History of the Doubling Point Light

On May 29, 1896, the United States of America purchased a plot of land from Samuel S. Freeman of Arrowsic, Maine. Arrowsic is an island across the Kennebec River from Bath, a city which has often been called "The City of Ships" because of its long history of shipbuilding and its importance in worldwide commerce. Navigation up from the mouth of the Kennebec can be treacherous for large ships.

In 1892 the Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board discussed the need for light and fog signals on the Kennebec River. In 1895 the government took action, and by 1898, four new light stations were established along this lower segment of the Kennebec River: Perkin's Island Light, Squirrel Point Light, the Doubling Point Range Lights , and, of course, Doubling Point Light.

When first built, the Doubling Point Light Station consisted of an octagonal lighthouse, a keeper's dwelling, a small barn, and a fog bell tower. In 1899 the lighthouse was moved from its original foundation to its present location at the end of a long catwalk that extends through the marsh and into the Kennebec River. At the same time, the fog bell was relocated to the lighthouse itself and the fog bell tower was moved to the rear of the property and converted into a garage. The original foundation for the lighthouse tower still lies on a rock ledge at the eastern edge of the station property. In 1901 a boathouse was built, and in 1902, the original lens lantern in the lighthouse was replaced by a state-of-the-art, fifth-order fresnel lens . In 1906 a brick oil house was added, and the station was finally complete.

For nearly forty years Doubling Point Light was manned and maintained by the United States Lighthouse Service (USLHS). During this time, only two keepers served there, Merritt Pinkham (1898-1931) and Charles W. Allen (1931-1935). However, as time passed, the government decided that it would be more efficient to run the Doubling Point Lighthouse from the nearby Range Lights. So on August 13, 1935, the Doubling Point Light Station, with the exception of the lighthouse itself, was sold to a private owner for $2,200. The USLHS continued to maintain the Doubling Point Lighthouse until 1939 when the Coast Guard took over the USLHS. Under Coast Guard management, the lighthouse remained intact for decades. In the mid nineteen-seventies, the fresnel lens was removed from the tower. It is now part of the collection at The Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine. In August 1980 the bell was removed by the Coast Guard. Its current whereabouts is unknown. Please help us solve this mystery! In 1985, the catwalk and the graceful white arches of its railing were replaced with a new walk of unpainted, pressure-treated wood.

Thanks to help from our many members and friends, Friends of the Doubling Point Light raised the $50,000 that was necessary to rebuild the foundation, and keep the lighthouse from falling into the river. During the winter of 2000-2001, the project was completed. In addition, the walkway was rebuilt during the fall of 2000 and was painted during the summer of 2001. It now looks as it did prior to 1985.

Even though the "age of the lighthouse" has passed, it is important that we never lose Doubling Point Light. The light is an historic aid to navigation, warning of two treacherous right-angle turns in the Kennebec and offering protection for ships and boats from a shallow and rocky promontory. It is also a link to our maritime past-- a fact recognized and pursued by Kirk F. Mohney of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. Thanks to his efforts, the Doubling Point Light Station is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.