Renovation Puts Venerable Lighthouse in Spotlight


The lighthouse at Hockamock head stands out in this view from the water on a summer day.

SWANS ISLAND — Clinging to granite sparsely covered in grass, the Burnt Coat Lighthouse on Hockomock Head has enjoyed increased attention the last eight years. Similar to many Maine lighthouse properties that were automated by the U.S. Coast Guard, it has undergone restorative measures during this period.

But this summer, with the ground floor of the light keeper’s house entirely renovated with historical displays, an increasing number of visitors has those involved in the restoration effort scrambling to keep up.

“Every year, there has been something new to see,” said John Bryan, an architectural historian and part-time resident of the island who headed the town’s lighthouse committee.

“But this summer, we had 1,000 visitors.” That’s roughly three times the number of year-round residents. “That is three times the amount of visitors we expected,” said Mr. Bryan.

Lighthouses Spotlighted in Upcoming Event

SWANS ISLAND — Showcasing more than $100,000 in recent repairs, the Burnt Coat Lighthouse property on Swans Island will be among 22 coastal sentinels open to the public for the fourth annual Open Lighthouse Day on Sept. 15. Read more

The light keeper’s house has been the focus of most of the recent restoration efforts, with a new foundation, a new roof, and restored exteriors and interiors. Since 2004, the Friends of the Swans Island Lighthouse (FOSIL) has raised and spent more than $320,000 on the property, with $100,000 spent since 2008.

In addition to improvements made to the physical structures, there were two miles of trails recently created. “It loops around the headland and goes along both the harbor and outer coast,” said Mr. Bryan. “It is really spectacular.” Parts of the paths are handicap accessible as well. Trails were installed by “hundreds of volunteers.”

For more community news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.

Fenceviewer Staff

Fenceviewer Staff

Fenceviewer Staff

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