Digest>Archives> June 2007

Keeper's Korner

By Timothy Harrison

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Lake Havasu Gets New Lighthouse

A 19-foot replica of Maine’s Mt. Desert Rock Lighthouse is now shining from Lake Havasu on the California-Arizona border. The replica was placed on the California side of the lake at the southern point of Thompson Bay known for its shallow waters. Shirley Robinson, daughter of Maine lighthouse keeper George York, was one of the leaders in getting the lighthouse replica built. We have done previous stories in Lighthouse Digest about Shirley, her father and the lighthouse of Lake Havasu. We congratulate Shirley for her diligent efforts in keeping alive the stories and memories of the lighthouse keepers of yesteryear.

GLLKA Offers Tours

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association is offering a wide variety of lighthouse excursions this year. I have been on some of these in the past and can tell

you they are well worth it. FMI visit their

web site at www.gllka.com or call them at (231) 436-5580.

Lighthouse Saved From Fire

Quick thinking fire fighters saved the remote Swallowtail Lighthouse on Canada’s Grand Manan Island. The first volunteer fire fighters on the scene were armed only with a sheet of plywood, one shovel, and a backpack full of forestry items. With flames four feet high they only had one alternative; to start a backfire. At the base of the lighthouse they set backfires and let them burn about three feet and then put them out. The fast spreading fire stopped and the lighthouse was saved.

Michigan Freezes Grant Money

The Governor of Michigan issued an Executive Order to freeze all grant money given by the state causing the state’s lighthouse groups to rally in protest. Terry Pepper, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association said, "I personally find this incomprehensible since the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Fund is purportedly 100% funded through the sale of "Save Our Lights," license plates, and as such represents a direct pass through of funds resulting from the sale of the plates." He went on to say, "I am sure you will agree that a diversion of these funds anywhere other tan to lighthouse preservation would represent a complete breach of trust on behalf of the State." Hopefully by the time we go top press the Governor’s Executive Directive will have been reversed by the outcry of the state’s lighthouse groups.

New Deck At Delaware’s Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse

Volunteers of the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation installed the seventh landing deck at the lighthouse since the group took over the lighthouse in 2003. This new deck was made of nonskid fiberglass component rather than the previous wood decks. They hope this one will be more durable to the storms that have destroyed the previous decks.

Lighthouse Ticket Booth

Owners of the Newport Belle Tour Boat that will appear on Vermont’s Lake Memphremagog for the first time this summer want to build a replica of a lighthouse to be used as a ticket booth. They intend to make the lighthouse a replica of the Whipple Point Lighthouse that stood on the lake until 1906 when it was destroyed. A number of lighthouses once stood guard on both the Canadian and United States sides of the lake and all have been lost over time.

Giant Building To Be Named Lighthouse Tower

A 1,312-foot tall building to be built by Dubai International in the United Arab Emirates, which will have 295.272 square feet of office space, will be named the "DIFC Lighthouse Tower." His Excellency. Dr. Omar Sulaiman, Governor of DIFC, said, "The unique design of this slender tower will make it stand out, especially at night, when the external lighting will serve, like a lighthouse, to attract the admiration of residents and visitors alike."

Plants Removed From Lighthouse

The non native ice plants that were brought to California’s Pigeon Point Lighthouse more than a century ago from Chile an South Africa to help battle scurvy and have been removed by volunteers under the guidance of volunteer Linda Hettel. Although the plants may have looked nice they were an invading menace that was suffocating the native flora. Volunteers replaced native vegetation in their place.

Hillsboro’s 100th

This year honors the 100th birthday of Florida’s Hillsboro Lighthouse in Pompano Beach. The lighthouse actually celebrated its birthday on March 7 with a gala ceremony at the lighthouse, but you can visit all year long and wish it a Happy Birthday.

Hog Island In The News

Judi and Jon Chytka, the Army couple who bought Rhode Island’s Hog Island Lighthouse, got a lot of publicity in area newspapers after the media learned where they were when they bought the lighthouse. Jon is a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army and is second in command of Army Corps of Engineers battalion stationed in Baghdad Iraq. His wife, Judi, was in Germany. While surfing the Internet looking for unusual investment property, they found out the lighthouse was for sale, and bid on it after having previously been out bid on two other lighthouses. The Hog Island Lighthouse is a spark plug lighthouse off Portsmouth, RI in Narragansett Bay. What they plan to do with it has yet to be determined.

Hamilton’s Birthday

This year is the 250th birthday of Alexander Hamilton, the father of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, which later became the United States Coast Guard. We would recommend that students research Hamilton’s role in the early development of the United States for a school paper. Perhaps one of the better ones could be printed up as a hand out at lighthouses around the nation.

Lighthouse Cannon To Be Restored

An old rusted out cannon that has been on display for years on the edge of Florida’s Lake Dora has been shipped off for restoration. Being cleaned up in a Tallahassee laboratory, it will be about a year before the cannon is restored and returned for display near the Mt. Dora Lighthouse. Very little is known about the history of the 300-year-old relic.

Great Lakes Lighthouse Encyclopedia

If you don’t yet have this beautiful hard cover book in your collection, I would highly recommend it. The authors spent about 15 years compiling this amazing book which has more information on all the Great Lakes Lighthouse, both Canadian and American than anything previously published. The book is divided into sections, one for each lake and its layout, design and text are easy to read and follow and the book is loaded with photos of just about every lighthouse, even some that are no longer standing. I’d rate this a five star book that is bound to create a new interest in awareness of lighthouses and their history. It is available from Lighthouse Depot by calling them at 1-800-758-1444. Once you receive the book, you’ll be delighted that I recommended it.

Thank You Card Suggested

Jim Walker, who recently turned 71, is one of those truly wonderful and dedicated lighthouse volunteers. Jim has been honored over the years for his dedication with various awards for his lighthouse restoration work and the money he has raised for numerous lighthouse restoration projects. However, I thought it would be a nice gesture if our readers would let him know that they appreciate what he has done by sending him a Thank You Card or a short note penning your appreciation to him. Cards and letters can be sent to Jim Walker, P.O. Box 570, North Truro, MA 02652.

Pier Destroyed at Little River

After five long years of hard work, Maine’s Little River Lighthouse station is now restored. But, just when it was thought that the island could be opened to the public, a Nor’easter came and heavily damaged the wooden dock landing at the lighthouse, again making landing and leaving the island very dangerous, if not impossible for most people. The Friends group is again appealing for money to help with a new landing facility in the form of $2 bills. Yes, two-dollar bills are still made by the government and still available at most banks. However, the group says that if you can’t find a two-dollar bill, you can always send two one-dollar bills or even a five or a ten-dollar bill; they need all the help they can get! Donations can be sent to: Friends of Little River Lighthouse, $2 Pier, P.O. Box 671, East Machias, ME 04630. It is estimated that a correctly built pier at the lighthouse will cost over $35,000. Hopefully our readers will step forward and give a helping hand.

OVERFALLS To Be Towed

The Overfalls Lightship, which has been on display along the banks of the

Lewes-Rehoboth Canal in Lewes, Delaware for the past 33 years, will be towed to a boatyard in New Jersey to have an overhaul. The lightship was built at Rice Brothers Boatyard in Boothbay Harbor, Maine in 1938. Before retiring at its current location as the Overfalls Lightship it saw service under the names Cornfield Lightship, Cross Rip Lightship and Boston Lightship. The Coast Guard decommissioned the vessel in 1972. The Overfalls is now open to the public in the summer months by the Overalls Maritime Museum Foundation.

Toledo Lighthouse Holds Photo Contest

The Toledo Lighthouse Preservation Society is holding a photo contest for their annual Lighthouse Festival. Photos can be digital, black and white or full color. Entries must be received by June 20th, so hurry and get your entry in. For more details visit the web site at www.flash-bang.net/lighthouse.htmil or call Carol Lake at (419) 797-2106 or Janet Gladieux at (419) 693-1877. There is a four-dollar entry fee.

Lighthouse Kids Keep Going

The Lighthouse Kids who recently raised money to save New Hampshire’s only ocean lighthouse are now working hard to restore the keeper’s house. This past May they held a Walk-a-thon to raise additional funds.

As well as doing the walk the Kids had a local rock band on hand and ice cream and hot dogs were available. Congratulations

to the Lighthouse Kids who are doing an outstanding job.

East End Offers NY Lighthouse Cruises

East End Lighthouses is offering ten lighthouse cruises this year that will visit a number of offshore New York Lighthouses. These cruises have been very popular in the past and usually sell out so be sure to order your tickets early. Upcoming dates are June 23, July 21, August 19, Aug. 25, Sept. 15, Sept 21 and 23 and Oct 13. FMI call East End Lighthouses at (631) 477-4121 or visit their web site at www.EastEndLighthouses.org.

North Point Now Open

Now that renovations are completed, Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s North Point Lighthouse is open for tours. For more information on days and hours you can call (414) 332-6754 or visit their web site www.NorthPointLighthouse.org.

Coast Guard Says No At Beavertail Light

Most lighthouse preservationists are pleased at the Coast Guard’s recent decision turning down the town’s request to use Rhode Island’s Beavertail Lighthouse keeper’s house for affordable housing for a caretaker. Preservationists would rather see the quarters used for museum and expanded lighthouse educational uses for the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association.

Ashtabula Beacon Gets New Owner

The Ashtabula Lighthouse Restoration and Preservation Society now owns Ohio’s 1905 Ashtabula Lighthouse. Ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the group under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. The beautiful lighthouse rests on a crib offshore. The 1896 keeper’s house, located on shore, is home to the Great Lakes Marine and U.S. Coast Guard Memorial Museum.

Museum For Ludington CG Station

Agreements have been reached to operate a maritime museum in Michigan’s old Ludington Coast Guard Station. The former station located along the Pere Marquette River channel in Ludington, Michigan’s Harbor will feature exhibits, a theatre, gift shop and snack food service. The official transfer of ownership of the property to the town is expected to take place in 2008 and the museum will be under the auspices of the Mason County Historical Society.

Maine Shipwreck Uncovered

The skeleton of an old shipwreck was uncovered at Short Sands Beach in York as a result of the Nor’easter hit Maine this past April. The shipwreck has been uncovered before in other storms over the years, but the ocean would reclaim it each time. Some have speculated that in may be the wreck of the Nottingham Galley that was made famous by the Kenneth Roberts book about Boon Island where the survivors resorted to cannibalism to survive. Boon Island is the site of the tallest lighthouse in Maine.

Shanklin’s Celebrate Twenty Years of Lighthouses

Sandra and Bob Shanklin, "The Lighthouse People," are celebrating an amazing twenty years of photographing lighthouses. One of their really neat claims to fame is that they were the first and maybe the only couple to photograph every United States lighthouse, including those in Puerto Rico, Alaska and Hawaii. They have written several good books, sell lighthouse photography, and other lighthouse items. To learn more about them visit their web site at www.TheLighthousePeople.com.

Remains of Round Island To Be Moved

A proposal to move the remains of the Mississippi’s Round Island Lighthouse to a more suitable location, where it can be rebuilt has met with lots of approval and support. The lighthouse was virtually destroyed by hurricanes leaving only the base of the tower remaining. The lighthouse would be rebuilt along the waterfront of Pascagoula.

This story appeared in the June 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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