Digest>Archives> May 2007

Keepers Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


What happened to the Stonington Lighthouse?

One of the wonderful lighthouse sites to visit in Stonington, Connecticut is the Old Stonington Harbor Lighthouse. However, long gone from the scene in Stonington is the Stonington Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse that stood until 1923. While there are a few old post cards of the lighthouse around, actual photographs of the lighthouse seem to be elusive. If any of our readers can help locate an actual photo of the lighthouse, we’d appreciate hearing from you at editor@LighthouseDigest.com

Au Sable North Pierhead Lighthouse

Most people have forgotten about this lighthouse, which was also known as the Oscoda Pierhead Lighthouse, located where the Au Sable River empties into Lake Huron. If photographs of the lighthouse and some memories of the people that tended the lighthouse can be located we’ll do the story.

Thanks to Dana Point

A special word of thanks to Ed Guy and the folks at California’s Dana Point Lighthouse Society who said so many nice things about me and Lighthouse Digest in their recent newsletter. It was totally unexpected and certainly appreciated.

Another Keeper Is Lost

Irvin L. Sentz, 65, of Fort Pierce, Florida, a former lighthouse keeper at Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse in Maryland in the 1960s, passed away this past February. He was a 25-year veteran of the Coast Guard and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Our condolences go out to his family.

Colchester Reef Goes Solar

George Clifford, who wrote a booklet on Lake Champlain lighthouses, informed us that a solar-powered flashing white light was installed in Vermont’s Colchester Reef Lighthouse at the Shelburne Museum in June 2006. It’s on a sensor and comes on each evening at sunset. The lighthouse, once out in the water, was moved to land. The steamer Ticonderoga is also on the grounds near the lighthouse at the museum. George had a great line: “Now that the lighthouse is working, folks partying on the Ticonderoga at night can find their way home.”

Our Thanks to United Airlines

We were delighted to receive some wonderful free publicity that was given to Lighthouse Digest in the United Airlines magazine “Hemispheres.” The magazine is provided free to travelers on United Airline flights. The story was about niche magazines and prominantly featured an image of Lighthouse Digest.

Japanese Lighthouse Done

Japan has completed the construction of a $350,000 lighthouse on the tiny Pacific islands of Okinotorishma, which are in ownership dispute with China.

Cockspur Lit

The National Park Service installed a solar powered light in Georgia's Cockspur Lighthouse to draw attention to the endangered and until now, darkened lighthouse. At high tide the base of the lighthouse is under water and at low tide the wooden timbers that support the tower are exposed and are decaying from insect damage. While private nonprofits are busy saving lighthouse under their control through creative fund raising, it seems lighthouses that are under the National Park Service can only be saved with money from Washington and if Washington tax dollars are not allocated, this lighthouse will probably be lost.

Maine's Windjammer Days To Get Cutter

The Coast Guard Cutter Chinook will attend the Boothbay Harbor, Windjammer Days this June and will be open for tours on June 26 and 27. The Chinook is one of the Coast Guard's Coastal Patrol Boats that is tasked with search and rescue as well as coastal defense. It is normally home ported in New London, Connecticut.

Life-Saving Station To Be Moved

North Carolina's Bodie Island Coast Guard and Life Saving Stations will be moved to the entrance of the park where Bodie Island Lighthouse is located. One of the buildings will be used as an interpretative center for the Coast Guard Life Saving Station and the Bodie Island Lighthouse.

Repairs At Bodie Island

Thanks to the money raised by the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society emergency repairs have begun on the Bodie Island Lighthouse. A boom truck will be used in doing the repairs. There are only two trucks in the United States that are tall enough to reach the top of the tower.

Goats Threaten Lighthouse

It seems that 500 hungry goats have eaten so much vegetation around the Sokkosaki Lighthouse near the village of Nishikomi on Amami-Oshima Island in Japan that erosion is now threatening to topple the lighthouse. Recently erosion rendered the helipad at the lighthouse unsafe for use. Government officials have hired hunters to thin the herd of goats provided the hunters agree to eat what they capture.

No Takers For Connecticut Beacon

The Tongue Point Lighthouse in Bridgeport, Connecticut was offered free of charge for adoption under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, but there were no takers interested in adopting the lighthouse. Unbelievably, afterwards, the mayor of the town said he had never even been to the lighthouse, although he said the city would support any nonprofits efforts to obtain ownership. But the time period for qualified applicants passed and the Coast Guard has now changed its mind about excessing the structure that is often called the Bridgeport Breakwater Lighthouse. Because of security concerns since the lighthouse is in close proximity to a regulated facility, the Coast Guard will keep the lighthouse and continue to maintain it. This was not the case in 1967 when the Coast Guard wanted to tear it down, but didn't because of public protests.

Storms Damage Lighthouse in Wales

Storms have heavily damaged the Point of Ayr Lighthouse at Talacre, Flintshire in Wales. Also referred to as Talacre Lighthouse, reports indicate that close up inspection showed heavy damage and the lighthouse could topple. Local officials however have stated that repairs will be made to save the lighthouse.

Improvements Slated for Mukilteo

The Washington State Legislature has proposed $980,000 for the redevelopment of Lighthouse Park at the Mukilteo Lighthouse. The redesigned site plan calls for parking and trails, shoreline restoration, pedestrian pier, picnic shelters, children's play areas, work on the lighthouse, increased green space and improved pedestrian access. This is only the first phase of a $5 million project that is hoped to be completed in additional phases, which have not yet been funded.

Old Documents Surface

Volunteers are pouring through a treasure trove of old documents in Provincetown, Massachusetts that have recently been rediscovered. Among them was a document from Capt. Henry Parsons who related how he helped keep the family of Long Point Lighthouse keeper Thomas L. Chase stay alive during one winter in the 1930's by throwing freshly caught cod on the beach after a snowstorm stranded the family in the lighthouse.

Raspberry Light to Reopen

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore will reopen the historic Raspberry Island Lighthouse this summer. During the last two years the lighthouse has been closed to the public while the light station has undergone rehabilitation. The lighthouse itself is now furnished with period furniture and other items that have been donated or funded by private contributions.

Replica of Lighthouse Library Available Again

Jim Claflin of Kenrick Claflin & Sons Nautical Antiques is again offering replicas of the U.S. Light-House Establishment or U.S. Life Saving Service Traveling Library. This is a most unique item that would be a wonderful addition to any museum or private collection. An original, if you could even find one, would sell for $4,000 to $5,000 depending on condition. Jim's replicas sell for $1295 or kits, ready to assemble for $1,145. FMI you can write to Kenrick Claflin & Son Nautical Antiques, 1227 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602 or call Jim at 508-792-6627. If you buy one, be sure to mention you heard about it from Lighthouse Digest.

ALF Gets New Treasurer

This past March, the American Lighthouse Foundation's, Board of Directors, elected Alan S. Ells as the organization’s new treasurer to replace Kathleen Finnegan who served as the treasurer since the group was formed in 1994. Finnegan felt that after 12 full years as the preservation group's volunteer treasurer she needed more time to devote to her position as managing editor of Lighthouse Digest. She also felt it was time to bring someone new into the management of the ever-growing organization. Ells, a long time advocate of lighthouse preservation is also the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Justice Project, a position which he will continue to hold, since his new additional job with ALF is a volunteer one. Although Finnegan has left her position as treasurer she will remain as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Lighthouse Foundation. We congratulate Ells and wish him the best of success. The lighthouse preservation movement owes Kathleen Finnegan a sincere vote of thanks for the 12 years she served as an unpaid volunteer officer of ALF, an organization that started with a bread basket passed around a motel meeting room to raise money to start the group, which today has 23 lighthouses and is a national leader in the lighthouse preservation movement.

This story appeared in the May 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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