Digest>Archives> February 2003

Keeper’s Korner

Tid-bits from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Daymark will be restored

Coast Guard engineers from the Civil Engineering Office in Rhode Island are still working on the plans for the repair to restore Nix’s Mate navigational aid in Boston Harbor. Repair was delayed because of other projects. However, it is expected that repairs and restoration will be done this soon (depending on weather) or this spring.

Lighthouses sold

Stony Point Lighthouse in Henderson, NY has been sold to Cheryl and John Faust Jr. of Dover, NJ for $272,500. As advertised in Lighthouse Digest, the lighthouse had been for sale since mid 2001 for $399,000. The property had previously been in the same family ownership for 30 years. Also recently sold was the Crossover Island Light in Hammond, NY to John J. Urtis of Alexandria, VA for $465,000.

Stolen lighthouse now anchored

A lighthouse facsimile that sat at the beginning of the driveway of Jack Cotes’ home in Holland, MI for nearly 20 years was found in the woods by a hunter a month after it was stolen. Cotes had offered a large reward for the return of the lighthouse and a separate reward for the arrest of the thieves. Cotes, a founding member of the Holland Harbor Historical Lighthouse Commission, said the lighthouse weighed several hundred pounds so it would have taken more than one person to steal it. To prevent a future theft, Cotes has now has a 20-ton anchor attached to the lighthouse.

Dare County stays out of lighthouse fight

The Dare County (NC) Board of Commissioners is staying out of the political fight for Currituck Beach Lighthouse. It a recent public hearing where they heard from people on both sides of the battle for the lighthouses the Commissioners said they would not support the Currituck County officials in their attempt to seize the lighthouse by federal legislation. Instead, Dare County officials said the lighthouse should be allowed to be excessed under National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act and let government officials decide who is best suited to be the new owner of the lighthouse, the Outer Banks Conservationists (who have restored it) or Currituck County that wants the lighthouse to generate cash for the county.

Lighthouse not free

The Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers are not jumping at the chance to own the Point Sur Lighthouse that they have been taking care of for years. They feel that the financial concerns are simply too great for their small non-profit. Since 1996 nearly one and a half million dollars has been spent restoring the light station. Nearly on half of that money has come from the federal government. Instead, the non-profit wants to see the State Parks Department take ownership of the lighthouse and continue to allow the Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers to work with the state in maintaining the structure and raising funds. The non-profit says this way the state has to deal with the insurance and liability of maintaining such an old structure while they can still continue with their labor of love.

Nostalgia cost too high say Canadian officials

Canada’s auditor general Shelia Fraser said that Canada has spent $72 million since 1998 to staff Canada’s last manned stations purely for nostalgia reasons and that they should no longer be staffed. She went on to say that the department that manages Canada’s lighthouses has no consistent approach to determining and then maintaining the lighthouses. Fisheries Minister Robert Thibault is contemplating another attempt at de-staffing the remaining manned stations, saying that advocates for the keeping the lighthouses manned are doing so for purely nostalgic reasons. The auditor-general’s office has suggested partners such as non-profits and communities be looked into to satisfy heritage concerns. In the past, public outcry has kept Canada’s remaining manned stations from being de-staffed.

Recommended book

One of the nice personal memories books sold by Lighthouse Depot is one called Foghorns Saved Lives, Too by Vivia DeRusha Quantz. Vivia was born in Ashland, Wisconsin in 1929, the daughter of a lighthouse keeper. Her father served as a keeper at various lighthouses including Devils Island, Big Bay and Stannard Rock. This book is about her childhood memories and is well worth reading by any lighthouse aficionado. The book is available from Lighthouse Depot as item #91232 for only $8.00 plus shipping.

Point Reyes beacon to be restored

Workers are in the process of restoring California’s Point Reyes Lighthouse. One and half million dollars is being spent to restore the 132-year-old beacon. This includes fixing the 400-plus stairs leading up to the lighthouse and restoration of the tower.

This story appeared in the February 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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