On the morning of June 27, 2022, a fire broke out at Gull Cottage in Prospect Harbor destroying much of the lighthouse keeper’s house. While the lighthouse itself is a beacon, the lighthouse keeper’s house, Gull Cottage, is a very special icon to many of us. Gouldsboro Shore is working, as we say, to “keep Gouldsboro’s shore at the center of the community.” Gull Cottage has been doing that for 131 years. It came quite naturally to use a photo of the lighthouse and cottage as our “profile picture” on the Gouldsboro Shore Facebook page. There is a model of Gull Cottage by the Gouldsboro town office.
The fire was reported around 5:13 AM on the morning of June 27th. It was extinguished around 10 AM with help from fire departments from many neighboring towns. Early reports say that the family that was inside is safe, the cottage is heavily damaged, and the adjacent light tower is unharmed. For details, you can check the article by Letitia Baldwin for the Ellsworth American.
Our History with Gull Cottage
Bill and I are lucky enough to live across the harbor from the Prospect Harbor Lighthouse. We are also only a few doors down the street from the Gouldsboro Fire Department. We have, sadly, in this case, learned to ignore the sirens from the firehouse. We think of the sirens in two ways. With concern that some neighbor’s house or barn might be ablaze. Or, gratefully that the Gouldsboro EMS team is on its way to help a neighbor in need.
But today was different. The wind was out of the southwest and the dogs let us sleep through all the early siren calls. We didn’t learn about the fire until it was almost under control. By the time we knew about it, the damage had already been done.
We have, I guess, learned to take the lighthouse and Gull Cottage for granted. It has “always been there for us”.
The lighthouse was a welcoming beacon when we arrived at the end of our long drive from Colorado in 2001. It was shining at the end of our driveway as an indication that we were “safe home”. A photo of the cottage and lighthouse that Pauline shot from our yard has been the image on her business cards since we came here.
We can remember, as I am sure many of you can, when there was a yearly tour that allowed us to crawl up the ladder into the very top of the light and be “eye-to-eye” with the lens. With 911 and the passing years, we have had much more restricted access. But even with those access restrictions, when we looked across the harbor, all was well. Tonight it is not.
We sat at the turnout at Prospect Harbor with a neighbor this afternoon looking at what remained of Gull Cottage. We reminisced. She could remember playing as a child inside the base of the lighthouse tower. I am sure we all have such memories. We could only agree that it was very sad. We also agreed that we hoped Gull Cottage would be rebuilt. It would no longer be the same historic structure that it was. But it has suffered damage in the past and it has risen again. We are wanting it to do so again. We are willing to help.
— Pauline and Bill
One thought on “An Icon on Our Shore”
Thanks Bill for your great but sad story about the loss of a great land mark for Gouldsboro. I, too hope that the cottage can be rebuilt, it is to important to our community not to be.