Grand Manan is a Canadian island in the Bay of Fundy, about seven miles east of West Quoddy Head in Lubec, Maine. Swallowtail Lighthouse was built on a peninsula at the northeastern corner of the island in response to a number of shipwrecks. The lighthouse began service in 1860 and is one of the oldest wooden lighthouses still in operation. The light station was automated and destaffed in the 1980s. In 2012, the property was turned over to the Village of Grand Manan. A community group called the Swallowtail Keepers Society has a long-term lease to care for the light station. The interior of the lighthouse has been converted into a museum.
Marine biologist Laurie Murison and her husband Ken Ingersoll spearheaded the initial fundraising for the Swallowtail Keepers Society and the formation of the museum in the tower. Ken Ingersoll is now the volunteer keeper for Swallowtail and also Long Eddy Light on Grand Manan. He’s also one of the country’s few remaining keepers still working for the Canadian Coast Guard, at Machias Seal Island Light Station.
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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