Digest>Archives> May 2003

A Bridge to a Brighter Future

By Jeremy D'Entremont

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Ram Island Lighthouse with no walkway in 1997.
Photo by: Jeremy D'Entremont

Ram Island Light Station, in Fisherman’s Passage at the entrance to Maine’s Boothbay Harbor, is looking like its old self again with the recent addition of a walkway from the shore to the tower.

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The new walkway at Ram Island. Courtesy of the ...

After more than three quarters of a century of keepers and families living at the station, Ram Island Light was automated in 1965. In 1977 the Coast Guard repaired the lighthouse and removed the walkway, which had fallen into disrepair. In 1983 the keeper’s house was scheduled to be destroyed when the Grand Banks Schooner Museum Trust, associated with the Boothbay Railway Museum, stepped in and leased the station except for the tower. The Ram Island Preservation Society, part of the Grand Banks Schooner Museum Trust, has restored the house in recent years.

Under the Maine Lights Program in 1998 the entire station including the lighthouse tower was transferred to the Grand Banks Schooner Museum Trust, while the light itself is still maintained by the Coast Guard. Robert Ryan, executive director of the Trust, says, “As a museum we had no knowledge of the light tower and knew nothing of the perpetual responsibilities. We also had no way to gain access that would be needed for a proper maintenance program.”

These pressing concerns led to the reconstruction of the walkway from the shore to the tower in late 2002. “We are very excited about having access to the tower,” says Ryan, “and we also anticipate that the Coast Guard will appreciate the easier entry to their navigation light.”

More work is planned. Says Ryan, “We will eventually install a door in the tower - the original is in the basement of the house - and begin the assessment of the tower condition. I expect this process to be slow because of time, weather and funding.”

To learn more about the lighthouse visit the Lighthouse Depot Explorer database at www.LHdepot.com/explorer.cfm

This story appeared in the May 2003 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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