Kate's Corner · Lighthouse Construction · News

KATE’S CORNER #17

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef.

Robbins Reef marks a hazardous reef in New York Bay so does not need to be seen at a great distance. According to the 1892 Light List, my light is 58 feet above sea level. Coastal lights need to be seen from great distances so the light’s focal plane must be at a higher elevation.

Several light stations on the northeastern coast were located to take advantage of naturally high elevations, such as Block Island Southeast Lighthouse, Rhode Island, and Monhegan Island Lighthouse, Maine. On the west coast some lighthouses tended to be short towers built on sea cliffs high enough to project the light many miles at sea.

Block Island SE 2011 by JCC (14) copy
Block Island Southeast, Rhode Island. Its light is 2014 feet above sea level. Image by Candace Clifford, 2011

Ironically, the low clouds so characteristic of the west coast caused some station sites at high elevations to be moved to lower altitudes with taller towers in order to get the light below the low cloud levels, but high enough to be visible to ships at sea. The first Point Loma Lighthouse (1855), California, tower was only 40 feet tall but was located on a bluff providing a focal plane of 462 feet above the water. It was replaced in 1891 by a 70-foot-high tower built at the base of the bluff with a focal plane of 88 feet above the water.

Point Loma CA 1859 print NA 26-LG-65-3-ac copy
Old Point Loma lighthouse, California. Detail from a 1859 print from the National Archives.

Lighthouses were built on land, in the water, on islands, on top of ledges and cliffs, on breakwaters and piers, on caissons, and at least five are on fort walls. Some light towers are standalone structures, while others are attached or integral to the keeper’s quarters or fog signal building. Lighthouses were built from a variety of materials including wood, stone, brick, reinforced concrete, iron, steel, and even aluminum and fiberglass.

In addition to a light tower, a completely equipped light station on the mainland might consist of a keepers’ quarters, oil house, fog-signal building, workshop, water supply (generally a cistern), privy, landing wharf, boathouse and ways, barn, roads, walks, and fences. Some regions required special structures to provide access to the light tower. The elevated walkway or catwalk found on some of the piers of the Great Lakes was necessary for the keeper to get to the pierhead light during severe storms when waves washed over the pier or ice made it too dangerous to walk on the pier. Stations that retain most of their supporting structures exhibit a high level of historic integrity.

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker copyI’m gleaning all these wonderful descriptions of lighthouse architecture from The Historic Lighthouse Preservation Handbook.

Submitted January 21, 2018

*  *  *  *  *

U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please join 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 · Society Members

Send Us Your Best “Lighthouse in Weather” Image

Thanks to all the Society photographers who submitted images for the 2018 Lighthouse Society Calendar contest! Given the response to and enthusiasm for the 2017 contest and 2018 calendar, the Society is pleased to announce that we are repeating the contest (with a few adjustments) in 2018 to make a 2019 calendar. This year we are offering seven categories for submissions, spread out over the next six months, using an online submissions system.

Baileys Harbor Upper Range, Wisconsin, by Sue Steckart Jarosh

The first submission category is WEATHER. So get out those cameras and venture outside to capture your favorite lighthouse in its winter landscape or dig out your favorite fog or storm photo from years past. The deadline for submitting your WEATHER image is February 28, 2018.

Each member can submit one image per category. Each category will have a separate submissions form.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Participating photographers must be active members of the U.S. Lighthouse Society. (Renew or join at uslhs.org/membership.)
  • Digital submissions only.
  • Submission Format: Please submit your image as a JPG or TIF, that is at least 8 1/2 by 11-inches, and at a minimum of 300 dpi. Smaller images are not suitable for the final printed product.
  • File Name: Include “lighthouse name,” “state,” “year taken,” and “photographer name” in the file name of your photo.  For example: “Jones Point VA 2017 by Candace Clifford”
  • Submit only photos that you have taken.
  • Photos must be unrestricted. Unless you instruct the Society otherwise, by submitting images to this project, you are giving your permission for the Society to use your image in social media and printed publications. You may specify on the submission form whether or not it can be included in the Society’s digital archive.
  • Some preference will be given to images with a landscape orientation. It is permissible to create a file in a landscape orientation using two portrait images. (Do not send two images; combine the images into one before submitting.)
  • Photographers 17 years old or younger should provide the name of a parent or guardian on the submission form.

Submission Categories (all photos should relate to light stations, aids to navigation, lightships, or USCG facilities)

  1. Weather (submission starts January 20, ends February 28)
  2. Reflection or Unusual Perspective (submission starts February 15, ends March 30)
  3. Sunrise / Sunset (submission starts March 15, ends April 30)
  4. Technology (submission starts April 15, ends May 30)
  5. Detail or Abstract (submission starts May 15, ends June 30)
  6. Landscape (submission starts June 15, ends July 31)
  7. Preservation Project or Special Event (submission starts July 15, ends August 30)

Finalists will be chosen by a review panel for each category. Images for the printed calendar will be selected from the finalists. Each finalist will receive a free calendar. Calendars will be available for purchase in the Keeper’s Locker and should be distributed in late October 2018.

submit

Submitted by Candace Clifford, 01/20/2018

*  *  *  *  *

U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please join 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.

Lighthouse Construction · News · Research · Society Members

Lynn and Dave Waller Research Collection for The Graves Lighthouse

Society members Lynn and Dave Waller recently donated their National Archives research findings for the Graves Light Station, Massachusetts, to the Society Archives. Society Director Jeff Gales is delighted with the gift. “Making lighthouse research widely available is the intent of the new Catalog and such an endeavor would not be possible without generous donations such as this.”

This collection consists primarily of U.S. Light-House Board and U.S. Bureau of Lighthouse correspondence and photos available in the National Archives, Washington, D.C. After acquiring the light station in 2013, Dave Waller hired Candace Clifford (now the Society’s historian) to find and copy any National Archives documents relating to the station as part of their overall restoration effort.

One item in the collection is an album of photos pertaining to the station’s 1903-1904 construction. Since the Catalog is not yet available online, you can access the album at The Graves MA 1903-1905 Construction Album NA RG 26 LG 7-49 LDW (lores).)

Graves MA 40th course NA RG 26 LG 7-49
The 40th course of the Graves Lighthouse was laid in 1904. (Note the numbers marked on each stone.) Image part of National Archives photo album 26-LG-7-49 from the Lynn and Dave Waller collection
Stonework completed to 40th course. National Archives image courtesy Lynn and Dave Waller collection

On January 10, Dave reported that he “just got back from the light after dropping off the first work crew of 2018. [The tower is] spectacular looking in the winter light. Today we are finishing up the central heating system and varnishing the gorgeous quarter swan oak wainscoting in the watch room. We started the oil house refurb[ishment] in the fall, but switched to interior work as winter set in.”

Graves MA 2018 oil house LDW lores
Oil house under restoration.  2018 photo courtesy Dave Waller

For more information on the restoration visit The Graves Light Station website.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, January 12, 2018

*  *  *  *  *

U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please join 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.