Seguin’s Fog Bell
This historic old photograph of Maine’s Seguin Island Lighthouse gives a nice view of the 3rd assistant keeper’s house that is no longer standing. But, perhaps more importantly, if you look closely just above the left hand corner of the 3rd assistant keeper’s house, you’ll see a fog bell mounted on a tripod. The first bell here was installed in 1840, and it was replaced by a larger fog bell in 1852. However, in 1870 the fog bell was replaced by a steam driven fog horn, which in turn was replaced in the early 1900s by a diesel compression powered fog horn. Seguin Island Lighthouse is located on an island off, the coast of Popham Beach. Even though the tower is only 53 feet tall, it is the highest lighthouse above sea level in Maine. At some point, the fog bell was removed from the island and displayed in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. In October of 2015, the Friends of Seguin Island were able to secure possession of the fog bell and it was airlifted and reinstalled back on the island.
Bells of the Sea Will Toll No More
This United Newspictures photograph taken on November 4, 1924 shows a large a large number of Lighthouse Service fog bells of various sizes lined up at the Tompkinsville General Lighthouse Depot in Staten Island, New York. The caption read, “Worn out in service, cracked from the wrack of pitching waves, destined for the melting flame, these bells could tell many tales if their silent tongues could speak. On fog bound nights their warnings have given distressed ships their bearing – even their different tones were known to those that sail the sea. Worn out in service, their work is done.” The bells had various raised letters inscribed, such as, USLHE for United States Light House Establishment, USLHS for United States Light House Service, and the words U.S. Lighthouse Service. Fortunately, enough inscribed fog bells and buoy bells have survived for historical purposes.
Annisquam River Beacon
This 1937 photograph is one of the aids to navigation that were installed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service and was called the Annisquam River Beacon on the Annisquam River in Massachusetts. They may have been maintained by people called lamplighters. Unfortunately, the man in the photograph was not identified.
Lightship Sailor Sven Olsen
Sven Torstein Olsen (1899-1988) is shown here in his garden on June 6, 1981 during his retirement years. Born in Norway, by the age of 15 Sven T. Olsen joined the merchant marine and served on ships all over the world. In 1917 when he was a mate on an English coal ship, it, along with four others vessels, were torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat. Sven Olsen spent four hours in the water by the time he was rescued. He then immigrated to the United States, and in 1927 at the age of 28 he became a U.S. citizen and joined the U.S. Lighthouse Service. During his lighthouse career, he served on the Diamond Shoals Lightship, the Fenwick Island Lightship and the Chesapeake Lightship LV 116. He was onboard the Chesapeake Lightship when the vessel was heavily damaged during the Great Hurricane of September 18, 1936. When the Coast Guard took over the Lighthouse Service in 1939, Sven T. Olsen joined the Coast Guard and served with them until his retirement in 1957.
Chesapeake Lightship Arrives to Its Final Home
This photo was taken on June 4, 1981 with a caption that read, “The Chesapeake Lightship, a floating lighthouse on loan to the City of Baltimore from the federal government for use as a tourist attraction, arrived in the harbor after being delayed five hours in the fog. The city expects tours of the ship to begin next week. It will be berthed at Pier 4, across from the U.S.S. Torsk, and the city announced that visitors will be able to see both the lightship and submarine for the price of a single ticket - $ 2 for adults and $1 for children.” To this day, the Chesapeake Lightship is still on display in Baltimore as part of Historic Ships Baltimore. We don’t know who the lady is who is waving to greet the lightship. However, on the back of the photo is written the name of Laura Combs, who may or may not be the waving lady. Perhaps one of our readers has the answer.
The United States Coast Guard Cutter Red Wood (WLM-685) is shown towing a new Lighted Navigational Buoy (LNB) from the General Dynamics Corporation in June of 1967 to its station at the southern approach to New York Harbor. In addition to a 5,000 candlepower light, the buoy was equipped with instruments for the collection and transmission of weather data. The Cutter Red Wood was launched on April 4, 1964 and homeported at the Coast Guard Depot in New London, Connecticut to service the 260 aids to navigation and logistical services to lighthouses in Long Island Sound and the surrounding waters. The Red Wood was decommissioned on June 30, 1999 and transferred to the nation of Argentina. This original and official photo in the archives of Lighthouse Digest was issued to the press by General Dynamics of Groton Connecticut.
Envelope Honors Last Day
This special cached envelope in the archives of Lighthouse Digest was issued on December 12, 1979 as a special souvenir to honor the Last Day in Commission of the Lightship Columbia LV 604. The Lightship Columbia LV 604 was commissioned in 1951, and it was the 4th and final lightship to be stationed at the mouth of the Columbia River. Standing true to the slogan that the Coast Guard is the “Policemen of the Sea,” the emblem was a starfish wearing a cowboy hat with the letters USCG and a star on the vest of the starfish that is holding a light in each hand, to symbolize the lightship’s two beacons. The LV 604 has the distinction of being the final lightship to be decommissioned on the west coast of the United States. When it was decommissioned, it was replaced by a Lighted Navigational Buoy (LNB). In 1983, Columbia was added to the National Register of Historic Places. She was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989 under the name “Lightship WAL-604 Columbia” and is now located at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon alongside the LBN that replaced her in 1979 and was decommissioned in 1993.
Under Construction at Curtis Bay
This massive building shown here under construction in April of 1939 is the Colonial Barracks at the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Maryland. The structure still stands today as Building 33.
Polishing the Brass
Adrien J. Boisvert is shown here polishing the brass fittings of a 500-watt bulb used to light the lamp in the lighthouse. This may have been a press photo of some kind. Adrien Boisvert served as the lighthouse keeper at Fire Island Lighthouse in New York from 1934 to 1941 and at Coney Island Lighthouse in New York from 1941 to 1960.
A Last Keeper
Samuel “Hank” Mostovoy (1907-1988) and his wife Audrey took a special moment to pose for this photograph sometime around 1944. Hank Mostovoy was the last OIC (Officer in Charge) of California’s Punta Gorda Lighthouse, which was closed and abandoned by the government in 1951. (Photo courtesy Ron Clark.)
Recently, a subscriber mailed us this photograph of a 2nd assistant lighthouse keeper. Although the photograph looks familiar, we don’t recall or know who this man is. Perhaps one of our readers can help us identify this man. If you can help, please e-mail Editor@LighthouseDigest.com or call us at 207-259-2121.
From Murder She Wrote
This hand-out flyer appeared in episode 18 of the popular TV show Murder She Wrote in the 1995 season. Part of episode, titled “The Dream Team,” dealt with saving Maine’s fictional Cabot Cove Lighthouse. It is the only episode of the 264 shows that aired from 1984 to 1996 that dealt with a lighthouse.
This story appeared in the
May/Jun 2016 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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