Cape Porpoise is a small coastal village in the town of Kennebunkport, Maine. More than a dozen islands protect the deep, sheltered harbor at Cape Porpoise, and it grew into a busy center for fishing and lobstering.
Goat Island Light Station was established in 1833 to help guide mariners into the harbor. A 20-foot stone tower and dwelling were built, and John Lord of Kennebunk became the first keeper at a salary of $350 per year. In 1859, the tower and house were rebuilt. The brick tower is 25 feet tall with its light 38 feet above mean high water.
In 1990, Goat Island Light became the last lighthouse in Maine to be automated. In 1992, Goat Island was leased to the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust. The light station officially became the property of the trust under the Maine Lights Program in 1998. Since its founding in 1969, the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust has protected about 2800 acres of town land from development.
The Trust has carried out many restoration projects at Goat Island, but it currently faces a new challenge with the failure of the underwater cable that provides electrical power to the island.
There are three guests in this episode, which is the first of two parts. Scott Dombrowski, the island overseer for the trust, has lived on the island much of the time over the past 30 years with his wife, Karen, and their two sons. Tom Bradbury is the executive director of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust. Light Hearted host Jeremy D’Entremont and Bob Trapani, Jr., executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation, met with Scott, Karen, and Tom at the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust headquarters in December.
(Right: Scott and Karen Dombrowski on Goat Island)
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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