From a cold and lonely outpost off the coast of Cutler, Maine, a lone lighthouse keeper will be the first to welcome in the New Year at the most northeastern island light station in the United States.
As part of an ambitious project called The Lighthouse Endeavor, modern day lighthouse keeper Bill Kitchen will be the first person in 164 years to be alone at Little River Lighthouse as the old year comes to a close and a New Year begins.
Kitchen, who is looking forward to the experience said, “While the party goers will be reveling in places like Time Square, I’ll be bringing in the New Year in the solitude of this beautiful, yet often brutal, and dangerous outpost. Instead of hearing the popping of champagne corks and paper horns, I’ll be enjoying the soothing sound of the foghorn and the thunderous roar of the waves as they crash on the rocks.”
He went on to say, “On New Year’s morning I’ll be privileged to witness the first rays of the New Year before nearly everyone else in America does, and my companions will be the eagles who live high in the tree tops, the numerous and friendly harbor seals, and the many squirrels who live on the island who seem to think that I am one of them.”
The Lighthouse Endeavor is a living history educational and preservation project that depends on the residency of a single individual, attempting to be the first person, in the soon to be 165 year history of the light station, to live alone for 365 days at the lighthouse.
Once listed by Maine Preservation as one of Maine’s Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties, Little River Lighthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has been undergoing restoration since 2001. It is under the care of the Friends of Little River Lighthouse, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, which re-lighted the lighthouse in 2001 as “Beacon of Freedom to the World,” after it had been dark for 26 years.
Kitchen says the Lighthouse Endeavor is a platform that will address a wide range of subjects including history, engineering, math, ecology, marine biology and preservation that will be universally acceptable to educators, students, and others. However, he is also quick to point out that the entire program depends on the generosity of others. “We are extremely grateful to those who have stepped forward to help so far, but we still need lots of financial help.”
Kitchen says he would love to hear from the public, especially with New Year’s greetings, that can be e-mailed to him at Bill@TheLighthouseEndeavor.com.
To learn more about Little River Lighthouse, or make a donation, you can visit their web site at www.LittleRiverLight.org, where you can also link to Kitchen’s daily blog on The Keeper’s Journal.
(Masthead photo by Bill Kitchen)