photography

Southern New England Lighthouse Photo Workshop

Lerro Productions Presents:
Southern New England Lighthouse Photo Workshop
July 16-20, 2018

Connecticut and Rhode Island offer a variety of different lighthouses such as brick towers, spark plugs and intergraded houses. Join us as we photograph a number of these lighthouses by both land and sea. During our trip, we will charter two boats; one out of New London, CT and a second boat out of Point Judith, RI. Combined we will photograph over 20 lighthouses out at sea. We will also photograph lighthouses at night. We might even venture into Cape Cod.

There are only 2 spots left on the boat. If there is a high demand, we can get a 2nd boat. To sign up, please email. Do not mail a check until you confirm with me first.

Workshop Fee – $675.00

To see pictures and to order tickets, please visit:
http://www.lerrophotography.com/workshops-and-tours/

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Submitted by Pete Lerro, May 16, 2018

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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. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by 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 · Research · Research Catalog

Society Receives Maritime Heritage Education Grant

The Society is delighted to announce that the National Park Service (NPS) and the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has awarded a maritime heritage grant of $48,600 to support the Society’s Archives Catalog Project.

A large part of the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s mission is to support lighthouse preservation, history, education, and research. Toward this goal, the Society has created “The Tom and Phyllis Tag Lighthouse Historical Archives.” This grant will make this archival material publicly accessible, in a searchable online catalog, to all who study and preserve lighthouse heritage.

Screen Shot of front page of a work-in-progress. The Catalog is still under development.

For the past several years the Society has been digitizing photos, plans, publications, and other textual records relating to light stations, minor aids to navigation, lighthouse keepers and other personnel, lightships, lighthouse tenders, lighthouse depots, and lighthouse technology such as lens, lamps, and fog signals for inclusion in this online catalog. We began the design phase of the online catalog in the summer of 2017 and have since created the core records for the PLACES, OBJECTS, and VESSELS categories. We recently started the upload of documents related to these resources.

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One of the first collections uploaded to the Archives Catalog is the National Archives Clipping Files. Over 900 documents have been uploaded so far.

Lighthouse experts Kraig Anderson and Thomas Tag have generously donated their time and talents toward the compilation of the initial databases. We cannot thank them enough!

The Society is also grateful for recent donations of research material that will ultimately become part of the Catalog. The Society is pleased to provide a means for making these collections all available in one place.

If you wish to support the required match for this grant, please visit our web’s donate page and specify that the donation is in support of the “Archives Catalog.” Questions can be directed to Candace Clifford.

Swans Island, ME 1907-1914 HEC (01)
Postcard of Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse courtesy of the Herb Entwistle Collection in the Society Archives. These postcards will be available in the Archives Catalog

Other lighthouse projects supported in this year’s maritime heritage funding include Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse, Maine; Baker Island, Massachusetts; and New York’s Seaway Lighthouses (Saint Lawrence Valley Educational Television Council). Goto the NPS website for a full list of funded projects.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, May 11, 2018

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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. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by 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 · News

KATE’S CORNER #21

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef.

Let me dispel a bit of misinformation that is circulating, prompted by self-appointed experts who never check the accuracy of their assumptions. ​As far as I’ve been able to research, women who kept the lights were paid the same salary as male keepers. My husband John was paid $600 a year; ​and when I finally received his appointment, ​I was paid $600 a year. With their housing provided, in the 1890s a family could live, frugally, on less than $2 a day.

Kate first served as a laborer when her husband John died.  When no one else permanently accepted the position, they offered it to her.​ National Archives microfilm publication M1373
Salaries have changed over the years. The first woman who received an official  keeper’​s appointment on the Chesapeake Bay was Ann Davis, appointed in 1830 at Point Lookout Light Station at the Potomac River entrance. She received a salary of $350 per year.
Ann​ requested a salary increase in 1842 through the local customs collector who supported her request. Apparently her request was denied, she was reportedly earning $350 in 1847.
Although Alcatraz keeper Michael Kassin’s salary was increased from $700 to $1,100 in 1854, he soon resigned.  The salary reduced from $1,100 to $800 in 1859 and continued to fluctuate. National Archives photo.

The Gold Rush in 1849 in California led to a steep increase in everyone’s salary on the West Coast because skilled labor became very hard to find. After several vessels experienced difficulty in the waters along the West Coast, Congress passed acts in 1850 and 1851 that provided funds for eight lighthouses to be built along the Pacific Coast. Light from a fixed, third-order Fresnel lens was first shown from Alcatraz Lighthouse on June 1, 1854, with Michael Kassin ​eventually ​receiving an annual salary of $1,100 as head keeper and John Sloan being paid $700 to serve as his assistant.

During the Civil War average principal keeper salaries elsewhere had increased to $500-$600 a year. But in remote stations like Cape Flattery in Washington State and Minots Ledge in Maine or dangerous locations like Frying Pan Shoals Light Vessel in North Carolina and Martin’s Industry Light Vessel in South Carolina principal keepers received $1,000 a year. Betsy ​Humphrey who assumed her husband’s position on Monhegan Island in Maine in 1862, was paid the same salary as her husband—$820. In 1876 she was reappointed at a reduced salary of $700. All salaries fell back closer to the average after the war. In 1896 Margaret Norvell at Port Pontchartain Light Station in Louisiana received the same salary I did.
The reduction of Betsy’s salary at Monhegan Island could also have been triggered by reduction in her duties. In 1870, her fog bell was replaced by a steam fog signal on nearby Manana Island which had its own keeper. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office

As I’ve already told you, I earned $600 a year in 1894. Emma Taberrah, who in 1904 was appointed keeper of the Cumberland Head Light Station, earned only $480, but she was keeping a minor station on Lake Champlain in Upstate New York and did not tend a fog signal.

Cumberland Head ca. 1910 courtesy of the Herb Entwistle Collection.

In 1918 Congress decreed that the average salary for light keepers should be $840. These salaries were supplemented by food supplies brought by tender to locations where there was no suitable land for gardening or keeping livestock.

Information is from F. Ross Holland, Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay (Maryland Historical Trust Press and The Friends of St. Clements Island Museum, 1997); <Lighthousefriends.com>; Clifford, Women Who Kept the Lights​ (available from the Keeper’s Locker); and Lighthouse Service Bulletin, Vol. II, No. 7, July 1918.

Submitted May 10, 2018

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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. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by 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 · photography

Lighthouse Sunrise / Sunset Finalists

Congratulations to the finalists in the Sunrise / Sunset category for the ongoing U.S. Lighthouse Society Calendar Photo Contest!

Eastern_Point_MA_2016_by_Christine_Pabst lores
Eastern Point, MA, 2016, by Christine Pabst
BarnegatLH_NJ_2015_Ed_Hewitt
Barnegat, NJ, 2015, by Ed Hewitt
Rose Island RI by Debra Baldwin lores
Rose Island, RI, by Debra Baldwin
Cape_Mendocino_CA_2011_Jeannette_ONeal lores
Cape Mendocino, CA, 2011, by Jeanette O’Neal
Hillsboro_Inlet_FL 2013 by Ralph_Krugler (R) lores
Hillsboro Inlet, FL, 2013, (R) by Ralph Krugler

Thanks to all the photographers who submitted images!

U.S. Lighthouse Society photographers have until May 30th to submit images for the Technology category. Submission for the Detail or Abstract category starts May 15th. Goto https://uslhs.submittable.com/submit for more information.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, May 8, 2018

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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. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by 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

Promoting National Lighthouse Day

tim-with-senate-resolution-close-up
Tim Harrison, editor of Lighthouse Digest, holds a framed copy of Senate Resolution 507 declaring August 7, 2013, “National Lighthouse and Lighthouse Preservation Day”

The United States Lighthouse Society is a strong supporter of National Lighthouse Day (August 7), an annual commemoration of the anniversary of the federal lighthouse establishment. It is an opportunity to celebrate lighthouses and efforts to preserve both the structures and their history.

To this end, we would like to update our Events page to reflect any National Lighthouse Day celebrations around the country. Please send details of such events to candace@uslhs.org. Include a short description of the event and a link for more information.

Thanks for all you do to support and preserve lighthouses!

Submitted by Candace Clifford, May 6, 2018

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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. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by 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.

Kaptain's Kolumn · Keepers · News

The Kaptain’s Kolumn #6

Captain Joshua K. Card here. Like many of my contemporary lighthouse keepers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, I was sometimes accused of being a pirate. I can assure you I was nothing of the sort, in spite of my salty appearance. But there was a keeper before me down in Massachusetts who couldn’t shake the reputation of being a pirate.

William S. Moore, a veteran of the War of 1812, was appointed as the first keeper of Bird Island Lighthouse down in Marion, a town in southeastern Massachusetts, when the light went into operation in 1819. The stark little island is less than two acres in size, and it was an ideal place for a lighthouse that would serve to guide mariners into Sippican Harbor and points north.

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Bird Island Lighthouse in 2011; photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

Persistent local legend claims that Moore was a pirate who was banished to Bird Island as punishment. Some versions of the story claim that he was left without a boat, with supplies delivered periodically. Since his boat is mentioned frequently in correspondence, this is clearly untrue. In any case, properly functioning lighthouses were vital to safe navigation, and the authorities strove to hire responsible and reliable men. They did not hire accused pirates.

Some accounts claim that Moore murdered his wife—described as a “Boston society girl”—at the lighthouse and disappeared soon after. A rifle was found, supposedly in a secret hiding place along with a bag of tobacco, when the original keeper’s house on Bird Island was torn down in 1889. The gun was believed by some to be the murder weapon. Others have claimed that Moore prevented his ailing wife from seeking medical attention on the mainland, and that she died as a result.

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The plans for Bird Island Lighthouse (National Archives)

Although she is supposedly buried on the island, there is no sign of the grave of Moore’s wife today. With the gun, a note was found, signed by Moore. The note eventually came into the possession of Marion’s longtime town historian H. Edmund Tripp.  It read:

This bag contains tobacco, found among the clothes of my wife after her decease.  It [the tobacco] was furnished by certain individuals in and about Sippican. May the curses of the High Heaven rest upon the heads of those who destroyed the peace of my family and the health and happiness of a wife whom I Dearly Loved.

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Bird Island Lighthouse with its original “birdcage-style” lantern. (National Archives)

Letters from Moore to the local customs collector indicate that the keeper conducted experiments with the heating of whale oil to keep it from freezing in the winter months. He also worked on the development of “air boxes” to be stored on boats to help prevent sinking. Moore wrote that he wanted to remain at Bird Island so he could pursue his various experiments. He explained, “. . . as the keeping of a lighthouse is calculated to afford me more leisure than almost any other employment, I shall give it up with great regret.”

Another far-fetched part of the lore surrounding William Moore is that he disappeared, never to be seen again, shortly after his wife’s death was discovered.  In reality, records clearly show that Moore was assigned to the new Billingsgate Lighthouse near Wellfleet in 1822.  It isn’t clear if he was able to continue his experiments there.

bird02 copy
Bird Island Lighthouse was discontinued in 1933. It was a lucky thing that Keeper George Gustavus and his family left at that time, because the hurricane of September 21, 1938, swept away every building on Bird Island except the lighthouse tower. Sadly for the Gustavus family, they moved to Prudence Island Light Station in Rhode Island, and the keeper’s wife and son died in the hurricane. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The truth about Moore will probably never be completely separated from the fantastic legends concerning his life. But his wife really did die on the island, and there are those who say it has been haunted or cursed ever since. Legend has it that some later keepers were frightened by the ghost of a hunched-over old woman, rapping at the door during the night.

Submitted by Jeremy D’Entremont, May 4, 2018.

News · Passport Program

Have Passport, Will Travel

Florida Lighthouse Association member receives passport stamp at Egmont Key Lighthouse, Florida. 2017 photo by Candace Clifford

Are you a member of the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s Passport Club? If so, you recently received its most recent newsletter which includes updates on where new stamps are available and other useful information. There are now over 550 locations where you may get your passport stamped. These include not only lighthouses, but maritime museums, lighthouse vessels, and life-saving stations. (A full list of locations by state can be found online.)

If you already have a passport, consider getting one for a younger relative or friend. We need to encourage the younger generation’s appreciation of lighthouses! You can purchase a passport online or at the gift shop of any participating lighthouse.

Skip and Mary Lee Sherwood are also Society tour leaders.

When you have your passport stamped, don’t forget to leave a donation to support the site.

The Society is very fortunate to have super-charged volunteers Skip and Mary Lee Sherwood run this vibrant program. With their dedication and the help of volunteers around the country, this program has thrived and continues to grow.

Skip relies on the 16 volunteers listed below to maintain contact with over 500 locations and make sure the information about stamp availability is current. Skip cannot say enough good things about their dedication and service to the program. Several of them have taken on extra duties when volunteers had to bow out for health reasons. He’s pretty sure that the program would fall apart without the work of the volunteers.

Mid-Atlantic Region
Tedd Van Buskirk
Chris Laubach

New England Region
Wayne Cotterly
Scott Walbert
Bob Zimman
Anne Salatiello
Rick McDermott

Midwest Region
LaVon Marshall
Judy Grigg (Plus Oregon)
Sue Moffit  (Plus Louisiana & Texas)
Marge Czop
Dave Lindamood

South Region
Yvette Dills
April Lowe (Plus Washington)
Toni Collins

West Region
Marie Holley

Submitted by Candace Clifford, May 4, 2018

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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. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by 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.