Keeper's barn, workshop complete

By Beth A. Birmingham | Aug 29, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Pastor Randall Thissel, left, of the Port Clyde Advent Christian Church speaks before giving a blessing at the ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating the reproduction keeper's barn and workshop Aug. 28 on the campus of Marshall Point Lighthouse & Museum. Holding the ribbon are members of the MPLM Committee.

Port Clyde — Marshall Point Lighthouse & Museum Committee held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its reproduction keeper's barn and workshop Aug. 28.

Pastor Randall Thissel of the Port Clyde Advent Christian Church began the ceremony with a blessing.

Gartley & Dorsky were the engineers for the project, and the barn was built by Paul Gill of Gill Timber Frames of Port Clyde, who specializes in post-and-beam buildings.

"His previous experience in post-and-beam construction was critical to me in the early stages of finding the exact location of the barn and dealing with the details with the Historic Preservation Commission," Nat Lyon, curator of MPLM, said of builder Gill.

"Because we are a National Landmark, we are under the supervision of the commission, and the barn is as close to being an exact reproduction of the original, right down to the granite which came from the old Wildcat Quarry in Tenants Harbor," Lyon said.

For more than two years, the MPLM committee conducted a fundraising campaign to expand the facility to include a reproduction of the historic keeper's barn and workshop that was part of the lighthouse complex for more than 74 years until it was taken down by the Coast Guard in 1971.

Working with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to ensure the authenticity of the barn, the committee pledged $20,000 and had the help of more than 400 donors -- including a $10,000 grant from the Borman Family Foundation -- to reach the goal of $150,000 for the project.

The barn will provide space for the proper storage of artifacts and display materials, as well as much-needed administrative space.

"We have artifacts stored in seven different places," Lyon explained. "The job is half over, now we need to catalog it and have the stuff appraised."

The barn is historically correct, with post-and-beam construction, and was built on the original site adjacent to the lighthouse and museum -- a National Historic Landmark.

"The perseverance and activity was nothing but remarkable," MPLM Committee Chairman Diana Bolton said of the process to get the project completed.

Marshall Point Light has more than 15,000 visitors between Memorial Day and Columbus Day each year.

The lighthouse tower and keeper’s house were first constructed in 1832. In 1858 the current tower was constructed to replace the original tower. A lightning strike destroyed the keeper’s house in 1895, and the existing keeper’s house replaced it in the same year.

The keeper’s house and summer kitchen now house a museum featuring displays of the life and history of the St. George peninsula. The research room offers volumes filled with historic photos and information about the life of the community, and the gift shop offers an assortment of clothing, jewelry, home goods, books and toys.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Lyon announced that after 10 years, the museum will be getting its Fresnel lens back from loan to the Rockland Lighthouse Museum and what he referred to as the historically correct aluminum shack that houses the EPA air-monitoring system is going to be converted to a wooden structure, which will be more compatible with the rest of the MPLM campus.

Also announced was the addition of a webcam that will be available for viewing on the MPLM website soon.

Lyon also noted the planting of a "Founders' Tree" on the side of the keeper's barn in honor of those past and present who have been instrumental in making the campus what it is today.

"We would be nothing without our volunteers," Lyon said emotionally.

Potential volunteers or archivists interested in helping with the cataloging of artifacts should contact volunteer coordinator Dave Percival at 372-6438 or Lyon at 372-6740.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at

Supporters and donors attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Marshall Point Lighthouse & Museum Aug. 28 to open the reproduction keeper's barn and workshop. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
(Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
The upstairs of the keeper's barn will house much-needed administrative space for the MPLM staff. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
(Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
A "Founders' Tree" was planted beside the keeper's barn in honor of all past and present who have contributed to the many MPLM projects. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
(Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
The aluminum shed, left, that houses the EPA's air-monitoring system is going to be reconstructed in wood to better match the other buildings on the MPLM campus. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
(Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
(Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Aug 29, 2019 14:52

As usual Beth, great pictures, thanks!

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