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Maxfield Point, VT  Lighthouse destroyed.   

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Maxfield Point Lighthouse

Lake Memphremagog is a fifty-five-kilometre-long fresh water glacial lake that straddles the international border between Vermont and Quebec. Seventy-three percent of its surface area is in Quebec, but the majority of the lake’s watershed is in Vermont. The lake has twenty-one islands and drains into Magog River in Quebec.

Lake Memphremagog lies within the territory that was inhabited by the Abenaki tribe, and its name is derived from the Algonkian word Mamlawbagak, which means “a long and large sheet of water.”

Newport, Vermont is situated on the southern end of the lake, while Magog, Quebec is located at the northern end of the lake, where it empties into Magog River.

In 1878, the Department of Marine had five small lighthouses built to improve navigation on the Canadian portion of Lake Memphremagog at Black Point, Chateau da Silva, Lead Mines, Molson Island, and Wadleigh Point. The Lighthouse Board in the United States also added three lights on the Vermont portion of the lake at this time to complete the lighting of the lake after Congress appropriated $5,000 on June 20, 1878. On November 8, 1878, the General Assembly of the State of Vermont passed an act that ceded jurisdiction over three plots of land purchased by the federal government at Maxfield’s Point, Newport Wharf, and Whipple Point.

The light on the bluff at Maxfield’s Point on the western shore of the lake consisted of a twenty-five-foot-tall, red, iron tower that displayed a fixed white light from a sixth-order lens. The light at Newport Wharf and the one on Whipple Point initially consisted of a pile foundation that supported a shaft with an arm from which a Mississippi-river-lantern was suspended. All three of the American lights were placed in operation on July 1, 1879.

Olin H. Maxfield served as keeper of Maxfield Point Lighthouse from 1879 through at least 1919. Keeper Maxfield was born in 1857 and primarily a farmer. He passed away in early 1921 after a brief stay in the hospital. Walter A. Maxfield, son of Olin and Emma Maxfield, cared for the light after his father.

In 1928, a red, pyramidal, skeletal tower with a white tank house replaced the enclosed iron lighthouse at Maxfield Point. At this time, the characteristic of the light was changed from fixed white to a white flash every three seconds. The skeletal tower was reportedly torn down in 2000. There is no navigational aid on Maxfield Point today.

Keepers: Olin H. Maxfield (1879 – at least 1919).


  1. Annual Report of the Department of Marine, various years.
  2. Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, various years.

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