Maine Lighthouses - Documentation of Their Past


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Maine Lighthouses: Documentation of Their Past is based almost entirely on primary sources. 

Some 67 light stations with resident keepers were built to aid shipping along Maine's rocky coastline between 1791 when the tower at Portland Head was lit, and 1910, when the last traditional lighthouse was completed at Whitlock Mills. The rich maritime heritage of the United States is abundantly apparent in the history of Maine. Many settlers and later residents of Maine relied on the sea for their livelihood. Ships were vital to the fishing, granite, lime, lumber, and shipbuilding industries that thrived in Maine's early coastal communities. Later, numerous steamships carried passengers in Maine's growing tourist trade. 

Maine Lighthouses: Documentation of Their Past differs from other books about Maine lights in being based almost entirely on primary sources. The authors combed the lighthouse collection in the National Archives for the original records that clarify how the site was selected, the construction of the tower and auxiliary buildings, the appointment of keepers, the damage to the station done by weather, and the repairs and reconstruction needed as the decades slid by. Logbooks tell us about the daily lives of keepers; correspondence with the engineers and inspection reports detail the physical evolution of each station; and communication with Federal officials indicates how the Lighthouse Establishment was administered. 

This expertly researched and interesting book describes the story of Maine's lighthouses by providing transcripts of actual letters and logs, wonderful historical images, endnotes, a comprehensive bibliography, an index and an appendix that lists all of Maine's historical light stations. This book should be part of any persons library who is interested in the history of lighthouses and the U.S. Lighthouse Service. 

by: J. Candace Clifford & Mary Louise Clifford