The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse would not be possible if not for a group of visionaries and community leaders who rallied to save the light station from demolition once it was no longer deemed necessary by the United States Coast Guard.
For more than a century, the Cuckolds Fog Signal and Light Station protected mariners as they journeyed into Boothbay Harbor; the addition of the light tower in 1907 further aided their passage, and still does today. In fact, many say Boothbay Harbor would never have come to be had the light station not made passage into the harbor safe and practical for commercial fishermen and others back at the turn of the 20th century.
The station was manned by two pairs of light keepers until the mid 1970s when, like many of the lighthouses that dot the American coastline, the light was automated and, a few years later, the keeper’s house and boat house dismantled, leaving a lonely light tower and fog signal to stand watch unattended.
In 2004, people on Southport Island and the surrounding area, concerned that the light signal was slated for demolition, to be replaced by a fiberglass light pole, rallied to save their beloved historic landmark.
The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, passed by Congress in 2000, gave the community a glimmer of hope. The goal of the program was to find local non-profits to take ownership of
lighthouses considered “excess property.” When the Cuckolds Light Station appeared on the list in 2004, longtime Southport summer residents Janet Reingold and Philip Yasinski submitted a letter of intent just 48 hours before the application deadline.
Over the next two years, the couple rallied a growing group of volunteers, including lifelong residents and relative newcomers, to the rescue. The group raised funds and developed detailed plans for restoring the light tower, rebuilding the keeper’s house and boathouse to historical specifications, but with the benefit of modern materials and building techniques. Local and regional businesses have donated building materials, design expertise and other resources to bring the project to fruition, and Reingold and Yasinski have led the development of a sustainability plan to ensure Cuckolds generates its own revenue in the future.
In addition to being an ideal location for romantic weekend getaways, small gatherings, milestone anniversaries and other life celebrations, the Cuckolds Fog Signal and Light Station Council opens the island and light station by appointment as a popular destination for visitors, community and business groups for retreats, educational programs, historic tours, recreation, meetings, and more.