The following information about the lighthouse and how it is being preserved today is provided by Beacon Preservation.
Goose Rocks Lighthouse History
Goose Rocks Light was established in 1890 at the eastern entrance to the Fox Islands Thoroughfare, a busy waterway between Vinalhaven and North Haven islands. The Fox Islands, over 50 in all, were named by explorer Martin Pring after the silver foxes that were common there. Goose Rocks Light is a typical "sparkplug" style cast-iron lighthouse of the era, built on a round cast-iron caisson filled with concrete. The tower, which has three stories inside, originally had a fourth-order Fresnel lens. The tower was painted red until 1903; today the caisson is painted black and the tower is white.
The light was automated in 1963. After automation, for a time there were local people, called "lamplighters," employed to control the fog signal at the lighthouse.
According to Samuel Beverage of the North Haven Historical Society, "Alton Calderwood and his wife, Annie, also Elmer Carver and daughter Marion (Carver) Hopkins served as lamplighters. They lived at Little Thoroughfare not far from the light and were aware of the fog conditions."
The Fresnel lens was removed; there is currently a modern 250 mm optic. The light is now solar powered.
The lighthouse was expected to be turned over to the town of North Haven or a local organization under the Maine Lights Program in the 1990s, but there were no applicants. In June 2004, it was announced that the lighthouse would be transferred to a suitable new owner under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. In 2006, the high bidder was Beacon Preservation, Inc. of Ansonia, Connecticut.
Goose Rocks can accommodate up to 6 guests for an all-day or overnight visit as a token of appreciation to those who support our mission of lighthouse preservation. Donations to Beacon Preservation fund 100% of its expensive restoration and upkeep, encouraging us to make Goose Rocks available to those whose financial support provide the foundation for lighthouse survival. Such dedication to lighthouse preservation is often accompanied by a strong desire to experience a real “slice of lighthouse life” with a prolonged visit, offering visitors a chance to absorb the beauty of the Fox Islands as the Goose Rocks lighthouse keepers did for nearly 80 years.
In the past, minimum donations were established and pro-rated according to demand in the most popular months, in an effort to offer a full range of services and amenities to our supporter-guests and maximize our ability to maintain Goose Rocks for future generations. However, after three years of allowing donation-based keeper's experiences, we have realized that ongoing restoration of Goose Rocks cannot occur according to schedule (i.e., in the summer months) if the lighthouse is constantly occupied.
It has also become apparent that a few hundred dollars, while tremendously appreciated, barely covers the cost of the experience; sadly, with rising costs of staffing, boat maintenance and fuel, offshore housekeeping and laundry, Beacon only realizes 20% of each donation towards its preservation funds. Our contractors and volunteers are frustrated because they can't have a long enough stretch of time to complete a project with keepers coming and going every few days. Although keepers' experiences have traditionally been our way of saying “thank you” for your contribution and support, a cost-benefit analysis indicates that Beacon needs to temporarily cut back the number of stays for 2011, emphasize our serious need for restoration funds, and get the Goose Rocks solar power system, kitchen, and bathroom finished. We hope to return to our "sliding scale" donation scheme in 2012.
For summer 2011, we are launching a campaign dubbed "Thirty Points of Light." Our goal is to find thirty angels willing to donate a minimum of $1000 for a keeper's experience. By limiting the number of stays to only 30, and establishing a $1000 donation as the benchmark for our committed keepers, we can finally purchase the much-needed equipment and contractor-labor needed to complete the Goose Rocks preservation project. Remember, your donation is tax-deductible, and it is important that keepers truly understand that each donation is exactly that: you are not buying accommodation, you are preserving a lighthouse. A generous and charitable ethos is the key to enjoying a wonderful experience at Goose Rocks.
For more information or to arrange your unique lighthouse stay:
179 Main Street
North Haven, ME 04853