2014 in Review and Plans for 2015

More than 2000 Visitors. The keeper’s house and the tower were open 5 days a week during the 2014 summer season, with two islanders on staff (and some volunteer assistance). There was a steady stream of visitors, who were able to see three exhibits:


  • A photography exhibit titled “Hailing Hockomock” that was prepared by the SI Historical Society, showing images and telling stories about commercial shipping and Coast Guard vessels using Burnt Coat Harbor.
  • An elegant wooden model of Novelty, the first steam powered fishing vessel in the East Coast fishing fleet. The model was built by Galen Turner and was on loan, with several photographs and other artifacts, from the Lobster and Marine Museum.
  • Art by local artists.



Free brochures were available about the light station history and the geology of Hockamock Head, plus a free map showing lighthouse trails and island businesses. Many visitors stopped by the “gift shop” table; their donations help finance keeper’s house and tower operations.


Progress on the Restoration


We hope you might consider a year- end gift to FOSIL to help keep things moving forward on the restoration. FOSIL is a tax exempt, Maine non-profit corporation managed entirely by volunteers. 100% of your gift will go directly to FOSIL and Lighthouse Committee projects.


Progress on Keeper’s House Kitchen and bath.


We expect that there will be a kitchen and bathroom downstairs in the keeper’s house, ready for use next spring. Volunteers cleaned out the storeroom area to the left of the main entry in the keeper’s house in preparation for installation of a bathroom. Plans for the bathroom and kitchen were prepared and approved. Our contractor removed damaged plaster and lathing from the future bathroom area, and removed lead paint in accordance with state and federal lead safe standards. Plumbing and electrical connections were placed for the bathroom and kitchen. A contract is in place and work is going forward.


Keeper’s House Ventilation


There is no ventilation upstairs in the keeper’s house; consequently mold has been a problem. We wrote specs for installation of ridge and soffit vents to resolve this, the plans were duly approved by the Maine Historic Preservation Office, and this project is underway.


Light Tower


Restoration of the light tower has begun. The wooden wainscoting in the tower lantern room was carefully removed, then restored and rebuilt off site. It will be reinstalled soon. (Some repairs to the metal shell are needed before the woodwork can be reinstalled.)


Other notable developments:


  • With the help of a generous monetary gift and a donation of materials, we were able to complete the long-planned project of moving the fog bell back from the ferry landing in Atlantic to Hockamock Head. It is now installed on granite blocks near the pathway to the keeper’s house, and is the first artifact a visitor sees when coming down the hill to the light station.
  • We made progress on replacing the flagpole. We have been promised an aluminum mast to replace the wooden flagpole that was shattered in a storm last winter, and expect to have it on site next spring. In the meantime, a temporary spruce flagpole has served us well.
  • The interior of the keeper’s house was rearranged for better visitor flow, and we installed two elegant wooden tables, purpose-built for the display areas. There is improved signage on the displays and there are new shelves in the storage room.
  • Several special events took place at the keeper’s house this summer: a concert of Celtic music attended by more than 100; a private family celebration with a catered lunch for 50 guests; an island tour group sponsored by Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
  • We have embarked on a capital campaign to complete the restoration in four years (by the end of 2018) and already have some substantial contributions towards that end.
  • Shingles on the keeper’s house were replaced, and flashing around the chimney was repaired.
  • Landscaping was repaired and cultivated around the keeper’s house front door, and in the conservation area.
  • We placed two large natural granite blocks near the flagpole, and one near the path to the oilhouse, which have proved to be attractive and irresistible seating for visitors.
  • There are new signs in four locations on the trails, with maps and a narrative explanation of nearby vistas.



Plans for 2015


Plans for 2015 will be more fully developed after the FOSIL board planning meeting, which will take place in February 2015. But for sure these will be part of the plan:


  • Install a new flag pole
  • Get the kitchen and bathroom working on the first floor in the keeper’s house
  • Open the keeper’s house and tower to visitors in the summer season for a fourth year, and, with the kitchen and bathroom in place, promote the keeper’s house as a venue for special events, all contributing to our expectation that when the restoration project is finished, the site will be self-supporting or close to it.
  • Prepare the keeper’s house second floor for restoration. Preparation requires careful removal of hazardous materials such as mold and lead paint.
  • After removal of hazardous materials, proceed with restoration of the second floor of the keeper’s house, as time and finances allow.
  • Continue work on the tower, as time and finances allow.
  • Produce an informational pamphlet about the flora and fauna of Hockamock Head.


What Visitors Have To Say

Our stay at the lighthouse keepers apartment was lovely. the place has been decorated in a simple and serene way and the kitchen had all we needed. The view and location is splendid and all involved with the property were friendly.

- Teresa, September 2023

Our stay at the lighthouse — and our week on Swan's Island — exceeded expectations. We packed light, arrived via bikes, and easily navigated the island without a car. Tracy and everyone we met welcomed us and went out of their way to make us feel at home. We felt very privileged to stay in this thoughtfully restored historic building. Kudos to the tireless volunteers! We look forward to returning.

- Tekla, September 2023

The Lightkeeper’s apartment is a unique and beautiful treasure, not to be missed! I feel like I want to tell everyone I know about this cozy, charming little place, yet at the same time keep it a secret; to be shared only amongst those who know. You get to live in a lighthouse, on an island, off the coast of Maine!!! Need I say more?!?

- Dillon September 2023

This was the trip and stay of a lifetime! New England and island life at its best. We had the opportunity and fortune to meet some of the nicest people ever! Swans Island people gave us a giant welcoming hug!!

- Susan and family, July 2021

Our hosts were WONDERFUL and helpful, and being able to go up into the lighthouse tower was amazing. An all around unforgettable experience. THANK YOU!

- Michael and Kurt, June 2021

This is our first time to Swan’s Island and the Keeper’s House Apartment….How lucky we are to have found this treasure! We loved our week of peace, nature, and beauty. The shimmering water, the ever-changing sky and clouds, the trails in the woods …made for a restorative week.

- Paul and Bonnie, August 2020

This place quietly, simply, intoxicates you. Senses are full; smell, sights, sounds … yet not enough to overwhelm, just enough to soothe, just enough to make you fully aware of the natural gift Hockamock offers.

- Conrad and Michelle, August 2020

What a perfect holiday!! … Heaven on earth …lobster every night for dinner, fabulous hikes, amazing kayaking, spectacular sunsets…But perhaps the most cherished memory is the kind and lovely people of this island….

- Mary Beth & Michael, Sept. 2020

I have always wanted to stay at a lighthouse and now my dream has come true! The keeper’s quarters and the entire lighthouse park completely exceeded my expectations! Thanks for providing everything my son and I needed for a perfect stay and such amazing hospitality….

- Kristin and Izak, Sept. 2020

What a magic place. Sun and moon glinting off the water. The lighthouse beam in the trees, the sound of a gentle surf when the tide is in. The bell buoy ringing in the channel. Wonderful sunsets.

- Mike and Kathy, September 2019

The view out our window - moonlight on the ocean, porpoises, giant owls - plus the sound of the gong, and the wild berries…truly a special experience.

- Rebecca and Rich, August 2019

The apartment is beautiful. And the view is amazing! We could not have asked for a better vacation. We plan to return!

- Ann and Dave, September 2018

Thank you to ALL who made our stay so wonderful and relaxing. To the Islanders who told of trails to explore, thank you! We look forward to returning to this little piece of heaven on earth.

- Heather and Jamie, September 2018

From the amazing Light Keeper’s House to the beautiful view from the porch of the same, the amazingly friendly people, and our daily hikes along this rugged Maine Coast. Everything was perfect.

- Leesa and Howard, August 2018

Everything is magical! This is one of the best vacations! Ever!

- Ronald and Janet, July 2018

The beauty you offer is immeasurable. The clarity of light, wind, and Downeast character here recharged me.

- Lee, June 2018

What a wonderful place! We were in awe the moment we arrived. What a quiet and peaceful location for a vacation.

- David and Lorie, June 2018

You truly have a treasure perched out here atop the rocks with the vast sea at the doorstep. We watched a bright moon spilling its light onto the water, listening to the music of the waves, and wondering anew at the stars emerging in the dark sky.

- Susan, September 2017

This has been a lifetime experience! The beauty of Swan’s Island can’t be described in words or photographs, for they just don’t do it justice. I look forward to coming back again next year!

- Lacy, September 2017

We just stayed there and it is tremendous. The view and setting are amazing. The quality of the Keeper's house (2nd floor) is excellent. It is fresh, well decorated, and spacious.

- Mary, July 2017

We are fortunate to have traveled to many places in this world, but still contend, by far, this is the prettiest place on earth. Stay in the keeper's house. You will not be disappointed!!!! It is special.

- Spencer, July 2017