Digest>Archives> January 2003

Keeper’s Korner

Tid-bits from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Plum Island throw

The Friends of Plum Island Light, MA have produced a Plum Island throw as part of their ongoing fund raising. The throw features the Plum Island Lighthouse in the middle surrounded by other historic sites of Plum Island. The 100% pre-washed cotton throw is full color and measures 50” x 65” fully fringed. It is available for $50.00 plus $5.00 shipping by send check or money order to The Friends of Plum Island Light, 9 Barker Street, Plum Island, Newburyport, MA 01950.

Beaver Island restoration

Michigan’s Beaver Island Lighthouse has been awarded a $150,000 Save America’s Treasures grant. The money will be used for exterior renovations and a self-contained fire suppression system. The lighthouse from the last 1800’s was located along the shipping route linking the east coast to Chicago. Beaver Island became a primary stop for refueling wood powered ships. For the past 20 years the Beaver Island Lighthouse School has worked to transform the boarded up buildings of the site into an education site as well as a tourist attraction.

ALF is not them

The group charged with overseeing the transition of Maine’s Cutler Navy base from military to another use has rejected a proposal from a group called Maine Lighthouse Corporation that would have turned the facility into a residential drug treatment center. As President of the American Lighthouse Foundation, which has ownership of and is restoring the Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, a number of people think we are part of the same group. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact I hadn’t heard of them before this. I also think their name (Maine Lighthouse Corp) is very deceiving to the public since they have nothing to do with lighthouses.

New light at Sea Girt

New Jersey’s Sea Girt Lighthouse now has its newly purchased 40-inch high Fresnel lens on display at the lighthouse. They bought the lens on eBay for $20,000. The lens had been in use at the Crowdy Head Lighthouse in Australia.

Lightship for sale

The WLV-613 Nantucket Lightship is for sale and it’s a beauty. The WLV-613 was built with a tripod supporting the light, which is different than most other U.S. lighships, which had a dual pole system or single pole. WLV-613 served in Ambrose Channel, as a RELIEF vessel up and down the New England coast and her last duty was at Nantucket where she served from 1979-1983. Honored as the best-preserved and maintained lightship by the Lightship Sailors Association, the vessel is in mint condition. Being of museum quality, it will require a wealthy individual or perhaps a group of people to buy her. For more information go to YachtSalvage.com or email certifiedsales@bdol.com

Korean Lighthouses to be saved.

The Korean Ministry of Maritime Affairs states that it wants to make a concerned effort to save its nation’s historical significant lighthouses. It is establishing a committee of architecture professors and historians to evaluate all of the 2,276 lighthouses in Korea. They said that their plan calls for some to be preserved permanently as tourist attractions and others will be used for maritime education. The first step in the process will be to study four still manned lighthouses in Homigot, Songdaemal, Wulgi and Ganjeolgot, which guard the coastline in North Gyeongsang Province.

Chinese lighthouse stamps

China has come out with five lighthouse postage stamps. The lighthouses featured on the stamps are Maota Pagoda, Jiangxin Pagoda, Huaniaoshan, Laotieshan, and Lin’gao. We have written to the Chinese government for some historical information for a story on these lighthouses and will keep you posted if we hear back from them.

Cemeteries in disrepair

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is in a state of disrepair according to a new government report. Many of the headstones are cracked and moldy and the grounds sag from years of neglect and restrooms are so bad no one wants to use them. This is not unusual according to the report by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which states that 119 national cemeteries need repairs that will cost $280 million dollars. In fact, some national cemeteries are used by the homeless and at the Prescott National Cemetery in Arizona the American flag is old, faded and nearly torn to shreds, yet it still waves with no money to replace it. Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery will need $15 million dollars in repairs and the longer the repairs are not made, the more the cost will go up. Fort Rosecrans is named after lighthouse engineer General William S. Rosecrans, that man who missed becoming president by hours. Abraham Lincoln offered him the Vice Presidency, but by the time he replied, Lincoln had picked Andrew Johnson. Had Rosecrans answered on a timely basis, he would have become president after Lincoln’s assassination in 1865.

Keeper’s gravesites

The American Lighthouse Foundation is attempting to create a database of the location and condition of the gravesites of every American Lighthouse keeper. But this can only be done with the help of our readers. They are asking lighthouse aficionados everywhere to photograph and send to them photos of the gravestones of lighthouse keepers as well as the location of the gravesite. This information can be sent to American Lighthouse Foundation, P.O. Box 889, Wells, ME 04090.

The visit may cost you

A visit to one of Maine’s most popular tourist attractions may soon cost you if some of Maine’s Cape Elizabeth town councilors get their way. Under their plan a $5.00 fee will be charged per car to enter Fort Williams where Portland Head Light is located. Tour buses would pay $40.00. Officials say it now costs the town $120,000 year to operate and maintain the park, which amounts to $30.00 per year per homeowner in the town. The stickers issued would be good for year. If the plan goes through I wonder if the homeowners will see a reduction in their taxes of $30.00 per year. I doubt it.

This story appeared in the January 2003 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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