Pemaquid Point, with its dramatic streaks of granite reaching to the sea, squeezed and shaped by massive movements thousands of years ago, would be a fascinating place to visit even without its pretty white lighthouse. The spot is one of the most visited attractions of the Maine coast, receiving about 100,000 visitors each year.
Pemaquid Point was the scene of many shipwrecks through the centuries, including the 1635 wreck of the British ship Angel Gabriel. Five people died in the wreck, and all 100 on board lost their belongings. With marine trade, fishing, and the shipping of lumber increasing in midcoast Maine
Congress appropriated $4,000 for the building of a lighthouse at Pemaquid Point in 1826 to mark the entrances to Muscongus Bay and John Bay.
The land was purchased from Samuel and Sarah Martin for $90. Thomaston bricklayer Jeremiah Berry was contracted to build the tower. Isaac Dunham of Bath, later a keeper at Minot's Ledge Light, was the first keeper at $350 per year.
Dunham and many of his successors kept a small farm by the lighthouse, producing food and supplementary income.
In 1869, $25 worth of eggs were sold by the keeper at Pemaquid Point.
The original stone tower didn't last long, possibly because Jeremiah Berry may have used salt water to mix his lime mortar. The second contract stipulated that only fresh water was to be used.
A new 38-foot stone tower was built in 1835 by Joseph Berry, a mason from Georgetown. Keeper Dunham signed a statement, vouching, "... I will venture to say, a better tower and lantern never was built in the state."
The original 10 lamps and reflectors were replaced by a fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1856. The original stone keeper's house was replaced by a wooden dwelling during the following year.
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