Digest>Archives> June 2005

Keeper's Korner

News and Notes from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison

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Final Boarding

LCDR Jack A. Eckert, USCG (Ret) of Wisconsin passed away at age 73 in Ozaukee this past March. Many of you may have known Jack through his popular web site Jacks Joint, www.JacksJoint.com. Jack enlisted in the Coast Guard at age 17 and retired 27 years later as a Lt. Commander; 2nd in command of all Coast Guard operations for the Western Area District that covered Port Barrow Alaska to San Diego, California. Prior to becoming a commissioned officer, he served at various times at a number of Great Lakes lighthouses including Sturgeon Bay, Pilot Island and Milwaukee Breakwater. He also served on a number of Coast Guard Cutters including the McCulloch, Evergreen, Fredrick Lee, Mackinaw, Escanaba and Cook Inlet. Jack was also a proud patriot of the Republic of Boon Island and held a political office in the humorous but serious business of lighthouse preservation. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Joanna, three sons and 11 grandchildren.

Barnegat Exhibit open

In case you missed it, a new interpretative center, completed last fall, is now open at the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park (NJ). The exhibit, which is open daily from 9 to 4 in the summer months, chronicles the history of the historic Barnegat Lighthouse.

Canadian keeper passes

John Louis Brandon, a former Canadian lighthouse keeper, has passed away. After retiring from the Royal Canadian Navy in 1957, Brandon joined the Canadian Coast Guard. He served as a keeper at Western Island, Cove Island and as chief keeper at Michipicoten Harbour Lighthouse where he was stationed for 20 years. Brandon was nicknamed "Louie the Light" by local residents. One of his more memorable recollections was of being on duty the night the Edmund Fitzgerald sank on November 10, 1975.

Searching for old story

We are looking for an original copy of The Rhode Islander Magazine from December 9, 1951. The Rhode Islander is a magazine-style insert of the Providence Sunday Journal newspaper. If any of our readers can locate an original copy, please contact us at editor@LighthouseDigest.com or mail Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 68, Wells, ME 04090.

New exhibit in New Brunswick

The Kingston Peninsula Heritage Inc. [New Brunswick, Canada] 2005 summer gallery show in the John Fisher Memorial Museum is titled Lighthouses of the St. John River: Featuring Life at The Cedars. The show will open Thursday, June 16th at 7:30 PM after which the museum

will be open Tuesdays - Saturdays until Labor Day, then by appointment until November.

Kingston Peninsula Heritage has also announced that after nine years of negotiations, they will take over stewardship of the 100-year-old Cedars Lighthouse in Long Reach, New Brunswick, Canada. The summer show will include artifacts and photographs of life around this light as well as vintage photographs of other river lights, past and present.

Wanted Radio Direction Station photos

We are searching for old photographs of the Cape Elizabeth Radio Direction Finder Station in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. We are also looking for photos of the keepers of the station such as John A. Long, Robert N. Mellor, Thomas J. Carnevale, and Raymond Bradford. The station, located near Maine’s Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, was operated by the United States Lighthouse Service. If any of our readers can help, please email editor@LighthouseDigest.com or write to Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 68, Wells, ME 04090.

Where are the photos of the lighthouse people?

Searching for photographs of people who worked for the old United States Lighthouse Service is an ongoing battle and we need the help of our readers to locate and save the photos before time runs out. Remember, aside from keepers of lighthouses, there were many other people in the employment of the United States Lighthouse Service. We need your help to search the archives of every historical society in America. If any of our readers can help, please email editor@LighthouseDigest.com or write to Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 68, Wells, ME 04090.

North American Lighthouse Festival to be revived

Preservationists are reviving the North American Lighthouse Festival to be held this August 19-21 in Mackinaw City, Michigan. The festival was not held in the last couple of years because of poor attendance. The revived festival will be held at Conklin Park across the street from Traverse Bay Woolen Mills. Entertainment will be provided both evenings by Music on Mackinaw Foundation and Sheplers Mackinac Island Ferry will be adding lighthouse tours especially for the event. For more info., call Chris West at (906) 250-5097 or email him at chriswest@waugonshance.org.

Cedar Point comes back to life

The Cedar Point Lighthouse once stood at the mouth of the Patuxent River near Solomons, Maryland. As the lighthouse deteriorated, the lantern room was removed in 1981 and moved to the nearby Patuxent River Naval Air Museum. In 1996, the wooden portion of the tower was also dismantled and moved to the station and the rest of the lighthouse was torn down. The top of the tower has now been rebuilt by Navy Seabees to resemble the original structure.

New Mackinaw launched

The new Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw was officially launched and christened this past April in Marinette, Wisconsin. The old and famous USCGC Mackinaw that was commissioned on Dec. 20, 1944 will be decommissioned later this year. When it was built, the original Mackinaw was the most powerful icebreaker in the world and it proved this by keeping the maritime channels open on the Great Lakes. The new Mackinaw is sleeker in design and will officially be delivered to the Coast Guard on Oct. 15, although an official commissioning date has not yet been set. The new Mackinaw will have a crew of eight officers and 38 enlisted personnel. As with all icebreakers, it will be painted red.

Sheringham petitions government

In an effort to stop a private developer, the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society has submitted a petition to the Canadian government to turn the historic lighthouse and 10 acres of surrounding land over to them and Juan de Fuca Electrol Area Parks Commission. The 1912 Sheringham Point Lighthouse is located near French Beach State Park in Shirley, British Columbia, Canada.

New leaders for Delaware River & Bay group

At a recent meeting of the Board of Directors of the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation, Herb Von Goerres was elected the new president and Tom Craft, vice president. Von Goerres replaces Bob Trapani Jr. who left his position as president to become the first executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation, which is based out of Wells, Maine. We wish them all the best of success in their new positions.

New Historical Marker in Florida

We just found out that Florida’s Pensacola Lighthouse has a new historical marker, thanks to the Colonial Dames of the 17th Century, Fort San Carlos Chapter. Apparently, the marker was funded by Hope and Wilton Glover. If only someone had bothered to notify us, it would have been pictured in Lighthouse Digest. We need more help from the lighthouse community worldwide to send us photos and stories of ceremonies and events like this. It’s too bad that so many good things about lighthouses only get reported in the community that they take place in, when there’s a whole world of lighthouse lovers out there.

Chicamacomico grant

The Outer Banks Community Foundation received a grant of $5,700 for the ongoing restoration of the Chicamacomico Life Saving Station, which, in 1874, became the first station established on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Maine’s Governor protects one lighthouse

Maine’s Governor John Baldacci has signed a new law that gives the Commissioner of Marine Resources authority to adopt rules to protect Burnt Island Lighthouse and the Burnt Island Living Lighthouse. The law also allows the commissioner to adopt rules and implement educational and recreational programs on the island. This is great news, however, we wonder when Maine’s politicians will act to help other lighthouses in the state that are not state owned.

Tim Janis special

Composer Tim Janis, who has sold over one million albums and was the star of the George Clooney narrated "Beautiful America" PBS special last year, will record a special on July 9 at Portland Maine’s Merrill Auditorium entitled "Tim Janis: Coastal America." It will feature high-definition footage of natural and historic highlights of America’s coast, including lighthouses. It will be broadcast nationally beginning March of 2006 during the PBS TV pledge drives.

Putnam finally recognized

George R. Putnam, the man who reorganized and modernized our nation’s Lighthouse Service, is finally getting recognized for his

efforts. The Coast Guard has created an award named the "George R. Putnam Inspirational Leadership Award" which will be awarded to individuals who, according to the criteria, " exemplify the Coast Guard’s leadership philosophy, principles and core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty."

Bodie Lens transferred

The National Park Service now owns the first order lens at North Carolina’s Bodie Island Lighthouse. Ownership of the lens was transferred from Coast Guard ownership in a ceremony held at the lighthouse.

This story appeared in the June 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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