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Whipple Point, VT  Lighthouse destroyed.   

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Whipple 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.

The light at Whipple Point was built in the water offshore from the point and was also known as the Stake Light. Alvin W. Adams was an early keeper of the light, serving from at least 1881 through at least 1885. In 1882, a shingled, hexagonal lighthouse surmounted by a black lantern room and supported by an octagonal pier of piles replaced the post light at Whipple Point.

A postcard dated May 1906 shows Whipple Point Lighthouse with a precarious lean, likely caused by ice floes that spring. A contract for the thorough repair of the lighthouse was completed on March 29, 1907.

By 1924, a white, square, pyramidal, skeletal tower on a tankhouse was displaying a white flash every three seconds off Whipple Point. As the characteristic of the light was changed from fixed white to flashing white in 1920, it is likely that the tower replaced the wooden lighthouse at that time. Zadoc B. Bowley served as keeper of Whipple Point Light from 1905 until at least 1919, so it is likely he was the final keeper of the light.

In 2021, a grey, skeletal tower was displaying a flashing white light at Whipple Point.

In 2007, Bill and Nancy Cook, owners of the Newport Belle Tour Boat, proposed building a replica of Whipple Point Lighthouse in Pomerleau Park in Newport to serve as a ticket booth for their business. The Newport City Council gave the idea a warm reception, and the lighthouse was in place by the fall of 2008. The Cooks donated the lighthouse to the city and then planned to lease it back each summer for their tour business. Lack of Coast Guard certification prevented the Newport Belle from becoming a tour boat, and Newport Belle Tours ceased operations in 2017.

Keepers: Alvin W. Adams (at least 1881 – at least 1885), Thomas Fleming (1886 – 1899), Paul L. Fleming (1899 – 1905), Zadoc B. Bowley (1905 – at least 1919).


  1. Annual Report of the Department of Marine, various years.
  2. Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, various years.
  3. “Lighthouse Proposed for City Waterfront,” Caledonian Record, April 24, 2017.

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