Being stationed at Maine’s Matinicus Rock Lighthouse, 24 miles out to sea from the mainland, meant many different things to the modern era Coast Guard keepers who were stationed there. Although their life was much different than the early keepers of yesteryear, many aspects of life there were the same. The primary difference was is that, in the Coast Guard era, the lighthouse was a stag station, no longer deemed suitable for family life.
Pat West, a young Coast Guardsman who was stationed there from June of 1975 to December of 1976 recently shared a number of photos with us from his time out there. Although they were remote, living conditions at Matinicus Rock was pretty good for the men compared to the early lighthouse keepers who did not have the amenities that the modern keepers had.
Pat recalled that the keeper’s house was kept so immaculate that the men were not allowed to wear their shoes in the house. There was always plenty of maintenance work to do, mainly because of the exposed location of the lighthouse that constantly suffered damage from the wind, salt air, and storms that would often sweep waves and water over the rocky outpost.
In the birding season the crew worked with members of the Audubon Society monitoring the terns and puffins, and they sometimes cared for the less fortunate or injured ones.
Today Matinicus Rock Lighthouse is maintained as a bird sanctuary that is owned by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
This story appeared in the
Nov/Dec 2015 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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