Maine's second lighthouse was built in 1795 by order of President George Washington; Located at the mouth of the heavily traveled Kennebec River, two and one-half miles from Popham Beach, this light is the highest above water on the Maine coast. Although the tower at Seguin is not the highest due to its location on the island. At 186 feet above sea level, the light is visible from a distance of 40 miles in clear weather.
The original wooden tower was replaced by a stone structure in 1819, which was then rebuilt in 1857. The present 53- foot granite light tower was necessary to accommodate the installation of Maine's only first-order Fresnel lens. A duplex keeper's house also was added in 1857. In order to transport supplies up the steep quarter-mile climb to the lighthouse, a tramway system was installed with tracks from the boathouse to the keeper's dwelling. Because of heavy fog often in this area, Seguin has one of the most powerful foghorns made.
One of a variety of ghost stories associated with the lighthouse concerns, a 19th century keeper's wife who played the same tune on the piano, over and over. The keeper was driven insane by the repetition, took an ax to the Piano, then killed his wife and himself. Legend has it that the piano tune can still be heard drifting from the island on calm nights.
The light was automated in 1985; a group of concerned local citizens founded the Friends of Seguin Island in 1986. Although the Coast Guard maintains the light itself, the island and keeper's quarters are owned by the nonprofit group. By 1990 public contributions, grants from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, National Park Service and matching fund programs made possible restoration of the keeper's quarters to accommodate summertime caretakers. In August 1993 the Friends of Seguin opened a small museum in the lower two rooms on the grounds and buildings are ongoing efforts by this group.
Seguin light can be seen in the distance from the Popham Beach area and Maine Maritime Museum offers trips to the island during the summer. There is no dock or pier landing. Passengers are off-loaded into a skiff and taken to the beach; the climb to the lighthouse is fairly steep up a narrow path. Weather and sea conditions are extremely variable in this area and may preclude landing.
From U.S. Route 1 in Bath, take Route 209 to Popham Beach. Both Seguin Island and the nearer Pond Island light are visible in the distance.