Digest>Archives> April 2007

Keeper’s Korner

By Timothy Harrison


Michigan Light Wants Its Lens Back

In 2003 the Coast Guard removed the 3rd order Fresnel lens from Michigan’s new Presque Lighthouse for restoration and replaced the light in the tower with a modern optic. The folks at the lighthouse now want the lens back in the tower and apparently the Coast Guard won’t do it. The local historical society has grant money to put the lens in the tower Last year a bill was introduced in Congress called the Lester Nichols Presque Isle Light Station Act which would ensure that the lens be placed back in the tower. The group is now requesting the help of the readers of Lighthouse Digest to write to your federal legislator in the United States House of Representatives in Washington, DC. Ask them, for historical purposes, to please support the Lester Nichols Presque Isle Light Station Act that will allow for the historic Fresnel lens to be reinstalled in the Michigan lighthouse.

$1,000 Reward Offered For Museum

The Friends of Maine’s Doubling Point Lighthouse have offered a $1,000.00 reward to be given to the Maine Lighthouse Museum for information leading to the discovery and successful recovery of the station’s fog bell for display or reinstallation at the lighthouse. If you can help write to Jim or Joyce Spencer, 140 Doubling Point Road, Arrowsic, Maine 04530.

Help Locate Conneaut Lighthouse History

We are looking for photographs and memories of the lighthouse keepers who staffed any of the numerous lighthouses at Conneaut, Ohio. If you can help contact us at Editor@LighthouseDigest.com or write to Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.

Border Light’s Missing History

Another lighthouse where the history seems to be elusive is Canada’s Mulholland Point Lighthouse on Campobello Island, in New Brunswick. The lighthouse is easily viewed from the U. S. side of the border in Lubec, Maine. It would be wonderful to locate photos of the keepers who maintained the lighthouse and any recorded memories of their job there. It has been told that one of the keepers would walk from his home in Welshpool to extinguish the light in the morning and the climb down the wharf, untie his dinghy and row across the water to his job in the United States at a smokehouse in Lubec. He would then row back across the water at night, light the beacon and walk to his home. If anyone can help locate photos of the keepers we’d appreciate hearing from you.

Big Red To Be Transferred

Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, announced the Holland Harbor Lighthouse, known locally as “Big Red” in Holland Michigan will soon have a new owner. Under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 the lighthouse has been awarded to the Holland Harbor Lighthouse Historical Commission. The fire engine red lighthouse is a highly recognizable attraction to the area. As a young child growing up in Michigan I have many fond memories of many summer fishing off the channel by this lighthouse.

Condos A Go At Big Bay

A Marquette Michigan County judge appears to have removed legal barriers standing in the way of a proposed condominium project near Big Bay Point Lighthouse. We wonder how building will affect the historical integrity of the lighthouse. Only time will tell.

Lighthouse Artifacts

Not all lighthouse artifacts in collections around the country came directly from former keepers or official government donations to museum. Often times the government would auction of excess or no longer used items. An advertisement in the Brooklyn, NY, Eagle Newspaper in October of 1895 indicated there would be a large auction of items at the General Lighthouse Depot at Tompkinsville. The items included, lanterns, brassware, wrought iron, chains, and other equipment that was condemned or obsolete. We wonder how many of these items, if still around, would be rare and valuable antiques today.

Lost Bowlers Rock Light

We are looking for a photograph of the screwpile lighthouse structure that once stood at Bowlers Rock, Virginia. If any of our readers can help. We appreciate hearing from you.

Biloxi Park

The mayor of Biloxi has requested a $2.5 million dollar commitment from the City Council to create a park around the Biloxi Lighthouse. The money would be used to match federal money. The plan would ask to acquire land for the park and visitors center and have U.S. 90 rerouted to give the lighthouse and park more space creating an beautiful entrance into the city’s downtown district.

Submitting Stories

We get lots of mail from people who submit unsolicited stories to us. In the past, from time to time, we have accepted some of these stories and published them. However, we will no longer accept stories from people who are not subscribers to Lighthouse Digest. It seems there are some people out there who only have an interest in getting their story published, but have no real interest in actually wanting to support our efforts in saving and recoding lighthouse history.

New XO at San Luis Obispo

California’s Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers have named Margo Camilleri as their first Executive Director. She will now be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the lighthouse. One of her first goals is to be able to open the lighthouse for regular tours.

NPS To Take Over Five California Beacons

National Park Service officials are working out a deal to take over five California lighthouses from the Coast Guard, which include, Point Montara, Point Diablo, Lime Point, Lime Point and Alcatraz. The long-term goal is to open them to the public, however doing so will not be cheap and some will never be open and others already are. Point Montara is in the best shape as it has previously been managed by the state with help from Hosteling International, which will be allowed to remain for the time being. Restoring the bridge to Point Bonita is estimated to cost $1.2 million. The cost of restoring Alcatraz Light is not known. Point Diablo, a small light on a remote rock can only be reached by boat and Lime Point, a light station in ruins, will most likely never be restored because it is off limits for security reasons as it sits beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Although the current budget for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is $23.9 million it does not include any money to restore or staff the lighthouses.

Grosse Isle Range Lights

We are still looking for photographs of any of the keeper and any recorded memories of the keepers who served at any of the Grosse Isle, Michigan range lighthouses, which includes the Grosse Isle South Channel Front Range Light, Grosse Isle South Channel Rear Range Light, Grosse Isle North Channel Rear Range Light, and the Grosse Isle North Channel Front Range Light. If any of our readers know or can help locate these photos please contact us at editor@LighthouseDigest.com.

Coasties NY Reunion

In conjunction for a Coast Guard Reunion to be held Sept. 14-16 in Sackets Harbor, NY these folks are seeking any Coastie who served aboard the USCG’s Cherry, Maple, Ojibwa, White Lupine, Buckhorn, Arundel, Point Steele, Wire, and CG’s 83359, 65014-D (Chockberry) 55030, 45305, 49414, 45308, or 49404 while home ported in upper New York, Burlington, VT or Saugerties, NY. Any year, regular, auxiliary or civilian Coast Guard. Contact the ship or the local station or North Coast New York Coast Guard Assn. 4712 Glenwood Dr., Mantua, OH 44255 or cal 330-274-2927.

This story appeared in the April 2007 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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