Rare documents donated to West Quoddy Head Light Keepers Association

LUBEC, Maine (WABI) - A number of rare documents pertaining to a former assistant lighthouse keeper at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse have recently surfaced.

The documents were found in the rafters of another Maine lighthouse and donated to the West Quoddy Head Light Keepers Association.

"Here we are at West Quoddy Lighthouse. Such a famous, historic spot, and to all of a sudden discover that we now have the facts for the first time in history of three lighthouse families that lived here, with photos that have never been published before, after all these years,” said Tim Harrison, Editor & Publisher of Lighthouse Digest. "It all is a very important slice of history."

Tim Harrison has been studying Maine lighthouses for decades.

His most recent discovery took him and those at Lighthouse Digest by surprise.

A number of rare documents were found in the rafters of Maine's Monhegan Island Lighthouse last year.

"If they had stayed there much longer, this stuff would have been lost and never been saved,” explained Harrison.

Those documents pertained to Eugene Ingalls who served as an assistant lighthouse keeper at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse from 1907 to 1912.

They were just recently donated to the West Quoddy Light Keepers Association.

"In my opinion, they weren't just left there,” said Harrison. “I believe the family put them there to be found by future generations to help keep the life of Eugene Ingalls who lost his life so tragically at Petit Manan Lighthouse."

These documents detail much of Ingall's life including his promotion to head keeper at Petit Manan Lighthouse off the coast of Milbridge.

Unfortunately, his career was short-lived. On December 29th of 1916, Ingalls left Petit Manan in a power boat and was never seen again. At the time, his family was not able to reach him since there was no telephone there and no other way to communicate.

It was not until January of 1917 that his family realized he had died at sea.

There is plenty more to Ingalls' story.

That's why Harrison and the West Quoddy Head Light Keepers Association hope to create an exhibit about the documents in the Visitors’ Center at the lighthouse.

The hope is to protect and preserve these documents so they can be shared with generations to come.

"If we have a small percentage of people who come back and learn about Eugene Ingalls, this lighthouse keeper here who lost his life serving his country at a lighthouse, these kids may learn to be the next generation of preservationists or tour guides at a lighthouse, or maybe at a national park, or wherever,” said Harrison.