Alton Relue Sweet will celebrate his 97th birthday on April 15, 2003 - almost 100 years to the day that his father, James Relue Sweet, first set foot on the Ballast Point Light Station in San Diego, California. Alton and his sister, Verla, who was born two years later, have the distinction of being born at the Ballast Point Lighthouse. According to National Archives Records, James Relue Sweet received his transfer orders to Ballast Point on April 27, 1903. His successor was appointed on January 8, 1912.
Following up on the excitement of the Lighthouse Digest article of July 2002, “Sweet Memories of San Diego,” Alton Sweet returned in February to San Diego to visit a special exhibit at the Commuter Terminal of the San Diego Airport. The focus of the exhibit is lighthouses and navigational aids.
The San Diego visit included a visit to an historic home built in 1904 on Point Loma that was part of the original Fort Rosecrans. The Sweets must have watched this house and perhaps visited with folks who lived there as they passed by on their way to town. Special arrangements were also made for Alton and his wife Rose to spend the night close to the actual location of the original lighthouse buildings. On the site now are several buildings used and maintained by the U.S. Naval Base at Point Loma.
A stop at the San Diego Yacht Club where historian Ed Barr welcomed Alton and a visit to the San Diego Maritime Museum completed Alton’s return visit to the San Diego area.
Soon there will be large photos on exhibit in the Harbor Inn Catering and Conference Building located on Ballast Point that will reflect the days when lighthouse families enjoyed living there.
This story appeared in the
April 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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