Undersea archeologist David Robinson has discovered the remains of Rhode Island’s Whale Rock Lighthouse, which was destroyed in the Great Hurricane of 1938, taking the life of assistant keeper Walter Eberle.
Robinson, who is with the Public Archeology Lab in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, said he intends to document the scattered metal remains of the spark-plug style lighthouse to help preserve the site and as a memorial to Keeper Eberle who made the ultimate sacrifice while manning the light.
The Whale Rock Lighthouse was referred to as a “spark-plug” style lighthouse because of its shape. Being stationed at Whale Rock Lighthouse was not favored by lighthouse keepers at the time because of its obvious location which exposes it to every storm that hits the area and its confined living space.
When it was first built in 1882, it was a family station. In fact, one keeper went “mad” at the lighthouse and attacked his wife. It later became a stag station with no family members allowed.
Our readers may recall the story of Walter Eberle in the April 2001 issue
of Lighthouse Digest. The full story can also be found on our web site at www.LighthouseDigest.com by typing in Eberle in the search box.
Robinson said that Eberle’s story inspired him to become an undersea archeologist. Although his work usually involves artifacts that are thousands of years old, discovering and documenting the remains of the lighthouse brings him back to his cause and an obligation that he felt he owes to the man who left a legacy to his calling.
This story appeared in the
March 2005 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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