For more than 100 years, Cuckolds Island Fog Signal and Light Station has served as a navigational aid to mariners traveling to and from Boothbay Harbor. Throughout that time, the United States Coast Guard (USGC) has operated and maintained the signal and light – both now automated – but the boathouse and keeper’s house were dismantled in the mid 1970s. The island, then designated by the USCG as “surplus property,” came under the management of the National Park Service.
In 2004, a non-profit group spearheaded by Southport residents raised funds to acquire the lease from the National Park Service and, as the History of Cuckolds Light Station at innatcuckoldslighthouse.com records, applied to rebuild “the keeper’s house and boathouse to historical specifications but with the benefit of modern materials and building techniques.”
Thus, for the past 16 years the light station has been in the care of Cuckolds Fog Signal and Light Station Council (CFSLSC), which built the boathouse and keepers’ quarters and created the Inn At Cuckolds Lighthouse.
The inn closed in 2019 and since then has been deserted, save for the occasional caretaking visit from the USCG and Park Service. Late in 2019, CFSLSC offered the lease to various interested parties. Both Boothbay Region Land Trust and the Burnt Island Association turned down the opportunity, but cousins Ed Green and Gerry Gamage established a new non-profit effort to take on the lease.
“Sadly, Ed passed away but with co-directors Bruce White and Michael Warren, we’ve carried on,” said Gamage.
“We’re called Friends of the Cuckolds Light Station and we were granted non-profit status at the end of June,” he said. “We’re about to submit our application to the National Parks Service to take over the lease.”
The group’s goal, Gamage continued, is to open the island to the public, to offer educational and recreational programs in summer and maintain the buildings and systems for future generations. “We estimate that we’ll need an annual budget of between $50,000 and $75,000,” said Gamage. “But we want the island to be accessible to everyone, so we’ll be dependent on donations.”
As part of the application to the National Park Service, Friends is looking for letters of support from the public. “We’re not just fundraising. The application process is stringent and requires demonstrations of technical, structural, consulting, educational, physical and financial support.”
If the bid is successful, Friends of Cuckolds Light Station hopes to be welcoming visitors back to the island next summer.
For more information or to offer support, contact Friends of Cuckolds Light Station, c/o Gerry Gamage, 4 Richardson Road, Southport, ME 04576 or at firstname.lastname@example.org