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Saddleback Ledge Lighthouse

saddleback ledge light

Vinalhaven, Maine
Built in 1839



Location:

Saddelback Ledge light is about 3 miles southeast of Vinalhaven Island, in the Isle au Haut Bay.

Latitude: 44° 00' 54" N
Longitude: 68° 43' 36" W

 

Historic Stories:

Saddleback Ledge Lighthouse is situated on a dangerous rocky ledge halfway between Vinalhaven Island and Isle Au Haut.

In 1836, when the ship, Royal Tar, which was carrying a cargo of circus performers and animals, caught fire and sank near the ledge, it spawned public outcry and petitions for a lighthouse to be built on the ledge three years later.

Many lighthouse keepers have described Saddleback Lighthouse as one of the most remote and barren locations of all Maine’s lighthouses, with Maine’s stormy waves constantly washing over the ledge.

The first keeper was Watson Hopkins who had nine family members living inside the second floor of the tower as the keepers cramped quarters, with no separate dwelling. In 1843, his wife Abigail gave birth to a baby girl at the station and needed transfer to the mainland. On the way to the mainland, the baby was dropped briefly into the icy water, but was quickly pulled out before any serious harm came to her.

Vintage Image with Bell Tower
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Because the ledge was known to be one of the toughest locations to land a boat, in 1885, a derrick with a swinging arm and attached chair was added to help in getting keepers and visitors on and off the difficult rock island for many years.

There have also been occasions where keepers have recorded strange accounts of multitudes of dead birds piled up on the tiny ledge from crashing into the lighthouse tower.

Saddleback Ledge Light was automated in 1954 and the keeper's dwelling was blown up as a Green Beret military exercise in 1960 to reduce maintenance costs. The tower still remains to guide mariners.

 

New England Lighthouses

 

Places to Visit Nearby:

Vinalhaven Island is a large quiet island, predominantly a fishing community that offers plenty of small beaches to relax at and clear spring fed Booth’s and Lawson’s Quarries to swim in. There are plenty of places to hike and picnic along Lane’s Island Preserve, along with various Vinalhaven town parks like Armbrust Hill, Grimes Park, Narrows Park, Isle-Au-Haut Mountain, Tip Toe Mountain, and Arey’s Neck Woods.

 

Contact Info:
Vinalhaven Historical Society

P.O. Box 339
41 High St.
Vinalhaven, ME 04863
Phone: (207) 863-4410


 

Local Boat Tours

Boat cruises and ferries mentioned below may offer many types of cruises. While some may offer specific lighthouse cruises that will pass by Saddelback Ledge Lighthouse, some will pass by the lighthouse on narrated wildlife and historic tours, while ferrying passengers, during sailing adventures, fishing tours, and other types of excursions. Weather is also a major factor in New England, especially on sailing excursions.

 

Matinicus Excursions
Specializing in trips around Matinicus Island, including puffin trips to Matinicus Rock, leaving from Matinicus Island.
Journey's End Marina
120 Tillson Avenue
Rockland, Maine
Phone: (207) 691-9030 (cell phone with voice mail)
Email: gtarkleson@yahoo.com

 

 

Old Quarry Ocean Adventures
Lighthouse cruises offered.
130 Settlement Road
Stonington, Maine 04681
Phone: (207) 367-8977
info@oldquarry.com

 

 

Guided Island Tours
Specific tours to the islands.
Capt. Walt Reed
Deer Isle, Maine 04627
Phone: (207) 348-6789

 

 

Maine State Ferry Service
Ferry to Matinicus Island, Vinalhaven, and Northhaven.
P.O. Box 645
517A Main Street
Rockland, Maine 04841-0645
Phone:. (207) 596-2202
1-800-491-4883

 

 

Schooner Mary Day
Windjammer sailing that included 4 and 6-day lighthouse cruises.
P.O. Box 798, Camden, Maine 04843
Phone: (800) 992-2218
captains@schoonermaryday.com

 

 

Schooner Angelique
Schooner Angelique offers lighthouse and other windjammer tours in the area.
P.O. Box 736
Camden, Maine 04843-0736
Phone: (800) 282-9989
Email: windjam@sailangelique.com

 

Schooner Timberwind
Specializing in family 3, 4, and 6-day cruises carrying up to 20 passengers.
PO. Box 247
Rockport, ME 04856
Phone: 1-800-759-9250
Office: (207) 236-0801
E-mail: info@schoonertimberwind.com

 

 

Schooner Lewis R. French
Oldest active schooner offering 3, 4, and 6-day sailing vacations along Maine’s coast.
PO Box 992
Camden ME 04843
Phone:1-800-469-4635
E-mail: captain@schoonerfrench.com

 

 

 

Scenic Flights

Penobscot Island Air
Chartering a variety of lighthouse viewing flights.
Knox County Regional Airport
Owls Head ME 04854
Phone: (207) 596-7500
Cellular: (207) 542-4944
Fax: (207) 596-6870
 info@penobscotislandair.net

 

 

 

My 300-page book (with over 360 images), Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Northern New England: New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, published by Schiffer Publishing, provides human interest stories from each of the 76 lighthouses, along with plenty of coastal attractions and tours near each beacon, and contact info to plan your special trips.

Look inside!

book northern New England lighthouses and attractions

 

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