We received many letters from readers about last months story on Sharps Island Lighthouse. As a matter of fact the story generated more letters to us than most of the stories that we've published in the past couple of years. The following letter from Bob Kaminski pretty much sums up the sentiment of all the letters we received . . .
It seems that the Coast Guard proposal to dismantle Sharps Island Lighthouse and, perhaps replace it with a buoy, may be logical from the perspective of cutting costs and for the safety of the people who work on the tower.
However, the stipulation by F. Ross Holland that the tower be removed without much fanfare since keeping only one style of each lighthouse would be sufficient is not without fault.
The Chesapeake Bay is an area that is starting to see a ground swell of interest in lighthouse preservation and history. Such can be seen in the Chesapeake Chapter of the USLHS and in the recent publication of the book Bay Beacons (a book that has been long awaited due to lack of current information on the Bay's lighthouses). To lose a lighthouse at this time would be an unnecessary tragedy.
Each lighthouse has its own history, no matter how insignificant it might be, Such history, compounded with the historical significance of the lighthouse and the fact that it is or once was a vital part of U.S. maritime history, should be a forceful enough reason to ensure that each structure is preserved. To lose one light because "only one of each type should be saved" would be an insult to those who are really interested in the regions lighthouses.
The fact that Sharps Island Lighthouse might be dismantled provides an opportunity for the Bay area museums.
To the best of my knowledge, this type of situation occurred once before when Lubec Channel Light in Maine was supposedly scheduled for demolition. If I remember correctly residents started a campaign to save the "Sparkplug." Surely, it might have been considered an insignificant structure by some people but many others thought it should be saved and it was.
No other cassion lighthouse is currently open to the public. They are, for the most part, closed and inaccessible. By moving the Sharps Island Lighthouse to a museum, such as the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum or the one in St. Michaels, MD, or to any other location, access by the public to a cassion lighthouse would be facilitated. The tower could be refurbished, furnished and restored to the way it looked during its prime. Lighthouse aficionados and others who are interested in lighthouses would then have the opportunity to go into and climb a cassion lighthouse. This could be a golden opportunity for any museum that would be willing to devote the time to move the lighthouse and restore it.
Where else could one possible actually go inside of a cassion lighthouse and see what it was like to live there?
Editors Reply: Three cheers!
This story appeared in the
April 1996 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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