Light Hearted

Light Hearted 197 – Jim & Joyce Spencer, Karen & Dan McLean; Doubling Point Lighthouse, Maine, pt 1 of 2

The city of Bath, Maine, on the Kennebec River, has long been known as the City of Ships. By 1800, Bath’s shipyards were producing vessels used in domestic and international trade. Doubling Point Lighthouse was established in 1898 on the northwest end of Arrowsic Island, at a sharp double bend in the Kennebec River, near the shipyards of Bath. It was one of several aids to navigation built on the river in the same year.

Doubling Point Lighthouse, Maine. In the background is the Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics — one of the largest defense contractors in the world and one of the largest employers in the state of Maine. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

In 1935, the keeper’s house at Doubling Point was sold to a private owner. The keeper at the range light station a short distance away became responsible for both stations. Responsibility for looking after the light later went to the keeper at Squirrel Point Light Station in 1980. Beginning in the early 1980s, Doubling Point Light was again monitored from the Doubling Point Range Lights Station. It became the job of one keeper to look after the Range Lights, Doubling Point Light, and Squirrel Point Light, as well as their fog signals. For a few years, this job was performed by Coast Guard Boatswain Mate Karen McLean, one of a very small number of female Coast Guard lighthouse keepers.

L to R: Dan and Karen McLean; Jim and Joyce Spencer. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

This is part 1 of 2 parts. The guests in this episode are Karen and Dan McLean, who are now taking the lead roles in the Friends of Doubling Point Light organization. Also joining in the interview is Jim Spencer, founder of Friends of Doubling Point Light, and his wife Joyce. Jim and Joyce are the longtime owners and residents of the keeper’s house at Doubling Point. This episode is co-hosted by Bob Trapani, Jr., executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation.

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