On March 3, 1821, Congress appropriated $10,500 for three lighthouses on the Maine coast, one of them on five-acre Burnt Island at the west side of the entrance to Boothbay Harbor. In 1988, the station was automated and destaffed. A decade later, Burnt Island Light Station was transferred to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Elaine Jones, education director for the department since 1991, was named the director of the facility.
It was Elaine’s vision to transform the island into an educational and recreational facility for Maine’s residents and its visitors. She has been honored with a 2019 Keeper of the Light Award by the American Lighthouse Foundation and a 2016 Visionary Award by the by the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. Also interviewed in this episode is Russ Katje, a U.S. Lighthouse Society Hall of Fame Lighthouse Passport Program stamp collector.
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.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org