Digest>Archives> December 2002

Keeper’s Korner

Tid-bits from the Tower

By By Timothy Harrison

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Planned Center for St. Simons

Georgia’s St. Simons Lighthouse will soon take on a larger role in the community that it serves. A new Cultural Heritage Center is being planned that will provide the community with an archive and historical library, offices, meeting room, gift shop and much more. Cost of the project is estimated at over 3 1/2 million dollars. The proposed building will have a hurricane resistant vault for historic papers and documents. The St. Simons Lighthouse now averages about 75,000 visitors per year.

Maine, top getaway state

According to a recent report, Maine is the top state in the nation for 2nd homes. It even outranks Florida according to the report, which states that 15.6% of all homes in Maine are seasonal vacation homes, which outranks the national average of 3.1%. Maybe it’s Maine’s lighthouse that draw the people. However, some of the rich and famous such as President Bush’ family and the Rockefeller’s have summer homes in Maine. Anyway, we hope you come to visit Lighthouse Depot and our lighthouses.

NLM expects to open in 9-12 months

The long awaited opening of the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, NY is expected to happen in 9-12 months. The first building to open is scheduled to be the old Machine Shop of the Lighthouse Depot, which is a 2500 square foot building closest to the waterfront. The opening of the museum has been delayed because of budget cuts from the economic impact of 9-11. The 10-acre site is part of the original 30-acre site of the Lighthouse Depot that serviced lighthouses on the east coast of the United States for the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the Coast Guard.

Rhode Island Lights get money

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation recently award grants for $400,000 to North Light on Block Island, RI and $250,000 to Southeast Light also on Block Island. North Light was manned until 1956 and abandoned by the Coast Guard in 1973. Southeast Light was moved in the mid 1990’s away from the eroding cliffs.

Lighthouse to be annexed

Alabama’s Sand Island Lighthouse will soon be annexed to the community of Dauphin Island to allow a local group to begin raising money to save the endangered lighthouse. The Mobile Bay Lighthouse Centennial Committee and the Sand Island Lighthouse Preservation groups have merged to form the Alabama Lighthouse Association to save the lighthouse. Under an agreement with the town, the association will be responsible for raising all money and the town will not have any liability concerns, which will be assumed by the non profit.

More Lights to be excessed

The next round of lighthouses to be given up by the federal government are Guard Island and Sentinel Island Lights in Alaska; Pigeon Point and Point Sure Lights in California; Molokai Light in Hawaii; Grays Harbor Light and West Point Light in Washington; New London Harbor Light in Connecticut; Long Island Head light in Massachusetts; Gull Rock Light, Pipe Island Light and St. James Light in Michigan; Harbor of Refuge Light in Delaware; Craighill Channel Lower Range Light and Thomas Point Light in Maryland; New Canal Light in Louisiana; St. Simons Light in Georgia; and Newport News Middle Ground Light in Virginia.

Esopus Meadows Lighthouse was among the most recent lighthouses to be transferred under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.

Hatteras expected to reopen by Easter

North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras, which has been closed for many months, while it underwent stairway repairs, is expected to reopen by this coming Easter. The lighthouse had been closed when pieces of the supports to the stairway fell off. When the years of paint on the stairs was sandblasted off, the real extent of the damage was found. The stars have been repaired and painted the chimney red, as is common in most lighthouses. This fall the exterior of black and white spiraled lighthouse will be painted, its first painting since 1994.

Philadelphia Exhibit still open

The lighthouse exhibit in the gallery of the Nix Federal Building in Philadelphia will remain until January 11. The exhibit is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM and on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. The Nix Federal Building is located at Ninth and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. For more information call 215-597-5694. If you go, we’d love to have some photos of the exhibit for Lighthouse Digest.

India lighthouse vandalized

This is one of the strangest lighthouse stories we have come across. The century old lighthouse at Batighar near the port of Paradip was vandalized by tourists from Jagatsinghpur. When the tourist were told they were not allowed in the; lighthouse for security reasons they assaulted that staff and ransacked the lighthouse.

Avery Point named to historic list

Connecticut’s Avery Point Lighthouse in Groton has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. That designation will help the Avery Point Lighthouse, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation in obtaining necessary funding to restore the lighthouse. The lighthouse was threatened for demolition under the Avery Point Lighthouse Society stepped forward to save it. Work has already begun to restore the historic lighthouse, which is the only lighthouse built in America as a memorial to light keepers of yesteryear.

Port Isabel celebrates 150 years

Port Isabel Lighthouse in Brownsville, Texas celebrated its 150th birthday with a celebration that included a battle reenactment, food, music, fireworks and crafts.

Chicago Light gets landmark status

Chicago Harbor Lighthouse has received official City of Chicago landmark status by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. The beautiful tower is well known to lighthouse buffs and is pictured on many paintings with the skyscrapers of the Chicago skyline in the distance. Unfortunately, many Chicagoans don’t even know they have a lighthouse because of its location way out in the harbor.

Lighthouse Feud in Britain

In a show of solidarity, 21 of the world’s biggest shipping lines have banded together to protest the charges they pay for “light dues” to maintain British lighthouses. Under the present law, “light dues” are levied according to tonnage. The big shipping lines say they use lighthouses less and less and the fees should be paid by the fishing boats and ferries which use the lighthouses on a much more regular basis.

Vandals strike

Two historical signs and a handicap parking sign were stolen from Michigan’s Peninsula Point Lighthouse. Maybe it’s time for stiffer fines for vandalism.

No more holding it

Funds have been approved for a public bathroom facility at Florida’s Gasparilla Island State Recreation area where the Boca Grande Lighthouse is located. The ADA accessible restroom will be built by converting an old shed and its design will fit in with the character of the light station.

Cruise with the “Lighthouse People”

Bob and Sandra Shanklin, “The Lighthouse People,” invite you to a 10-night Fall Foliage & Lighthouse Exploration Cruise on Sept. 22, 2003. Ports of call will be Sydney, Nova Scotia, Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Quebec City, Quebec, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Bar Harbor, Maine, plus cruising the Gulf of St. Lawrence. For more information contact Nancy Ecker at Vacation Discounters at 888-655-6141 or visit www.discount-cruises-outlet.com/lighthouse.htm. When booking the cruise use reference code LHP922. Space is limited and a $400 deposit is required.

Lightship For Sale

The WLV-613 Nantucket II Lightship is for sale. Asking price is a cool $1.6 million. The ship, built with a tripod supporting the beacon first served from 1952 to 1967 at Ambrose Channel. She then worked as a RELIEF vessel up and down the New England coast from 1967 to 1979. From 1979 to 1983 her final duty was the remote Nantucket Station. The ship has been preserved and well maintained by its owner and is in near mint condition. For more information visit YachtSalvage.com or call 401-732-6300.

Lighthouse Vandalized

Cedar Island Lighthouse in East Hampton, NY, was recently vandalized. It seems vandals smashed in the steel door that is used to access the lighthouse. Damage was estimated at $3,000.

Goyette dies

Ron Goyette, 61, one of Maine’s most notable lighthouse painters, has passed away. Goyette’s lighthouse paintings have appeared on the covers of many books and his lighthouse artwork was available in many galleries throughout the state. Goyette maintained a gallery in the popular tourist town of Kennebunkport.

Popularity of lighthouses

Proving once again the tremendous popularity of lighthouses, Leanin’ Tree, a company that primarily specializes in western greeting cards, has featured a lighthouse on the cover of its 2002 Christmas Card Catalog. The beautiful painting featured on the cover is available as one of it two lighthouse designs and the cards cost 80 cents each. Leanin Tree in a division of Trumble Greetings, Inc.

Big Sable transferred

Michigan’s Big Sable Lighthouse near Ludington now has new owners. Ownership of the lighthouse was transferred from federal government ownership to the State of Michigan, Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Land Management. During the November 1st transfer ceremony, the lighthouse was also officially leased to the Big Sable Lighthouse Keepers Association.

St. George Relit

California’s St. George Reef Lighthouse has been relit after being dark for 27 years. The lighthouse was relit on its 110th anniversary. Powered by a wind charger and solar panels, the lighthouse will now be a private aid to navigation.

CCG wants foghorns gone

The Canadian Coast Guard wants to turn off foghorns along the British Columbia coast for good. They claim they most are outdated and are now too expensive to operate. Locals and government officials are outraged by the Coast Guard’s plans and are working to stop the planned shut off.

Defibrillators Wanted

The American Lighthouse Foundation is trying to raise funds to place defibrillators at remote lighthouses. Medical help at many lighthouse locations could be a long time in arriving and defibrillators could make a difference in whether someone lives or dies. If you would like to contribute to this cause, or take up the effort to raise money to buy defibrillators contact the American Lighthouse Foundation, P.O. Box 889, Wells, ME 04090 or visit their web site at www.LighthouseFoundation.org.

Help get a replica made

Jen King of Ocean Lights Photography in New Jersey is attempting to gather 1000 signatures to send to Harbour Lights in an effort to get them to make a replica of Delaware’s Mispillion Lighhtouse, which was recently destroyed by fire. A web site has been created at www.memoriesofMispillion.com where one can go and sign the petition electronically.

This story appeared in the December 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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