Digest>Archives> January 1998

Keepers Korner

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News & Notes From Everywhere

Robert Fraser and Priscilla Andrews have compiled an interesting spiral bound book called Lighthouses and Museum Lightships in the First Coast Guard District. It has 598 pages is and packed full of interesting tidbits, facts, sketches and more. It is available for $13.00 plus $4.95 shipping as item #91801 from Lighthouse Depot, P.O. Box 427, Wells, Maine 04090 or by phone toll free at 1-800-758-1444.

Cheryl Parker, Director of the Museum at Maine's Portland Head Light has received the Governor's Award for Excellence in Volunteer Administration for her work at the world famous lighthouse museum. We salute her!

Harbour Lights has announced that their 1998 Special Event replica will be of Roosevelt Island Light, NY. The lighthouse is more correctly known as Blackwell's Light which rests at the end of Roosevelt Island and was previously known as Welfare Island. This is one of the few lighthouses in the United States not erected by the federal government. It was built by the city of New York in 1872 to mark the entrance to what is known as Hell Gate. The island is in the East River, between the boroughs of Manhatten and Queens. The island was originally called Welfare Island because it was formerly the site of many institutions for the chronically ill, insane, and destitute. It was renamed Roosevelt Island and has since been built up with condos and apartments.

The City of Texas City, Texas is constructing a replica of the Shoal Point Lighthouse. We plan to do a story on the lighthouse in a future issue of Lighthouse Digest.

In June of 1998 the Lighthouse Inn in West Dennis, Massachusetss, will celebrate 60 years of Stone family ownership. The Inn is the former Bass River Lighthouse. For reservation information, or to request a brochure, you can call the Lighthouse Inn at 508-398-2244.

Dramatist Gayle Johnson and Island Players of Washington Island have collaborated and received a grant from the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Commission to complete the research and writing of a play dramatizing the role of women who have been significant in lighthouse history in Wisconsin. The play, which will be preformed on Washington Island, Wisconsin this spring and summer, will also tour as part of the state's sesquicentennial celebration. If you have information, stories, letters, etc. of women in Wisconsin's lighthouse history, you are invited to share the info with Ms. Johnson at Island Players, P.O. Box 154, Washington Island, WI 54246.

Maine's Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse may soon become the property of the City of Rockland if the town's application is approved under the Maine Lights Program. One of the suggested uses after restoration is to turn it into a living history museum in the summer months. David Grima, a columnist for the Courier Gazette Newspaper and also the newspapers Community Editor, said in a recent column "we already have a lighthouse museum," referring to the Shore Village Lighthouse Museum. He went on to say, "If ever there was a lighthouse designated not to be converted into a museum, it is ours." He was referring to the fact that the lighthouse is difficult to get to and people only go there in nice weather. He went on to say, "It would make a better penal colony. It would probably be better to turn it into the Alcatraz of Penobscot Bay, then to spend property taxes dolling it all up as a museum." Apparently Mr. Grima did not do his research on this one. Under the plan there would not be any tax dollars used to restore and maintain the lighthouse, all the money would come from donations. It is also important to remember that this is also one of the newspapers that came out against a lighthouse license plate for the state of Maine. Perhaps Mr. Grima and the owners of this newspaper should consider moving to Cuba where their views might be considered more conceivable.

The Sunday Star Ledger Newspaper out of Newark, NJ recently ran a story titled, Which Jersey coin do you flip for? The newspaper came up with what it felt would be three possible designs for the state's new quarter and asked its readers to vote on the design. You may recall from past issues of Lighthouse Digest that the new federal law will allow each state to decide what design will appear on the reverse side of the 25 cent pieces. The newspaper came up with Thomas Edison in Menlo Park, NJ inventing the light bulb, George Washington crossing the Delaware and historic Barnegat Light. Lighthouses are seeming to draw some attention for the new quarters and it will be interesting to see if any of the 50 states will pick a lighthouse. Remember, your state congressmen and women do read their mail. Write to them and let them know you'd like to see a lighthouse on your state's 25 cent piece.

It is been 10 months now since the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society signed a memorandum of agreement with the financially strapped National Park Service to take over the maintenance and operation of the Fire Island Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters. It is the ongoing goal of the group to keep the site open to the public. If you are not a member of this group and would like to make a donation or join them in their effort, please make your check payable to FILPS and send to 4640 Captree Island, Captree Island, NY 11702-4601. Individual membership is $25; Family $40; Booster $100; Keeper $150; Saver $300; Corporate $500.

Pat Biggs has taken over as the gift shop manager at Michigan's Grand Traverse Lighthouse. Pat and her husband Jerry are great lighthouse enthusiasts and Jerry, as well as being a photo contributor, has written a number of articles for Lighthouse Digest. Both are heavily involved with the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, with Jerry being the Vice President and Pat is the coordinator of the Lake Ontario Conference. For more information on the lighthouse you can write to them at Grand Traverse Lighthouse Foundation, P.O. Box 43, Northport, MI 49670.

Another great group is the Friends of Boston Harbor Islands. The group is active in the preservation of the islands in Boston Harbor and Boston Lighthouse, America's first light station. The group holds a number of informative and fun cruises throughout the year. Individual membership is $25.00 and family membership is $40. You can contact them at 349 Lincoln Street, Building 45, Hingham, MA 02043-1601

Bruce Roberts and Ray Jones, authors of the popular series of regional lighthouse books, have announced the upcoming spring release of two new books. Basically what they have done is split the book Southern Lighthouses into two new expanded books, Gulf Coast Lighthouses and Southeastern Lighthouses. The books will contain lighthouses not included in the original book, and expanded history on the others. Both books will retail for $19.95 and will be available from Lighthouse Depot by calling toll free at 1-800-758-1444.

A Swedish film company is coming to the United States to include Maine lighthouses and Lighthouse Depot in its upcoming film presentation on lighthouses of the world.

The recent 10 year anniversary show of the popular PBS TV show Made in Maine featured a 15 minute segment on Lighthouse Depot. The show which aired during a pledge drive, included a one year subscription to Lighthouse Digest and a Maine Lighthouse Calendar for a $60.00 paid pledge to PBS. It was certainly an exciting night for us. A couple of nights later, PBS Maine aired the film Light Spirit with Jack Perkins which also features a small segment on Lighthouse Depot. The VHS video, Light Spirit is currently available through our catalog and is truly the best Maine lighthouse video ever produced. It includes every single one of Maine's lighthouses and few that are no longer standing. It can be ordered by calling us toll free at 1-800-758-1444.

Part of a new movie, to be directed by Penny Marshall, will be filmed in Lubec Maine. The production crew has selected the famous red and white striped West Quoddy Head Lighthouse for its coastal winter scenes. Over 100 people from the production company will fill up the small towns motels and B & B's.

The Two Harbors Lighthouse in Two Harbors, MN went out late last year. Minnesota's oldest lighthouse simply broke down when the gear that kept the beacon rotating broke. The Coast Guard reports it has been unable to fix it.

The United States Coast Guard says it wants to rid itself of thirteen California lighthouses. Among those that it wishes to relinquish ownership of are: Point Reyes, Farallon, Alcatraz, Lime Point, Point Diablo, Point Conception, St. George Reef, along with five others in Los Angeles County.

This story appeared in the January 1998 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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