Affiliates · News

GLLKA Welcomes New Operations Manager Jim Tamlyn

tamlyn_shepler lores
Jim Tamlyn. GLLKA photo

Mackinaw City – The Board of Directors unanimously approved new leadership for the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA), a local non-profit with over 1100 members, dedicated to preserving lighthouses and telling the story of the amazing personnel who have lived in them.

Jim Tamlyn personifies leadership, not only creating the first northern Michigan tri-county 911 system, but also guiding the Emmet County board of commissioners for over two decades. Tamlyn is also known to countless visitors at the McGulpin Lighthouse as the driving force behind the county’s purchase of the beacon in 2009. Tamlyn was instrumental in creating a successful giftshop at McGulpin, and many of the improvements that are enjoyed by visitors during the tourist season. Noting the importance of local history, he helped create the Emmet County Historical Commission, which featured leadership from GLLKA visionaries Dr. Sandy Planisek and Dick Moehl.

“We are thrilled Jim has agreed to helm our organization” GLLKA President Ric Mixter says, “He has sailed the waters as a young able-bodied seaman aboard the historic Chief Wawatam and was crucial in the development of the light at McGulpin. He inspires volunteerism and has many connections that will help us fund our own lighthouses at St Helena and Cheboygan. He’s known many of our founding members and has a clear understanding of how GLLKA can continue to promote our maritime resources.”

Tamlyn will oversee day to day operations of the group, leaving former Executive Director Terry Pepper open to continue with cruises, tours and historical writings.  Pepper took a leave of absence for health reasons earlier this month, but continues to consult for the group, editing their Facebook postings and the quarterly magazine “The Beacon”.

GLLKA membership is open to the public starting at $40 per year. Dues fund our ongoing lighthouse preservation and education initiatives, ensuring that our lighthouse heritage will survive for future generations.

Submitted by Ric Mixter, President, GLLKA, June 26, 2017

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

News · Volunteer Opportunities

Point Bonita Lighthouse – Call for Volunteers

Volunteers are needed to help welcome visitors to the lighthouse.

Point Bonita
Photo courtesy of National Park Service

Relocated to its present location in 1877, the first Point Bonita Lighthouse was built in 1855 and was the third lighthouse established on the West Coast. Located at the northwest tip of the Golden Gate Strait at the entrance to San Francisco Bay, the station is located on the Marin Headlands within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Point Bonita Lighthouse is reached by a half mile trail that is steep at the beginning, then halfway to the lighthouse, the trail continues through a tunnel carved out in 1877. Finally you cross a suspension bridge to get out to the lighthouse.

Volunteers are needed to provide an essential customer service–helping visitors understand the history of the lighthouse. Talking to the visitors requires considerable knowledge, forethought, and preparation in order to meet visitors needs and questions.

The lighthouse hours are: Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

If you are interested please contact Park Ranger Marcus Combs at 415-289-1804 or <marcus_combs@nps.gov>.

Submitted by Marcus Combs, Volunteer Coordinator, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, June 22, 2017

Approach to Point Bonita Lighthouse. 2017 photo by Candace Clifford

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

Education · Kate's Corner

Welcome to KATE’S CORNER

Hi. I’m Kate Walker. My husband John Walker was appointed keeper of the light on Robbins Reef in New York Harbor in 1885.

This drawing of me and my favorite granddaughter on the lighthouse balcony was published in the New Orleans Times Picayune on December 21, 1902.

If you wonder what all that lumber behind us is, my son Jacob and I land lumber that is washed away from railroad yards and shipyards along the shore—harpooning the logs with a rope and tying them to the railing until low tide, when they could be set up to dry. A floating or submerged log can wreck a sailing schooner.

When I first came to Robbins Reef, the sight of water whichever way I looked, made me lonesome. I refused to unpack my trunks at first, but gradually, a little at a time, I unpacked. After a while they were all unpacked and I stayed on.

In 1890 John developed pneumonia. My son Jacob rowed him to Staten Island to see a doctor. John’s last words to me as they launched the dingy were, “Mind the light, Katie.”

Ten days later John died. A substitute keeper was sent so I could arrange for his burial and attend his funeral, but I was back at the light before that day ended.

I was 44 years old with two children to care for and no income. I asked for John’s job, but there were objections because I’m only four feet ten inches tall and weigh barely 100 pounds. The Light-House Board offered the post to several men, who turned it down because Robbins Reef is so lonely. They paid me a laborer’s wage to look after the light until finally in 1894, with no one else wanting the post, they did appoint me. I got the same wage as John—$600 a year. I kept that light, with only Jacob to help me, from 1890 until 1919.

I’ve joined the U.S. Lighthouse Society and want to share what I know about keeping a lighthouse. Look for the first installment in a week or so.

Based on an article by Carol Bird, “The Loneliest Woman in the World,” Philadelphia Ledger, Sunday, August 23, 1925, found in Women Who Kept the Lights.

Submitted June 23, 2017.

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

Event · News

Sanibel’s Lighthouse and Cottages Dressed for Independence Day

As a symbol of our community’s patriotism, the City of Sanibel Public Works staff placed red, white and blue bunting upon the Lighthouse and both Caretaker’s Cottages.

Courtesy City of Sanibel

For the first time in 132 years, the Sanibel Lighthouse has been decorated with Independence Day patriotic bunting. The Sanibel Island Lighthouse was built in 1884 and was one of the first lighthouses on Florida’s Gulf coast north of Key West and the Dry Tortugas. After having been under ownership of the Coast Guard, in 2004, the Sanibel Lighthouse was given to the City of Sanibel. The Lighthouse was last restored in 2013 and has been a recognized icon of Sanibel for many years.

The holiday decorations will remain on the Lighthouse and Cottages until July 7, 2017.

Submitted by City of Sanibel Manager’s Office, June 20, 2017

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

News · Queries

Query on Oldest Keeper’s Dwelling

U.S. Lighthouse Society member Ted Panayotoff has been researching the lighthouses that have served the Oswego River where it enters Lake Ontario, in Oswego, New York. The current tower on Oswego West Pierhead was built in 1934. The first tower was built at Fort Ontario in 1822. The 1822 tower is long gone but its rubblestone keeper’s dwelling remains. Ted wonders whether this could be the oldest surviving keeper’s dwelling in the Great Lakes?

Old ext photo
According to Panayotoff, the old Oswego light keeper’s house has an interesting history as it reverted to the Army at Fort Ontario after the new lighthouse went into operation on the west side of the Oswego River in 1837. The original 1822 tower was torn down but the Army used the house for various things including the post hospital up through WW II. Photo courtesy of Ted Panayotoff
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For many years the old keeper’s dwelling served as the residence for the Fort’s Director until the present director’s family outgrew it (it only has 4 rooms and a kitchen). It is now occupied by a member of his staff. Photo courtesy of Ted Panayotoff

What is the oldest surviving keeper’s dwelling in the U.S.? Please reply to, or comment on, this post if you have a suggestion, or email Ted directly at <keepertedp@gmail.com>. We will post a summary of our findings at a later date.

Query from Ted Panayotoff, June 14, 2017

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

Affiliates · Conferences · Lifesaving Service · News

USLSSHA to Meet in San Francsico

Point Reyes LSS
Point Reyes Lifeboat Station, one of many stations to be visited during the upcoming meeting. 2017 photo by Candace Clifford

The U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association (USLSSHA) just issued a release about their 2017 annual meeting. It will take place in and around San Francisco, September 14 – 16. More information can be found in the link to the release and on their website at http://uslife-savingservice.org/annual-conference/2017-annual-meeting/

Release submitted by the USLSSHA, June 16, 2017

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to candace@uslhs.org.

Affiliates · Job Announcements · News

GLLKA Seeks Operations Manager

GLLKA LogoNon profit in Mackinaw City, Michigan, seeks operations manager. The Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA) is dedicated to the preservation of Great Lakes lighthouses. Responsibilities include coordination of office staff, inspire volunteers, and fundraise. Retail and publishing experience a plus. Mid-40s salary. Resume to ric.mixter@gllka.com.

Submitted by Dianne Taeckens, June 8, 2017.