New Year Lighthouse from West Quoddy, Maine
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is the Easternmost Point of land in the continental United States.
As with most Lighthouses, this Light Station was named for a geographic location. The “west” in West Quoddy Head Light refers to the Lighthouse located west of East Quoddy Lighthouse on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. There are 12 Lighthouses in the Quoddy Loop from New Brunswick, Canada to Lubec, Maine. Quoddy is a Mi’kmaq (1) Indian word meaning “a piece of favorable land.”
Therefore, West Quoddy Head was a favorable headland for a Lighthouse aiding shipping approaching the entrance to the Quoddy Narrows(2) between the U.S. mainland and the Canadian Campobello Island.
Interestingly, the original name of West Quoddy Head Light was Passamaquoddy Light as noted by Winslow Lewis in his 1817 Description of the Lighthouses. Passamaquoddy is the name of a northern Maine Indian tribe and means “plenty of pollock.” During the American Revolution, the Passamaquoddy Indians were allies of the American Colonists against the British.
In 1977, a Passamaquoddy Lighthouse was built for the Disney movie, Pete’s Dragon as the home of Lampie (Mickey Rooney) and his daughter, Nora (Helen Reddy).
Remember, Helen Reddy singing Candle on the Water in front of the gleaming Fresnel lens of the Lighthouse? For a video clip of this scene, please visit the You Tube Video link .
Please note the timing of this post coincides with our sunrise on New Years Day at noon time!
(1) Mi’kmaq is commonly spelled “Micmac” incorrectly.
According to Waye Mason, the name of the People is and always has been Mi’kmaq (with the apostrophe). Waye Mason also claims Mi’kmaq “is the correct spelling and there is nothing wrong with it and no reason to “fix” it.”
Unfortunately, Chris Johnson, a “journalist,” decided he had every right to use his uncivil comment crusade to prove his “Micmac” spelling version is definitive.
For the record of online facts,
40,000 people use the name, Mi’kmaq including the
1,000 members in Maine who call their community, The Aroostook Band of Micmacs.
After carefully reviewing and considering the apparent conflicting sources by Debbie Dolphin, it seems one band of the same people prefer to spell the name of their group a different way. And, all 40,000 people, including the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, are members of the Mi’kmaq First Nation according to Wikipedia.
(2) According to the historical evidence, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse was built to warn mariners of the dangerous rock outcroppings offshore of the headland as they approached the narrowing entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay. The narrow entrance was called Quoddy Roads and is currently called the Quoddy Narrows, a constricted waterway with strong racing tidal currents and a 18-feet average tidal range between the changing tides.
In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson also authorized the Lighthouse to establish a U.S. presence during a time when the boundary between our nation and Canada was poorly defined. West Quoddy Head Lighthouse was built and First Lit on April 21, 1808.
Currently, the Lighthouse exhibits 2 White flashes every 15-seconds illuminated by a Third-order Fresnel lens 83-feet above sea level visible to a range of 18 nautical miles. For more information about the distinctive candy striped Lighthouse, please click on the photo of this post.