Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Lighthouse and a Fort

Sunday was our final day in Maine so after breakfast at the Cupboard Cafe (huge sticky buns and cinnamon rolls that had people standing in line for a half hour) Denny and I explored a little bit of the area around Bristol, Maine. Our first stop was the Pemaquid Point lighthouse. Because yes, we like lighthouses.Originally built in 1827, something went wrong with the structure so it had to be rebuilt in 1835. The lightkeeper's house had the same problem but today both look as they did in the early 1800s. The Pemaquid lighthouse's lantern stands 48 feet above ground and 79 feet above sea level and has a range of 14 nautical miles. Because there is a lot of fog over the ocean, a bell tower was built in 1897 to house a hand operated fog bell. The fog bell was replaced the following year with a steam engine operated fog bell which also only lasted one year before being replaced with a Stevens striking machine which used lead weights to operate the bell, thus the need for the tall tower to house the weights. On foggy days, the lightkeeper would crank the weights to the top of the bell tower and the bell would toll at regular intervals for a period of six to eight hours while the weights slowly sank down, rather like the weights of a cuckoo clock.You will note that Denny does not like to have his picture taken.
But since I wanted to show the size of the magma flow in the granite rocks I took his picture more than once.
There is a tiny museum inside the lightkeepers house, as well as a small visitor center and an art gallery on the grounds. There is a $2 per person parking fee but there is no fee to enter the lighthouse, museum or visitor center although donations are accepted.

A mounted 28 pound lobster on display in the Fishermen's museum at the lighthouse.The lighthouse, the bell tower and bell tower building (and bell).
The Atlantic Ocean was very calm this Sunday morning.After enjoying the views and the fresh sea air Denny and I decided to stop at the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site in Bristol. The site was settled in the late 17th century and the Fort William Henry that has been partially reconstructed was the second fort built on the grounds. What you see today are part of the foundation of the fort plus the rebuilt bastion which now houses some interpretive displays and allows a nice view of John's Bay from the roof. The Fort House has a gift shop, some interpretive displays and a parlor furnished with periods pieces. Further down there is an early cemetery and the visitor center and museum. The cost for us to wander the grounds as non-Maine residents was $1/senior and $3/adult.Pemaquid was settled somewhere around 1625 and thus was one of the earliest of the English settlements. The people living here prospered due to the abundant fishing, the fur trade, timber and agriculture. However, the settlement had to be abandoned twice due to Colonial wars since there were no adequate defenses in place, which is why a fort was eventually built. The first fort, Fort Charles, was thought to be strong enough to defend against the French and any invading troops, but the Native Americans soon proved them wrong. Pemaquid was abandoned for the next three years. Fort William Henry was built in 1692 and was extraordinary in the sense that Massachusetts Governor Sir William Phips spent two thirds of the colony's budget to build it. Stone walls ten to twenty two feet high were constructed and the bastion was built to a height of twenty-nine feet. Thought to be impervious to attack by the Native American tribes, the engineers were wrong, because a poor quality mortar was used and the fort was destroyed in 1696 when Native Americans once more attacked the soldiers housed within. A third fort was built in 1729 but was decommissioned in 1759 and in 1775 the local residents voted to destroy the fort to keep it from being occupied by the British troops during the American Revolution.

When Denny and I were up on the roof of the bastion, we noticed this huge building across the bay and asked one of the rangers if it was a hotel. It turns out this is the summer cottage of a wealthy family who she declined to name. I have nothing to show the scale of this mansion, but suffice to say, it's huge.

This was a wonderful way to spend our final day in Maine.

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1 comment:

Arkansas Patti said...

Aw, I am sorry you are leaving one of my favorite states.
I thought it really interesting that the Indians could take down such a fort with primitive weapons. It really must have been poorly built.

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