trenholm was given ownership of the lighthouse in 1996 through a congressional act. In 1998, the group was granted the legal ownership to the land with the stipulation that it would be utilized for public educational, historic, recreational, cultural, and wildlife conservation initiatives and would be preserved in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Trenholm tried to sell the lighthouse property in 1998 and received a lot of negative responses considering he got the property for free.
In order to guarantee that Squirrel Point Lighthouse was used and maintained in line with the conditions of its 1998 deed, Citizens for Squirrel Point, a Maine non-profit corporation, was established in April 2003. Early in 2005, U.S. Federal District Judge D. Brock Hornby concurred with Citizens for Squirrel Point and decided that the federal government should regain possession of the lighthouse and the surrounding property. This Coast Guard currently leases the lighthouse to the Citizens for Squirrel Point foundation. The Squirrel Point Lighthouse is still in function and is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. The lens is now a 250mm contemporary model. The Portland Head Lighthouse Museum near Cape Elizabeth, Maine today houses the old fifth-order Fresnel lens. One blow from the automated foghorn occurs every ten seconds. Public visitors are welcome to explore the lighthouse property today.
- Year constructed: 1898
- First lit: 1898
- Construction: Wood tower
- Tower shape: Octagonal
- Height: 25 feet
- Focal height: 25 feet
- Markings: White with a black lantern cap
- Characteristic: Isophase red every six seconds with white sector
- Range: White 8 nautical miles and red 7 nautical miles
- Status: Active
- NRHP number: 87002281
- Address: Bald Head Road
- Town: Arrowsic
- State: Maine
- GPS: Lat 43.8168187 Lng -69.8026525
- Parking notes: There is a small parking area for Squirrel Point Lighthouse located at the end of Bald Head Road. From the parking area, visitors can access the lighthouse by walking the Squirrel Point Lighthouse Trail which is 1.4 miles out and back.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE