SULLIVAN — A curious local landmark on Falls Point overlooking Taunton Bay was toppled last week.
The eight-story tower modeled after a lighthouse and visible over the trees to passers-by on Route 1 was brought down by Elliott Jordan & Son Inc. The logging company stuck to its roots when it came to demolition.
“We notched it like a tree, and made a back cut,” according to a company Facebook post.
“Not every day you get a chance to cut down an 80-foot-tall lighthouse.”
The demolished tower had extensive rot.
According to Sullivan’s 2018 real estate tax commitment book, the property on which the tower sat is owned by Sullivan Falls LLC of Portland. The parcel includes 20.85 acres valued at $1,035,800 and buildings valued at $247,700. Total 2018 taxes were $16,749.68
A 2016 property listing by the Knowles Co. says “the view from the tower’s observation deck is splendid, offering 360-degree vistas of the mountains of Acadia, the tidal falls and the Sullivan Bridge.”
There is also a log cabin on the property.
The tower was built in the late 1980s, according to Sullivan Tax Collector and Treasurer Lynn Dunbar, who watched it go up. She remembers meeting the former owner, the late Lawrence Keddy of Windham, who died in 2000.
“If I remember correctly, he always liked lighthouses,” Dunbar said. “His plan was for each floor to be a room.”
She said the interior was never finished, however.
“You had to climb ladders to get to the top,” Dunbar said. “His plan was to put in an elevator.”
Keddy flew his own helicopter on visits to Sullivan. An animal lover, he would bring his dogs along and feed the local wildlife. A businessman and the owner of several Maine hydroelectric projects, according to news accounts, Keddy was also president of the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals.
“He was, as I understand it, a very, very cool guy,” said Sullivan Town Manager Rob Eaton.
A 2009 Down East Magazine story said Keddy was a “multimillionaire industrialist who owned mills, manufacturing plants and hydroelectric stations around the state.” As a young man, he redesigned the noses of World War II bombs for the Defense Department, according to the story.
A 2007 newsletter from the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals included a tribute to “Maine’s Unsung Philanthropist,” calling Keddy a “self-made man, whose engineering creativity and unselfish nature shaped his life’s work.”
The piece said Keddy avoided the public spotlight and “never sought or received recognition for his munificence.”
He has received posthumous recognition. This past fall, the society, which takes in neglected or abused horses, opened the Lawrence J. Keddy and Marilyn L. Goodreau Equine Rehabilitation Facility in Windham. Nearly $2 million in funding for the project came from a foundation Keddy founded that went out of business and donated its assets to the society.
Dunbar thinks locals will miss the “lighthouse” Keddy built.
“I know sometimes when you come across the [Sullivan] bridge and the light is just right, it almost looked like there was a light in the top of it,” she said.