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Freeze Frame: Seaside Sentry

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Lighthouse

Light housework: West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is still in use, though the lighthouse keeper is gone. It was automated in 1988. (Arthur Griffin, © SEPS)

Its 10,000-candlepower lamp rests and the foghorn’s mighty voice is still. But lighthouses along this rugged coastline seldom have a chance to loaf like this, for thick fogs and 28-foot tides keep them busy warning sailors from rocks and shoals. Quoddy Light’s greatest distinction is geographical: It stands on the easternmost point in the United States. Across the Lubec Channel lies Campobello, a Canadian island which was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s summer home. On summer weekends, tourists flock to West Quoddy Head, but the light’s biggest audience is composed of the fishermen sailing home to Lubec, and the crews of coastal cargo ships, yachts, and passing deep-sea vessels. It is for them that this gaudy sentry flashes its friendly, characteristic signal — two seconds on, two off, two on, nine off — a reassuring signpost for anxious navigators on the trackless sea.

—The Face of America, February 25, 1956

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