Duane Prugh, Historian and UMA Senior College Faculty
Wednesday, January 9, 7:00 p.m.
Cram Alumni House,
Bowdoin College, 86 Federal St. Brunswick
Join Friends of Merrymeeting Bay (FOMB) on Wednesday, January 9th at 7pm for the 4th presentation of their 16th annual Winter Speaker Series. This program, “Lighthouses of the Kennebec”, features lighthouse historian and UMA Senior College instructor, Duane Prugh with a special appearance by painter, photographer, writer and former lighthouse keeper, Ernest DeRaps. The presentation follows the FOMB Annual Meeting/Potluck supper beginning at 6. The public is invited to the supper and brief business meeting as well.
In 1892, the Lighthouse Board Annual Report in trying to improve the Kennebec navigation situation (with lanterns currently lit only by a couple of private shipping companies) noted there were 3,137 arrivals of vessels in this river during the year, not counting the steamers which ply daily. The steamers Kennebec, 1,652 tons, and Sagadahoc, 1,413 tons, made ninety-six round trips each from Gardiner to Boston. The number of passengers carried was 232,150. Seventeen tugs were engaged on the river in towing. Thirty-nine vessels of 32,063 gross tons were built on the river, valued at $1,603,150. Some 24 feet draft can be carried to Thwings Point, 6 miles above Bath, 16 feet from Thwings Point to Gardiner, and 8 feet from Gardiner to Augusta. On dark nights it is sometimes impossible to tell where the water ends and the shore begins… . Today, the ship traffic is less and lights at Seguin, Pond, Perkins, Squirrel and Doubling Pt. are all that remain.
Duane Prugh graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He is now a semi-retired computer consultant. He loves the outdoors and for many years has been interested in the technical aspects of Maine’s lighthouses, covered bridges, and waterfalls. Duane loves to share with others lighthouse and bridge histories; how they were built, what materials were used, and how these sentinels of the past have stood for a hundred years or more. For the past 12 years he has been an instructor at the University of Maine at Augusta Senior College, taking local seniors on field trips to explore dozens of these sites. Duane has embarked on a multiyear project, which will involve visiting, photographing, and learning all about these sites, giving talks on these subjects, and presenting them on his website. It is currently a work-in-progress, as there are 68 lighthouses, 12 covered bridges, and over 300 “named” waterfalls in Maine. Special guest Ernest DeRap is a photographer, painter, author and former lighthouse keeper having kept the light on Monhegan, Vinalhaven and in Stockton Springs when in the Coast Guard.
The FOMB Winter Speaker Series takes place monthly from October-May on the second Wednesday. The series, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay with support and valuable door prizes from Patagonia Outlet in Freeport. The next FOMB presentation on February 13th at the Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick is entitled East-West Corridor/Highway featuring Jym St. Pierre of RESTORE! The Northwoods and Jonathan Carter of the Forest Ecology Network.