by T. Duplain
Owl’s Head Lighthouse sits on top of a hill that is just south of Rockland, Maine. It is located at the southern tip of the Rockland Harbor. It sits 100 feet above the sea and is a mere thirty feet tall. Though the lighthouse and keeper’s house are property of the United States Coast Guard, the grounds are open to the public. The name Owl’s Head, comes from the two indentations in the headlands that look like owl’s eyes.
In the eighteen hundreds, the lime trade in Rockland had grown so much that it was necessary to put in a lighthouse for ships coming into the Rockland Harbor at night. In 1825, President John Quincy Adams authorized the Owl’s Head Lighthouse. There was an argument between John Quincy Adams and Fifth Auditor, Stephen Pleasanton, as to who would become the first keeper of the lighthouse. Eventually, the President’s candidate, Isaacs Sterns, won.
In December of 1850, five ships went aground at Penobscot Bay. One of the ships, a small schooner, broke free the cables that it was tied to. At the time, there were three people on board, Roger Elliot, First Mate Richard B. Ingraham, and his fiancée Lydia Dyerin. They could do nothing as the ship crashed into some rocks. Elliot was able to escape the ship, make it to shore, and eventually found Owl’s Head Lighthouse. By the time the keeper found him, he was half frozen. Elliot eventually worked up the strength to tell the keeper of the other two people aboard the ship. The keeper rounded up twelve other men to look for the two. When they found the couple, they were enclosed in a block of ice and appeared to be dead, but the men did not want to take any chances. They brought the couple back to the lighthouse. The put them in a tub of water and began to chip away the ice. Then, they began to slowly raise the temperature of the water and they exercised their muscles. Finally, they began to show signs of life and after several months, they made a full recovery and had four children. Roger Elliot was not so fortunate to make a full recovery.
In the 1930’s, the keeper of the lighthouse was Augustus B, Hamor who had a Springer Spaniel named Spot. As time went on, Spot learned to pull the rope that rang the fog bell when it became very foggy until it was his full-time job. One stormy night, the Matinicus mail boat almost ran aground at Owl’s Head. The rope for the fog bell was too frozen for Spot to pull so he began to bark. The captain of the vessel heard Spot and safely maneuvered away from the shore. After Spot had died, he was buried next to the fog bell.
The ghost that is often spotted at haunted Owl’s Head light house resembles that of an old sea captain. He is often recognized by unexplained footprints in the snow, polished brass, and feelings of coldness. One three-year-old daughter of a keeper befriended the ghost. He helped her alert her parents one night when the fog was rolling in and that it was time to sound the foghorn.