The following story appeared in the June 6, 1865 edition of The Portland Daily Press. James Mariner was the keeper of the Two Lights at Cape Elizabeth during this time. Mr. Mariner served as keeper of this light station from 1861 to 1869.
At the time, the original 1828 east and west towers at Cape Elizabeth were still in service. ALF Historian Jeremy D’Entremont described the twin lights as being “octagonal 65-foot towers (to the tops of the lanterns) and built of rubblestone, with octagonal wrought-iron lanterns. The east tower had 15 lamps with 16-inch reflectors, showing a fixed white light 129 feet above mean high water. The west tower had 14 lamps with 14-inch reflectors; the apparatus revolved to produce a flashing light, 132 feet above mean high water.”
The original towers remained in service until the present day cast-iron structures were built in 1874.
The 1865 news story is below…
“The Tornado – We learn from Mr. Mariner, keeper of the Cape Lights, that the walk from the lighthouse to the dwelling house, 173 feet in length, was scattered in all directions, covering more than an acre of ground with the fragments.
“In a distance of eight hundred yards thirteen large trees on the side of the road were uprooted. A house belonging to Mr. Frost Dresser, which was up and boarded, was blown flat; a barn of Mr. William Wheeler’s was totally demolished; a barn belonging to Mr. Eben Maxwell was removed from its foundation, and damaged to a great extent; the Methodist parsonage house was badly injured; and a number of other buildings were badly injured.
“Three or four boats, belonging to Mr. Staples and others, near the Ocean House, were stove up.
(More on the lighthouse) “Just before the tornado struck the walk at the lighthouse, some five or six gentlemen were about returning to the house from the shore, and were just entering the walk when the storm came. They took refuge in a fish house close at hand, and very fortunate for the walk was destroyed, and had the men been in it they could not have escaped with their lives.”