This podcast is devoted to lighthouses and lightships, but today’s episode takes a slight detour to a related subject. The U.S. Lifesaving Service is sometimes referred to as a sister service to the Lighthouse Service.
Wood Island is a small island about a quarter of a mile inside the mouth of the Piscataqua River in Kittery, Maine. In the late 1800s, a quarantine hospital was located on the island. A lifesaving station was built on the island in late 1907. The architectural style of the station on Wood Island was the “Duluth Style.” Following World War II, the Coast Guard relocated their operations for Portsmouth Harbor to a new station in New Castle, New Hampshire.
The property on Wood Island languished for six decades and demolition was seriously considered. But in recent years a nonprofit organization, the Wood Island Life Saving Station Association, has been working on a miraculous restoration. Restoration of the exterior of the building and grounds is almost finished and restoration of the interior is progressing quickly. The ultimate plan is for the site to be open to the public as a maritime museum.
“Light Hearted” host Jeremy D’Entremont recently had an in-depth conversation with Sam Reid, Kittery resident and president of the Wood Island Life Saving Station Association. Sam has been the spearhead of the amazing restoration on Wood Island. The interview makes up most of the content of this episode of Light Hearted.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.”