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 American Lighthouse Foundation, Inc.

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The American Lighthouse  Foundation is a  Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Organization dedicated  to the preservation of America's historic lighthouses.

 

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Strout Family Donates Rare

Portland Head Lighthouse Artifacts

 

 
 

Some of the most historically significant artifacts of Maine’s lighthouse history and of Portland Head Light have been donated to the Maine based nonprofit American Lighthouse Foundation.

 

The items were donated by the Strout family whose ancestors served in the Lighthouse

The wreck of the Annie C. Macguire

The wreck of the Annie C. Macguire at

Portland Head Light on Christmas Eve 1886

 
 

Service for over 128 years with a little over 100 years of that service at Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

 

Among the items donated is the original brass lamp that was in used to light the lens in the lantern room of Portland Head Light on Christmas Eve 1886 the night of the famous wreck of the Annie C. Maguire, which crashed on the rocks by the lighthouse.

 

Many people who visit Portland Head Light are familiar with the famous memorial painted on the rocks at the lighthouse. Although it has been

 
 

Memorial of wreck of the Annie C. Maguire

The original memorial of the wreck of

 the Annie C. Macguire painted on the rocks

 at Portland Head Light by John A. Strout.

repainted over the years it was originally painted by John A. Strout, a third generation Strout to serve at Portland Head Light. He painted it in 1877, on his 21st birthday, the day he officially became an assistant keeper at the lighthouse.

 

Also donated was the famous wooden model

 
 

replica of Portland Head Light that was built by Joseph W. Strout in the late 1800’s for display on the roof of the keeper’s house at Portland Head Light where it remained until he left the position of keeper in 1928.

 

Other items donated by the Stout family included a brass kerosene-measuring cup with the insignia of the U. S. Lighthouse Service on it and

 
 

a brass whale oil container made by John Strout for use at the lighthouse.

 

The donations of the artifacts were prompted by the recent release of the book Portland Head Light A Pictorial Journey Through Time, written by Timothy Harrison who is also the editor of Lighthouse Digest magazine and president of the American Lighthouse Foundation.

 

It was back in 1995 that John A Strout, Jr. met Harrison and took a liking to him and was impressed in what he was trying to do to save lighthouses and their history for future generations. In 1997 Strout wrote a story for Lighthouse Digest in which he stated, “There was not a great estate left when Dad passed on, but there were great memories, many cherished photographs and a sea chest full of memories. This has become his legacy to me, far more enduring and

Brass lamp donated to the Museum of Lighthouse History

The brass lamp that was

used to light the lens at

 Portland Head Light on the

night of the wreck of the

Annie C Macguire on

Christmas Eve 1886 which

was donated to the

American Lighthouse

Foundation

 
 

treasured than most heir’s inheritances.”

 

At that time he donated a number of photographs to Harrison with Harrison’s promise that someday he would write a book on the history of  Portland Head Light. Unfortunately, John Strout died before the book would be published as it took Harrison another nine years to locate additional information to compile a detailed history of the lighthouse.

 

However, before he died he told his daughter Donna that after his death he wanted the remaining artifacts to be donated to Harrison saying,

 
 

Patricia Strout-Feno Donna Strout  & June Strout

Patricia Strout-Feno Donna Strout

and June Strout with the replica

model of Portland Head Light

 made by lighthouse keeper Joseph Strout in the 1800's that has now been donated tothe American Lighthouse Foundation

“He’s the only person I trust for their future care.”

 

Donna said they had tried to plan a trip to Maine from their home in Massachusetts several times since the book came out and she had been communicating with Harrison via email for some time, especially during the final stages of the book.. Finally she was able to coordinate the trip with her sister Patricia and their mother, June (John Strout’s widow) to make the trip to Maine and officially donate the items to Harrison for the American Lighthouse Foundation to preserve them.

 

Harrison said the artifacts are among the most valuable in preserving and telling the history

 
 

of Portland Head Light that exist and eventually, “We will design a exhibit around these artifacts to tell the story of the Strout family’s amazing 128 years of lighthouse service.”

 

Capt. Joshua Freeman Strout served as the keeper at Portland Head Light from 1869 to 1904. His wife Mary served as his assistant for ten of those years. His son Joseph W. Strout became assistant keeper in 1877 and

 
 

served in that position until 1904 when he became the Head Keeper of Portland Head Light, a position he held until his retirement in 1928. Adding the few years that John Strout served as Assistant Keeper of Portland Head Light you have 90 years of service. When you add in the time that Joshua Freeman Strout’s mother worked as the housekeeper at Portland Head Light, for a previous keeper before the Strouts, you then have over 100 years of service just at Portland Head Light. However, John Strout also served at other New England Lighthouses, such as Spring Point Ledge Light in South Portland,  as well as at the Lighthouse Depot in Chelsea, Massachusetts, which gives 128 years of lighthouse service by the Strout family.

 

Other Strouts also served at other lighthouses. Len Strout was the keeper at Portland Breakwater Light, known now as Bug Light from 1866 to 1867, and Arthur Strout served as an assistant keeper at Halfway Rock

Joseph W. Strout

Portland Head Lighthouse

keeper Joseph W. Strout is

shown here with his model of Portland Head Light that was on display atop the keepers house

 in the late 1800's. The replica, although altered a few times

 over the years, its still mostly

the original that was built by Joseph Strout that has now

been donated to the American Lighthouse Foundation

 
 

Lighthouse in Casco Bay from 1929 to 1934.

 

Before his death John Strout wrote that thanks to people like Harrison, his magazine Lighthouse Digest, and nonprofit groups like the American Lighthouse Foundation, “The heroic Lighthouse Keepers of Yesterday and their brave women-folk will not be allowed to step into the past with stories untold; stories of romance, adventure, loneliness and danger of the service.”

 

The book, Portland Head Light, by Timothy Harrison is available for $24.95 plus sales tax on line from the American Lighthouse Foundation Gift Store or by calling 207-646-0245.

 

 
 

Strout Family at the Museum of Lighthouse History

Shown here at the time of the donated artifacts

from Portland Head Light by the Strout family are

 left to right, Kathleen Finnegan of the American

Lighthouse Foundation, Patricia Strout-Feno,

Timothy Harrison of the American Lighthouse

 Foundation, Donna Strout and seated is June Strout,

widow of John A Strout, Jr.

 

 
 

Posted: 12/11/06

 
       
 

 

 
 

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