News · photography · Society Members

2018 Calendar Submission Mosaic

The U.S. Lighthouse Society asked its members to help them put together a 2018 calendar. Seventy-seven responded with an impressive array of images. See <> for  all the submissions organized by their submission category or theme. If you want to submit feedback on some of the finalists, you can “Like” your favorites on the Society’s Facebook page. We plan to have the calendar available for purchase in the Keeper’s Locker in time for holiday shopping.



The Digitization of 26-LG

We posted about this fabulous resource earlier but here is the National Archives’ description of their primary collection of lighthouse photography now available online.

The Unwritten Record

Many different factors are considered when selecting a series for digitization. Records that are particularly fragile or have high intrinsic value might be digitized to help preserve the originals by reducing the amount of physical handling each item receives. Records that are of high historical value might be digitized for posterity in order to ensure that the images are easily and perpetually available for generations to come. Records that have exceptionally high research value might be digitized to increase access, ensuring that any and all who wish to interact with our nation’s history are able to do so regardless of their ability to visit us in person here in College Park, MD.

Digitizing for public access is absolutely a priority at NARA. More than anything else, we want the public to have access to the records we work so hard to protect and preserve. These images represent who we are…

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Education · Kate's Corner · News · U.S. Coast Guard


Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef. Last week I showed you a photo of USCGC Margaret Norvell. She wasn’t the only female keeper who has a ship bearing her name. I have one too. It warmed my spirit to be remembered almost 80 years after I retired.

The Coast Guard elected to name their new 175-foot coastal buoy tenders after famous personages of the Lighthouse Service, breaking a tradition that spanned more than one hundred years of naming tenders after flora.

The CGC Katherine Walker (WLM 552) breaks ice on the Hudson River.”; Photo No. 000222-N-8023L-003; 22 February 2000; photo by PA3 Robert Lanier.

USCGC Katherine Walker is homeported in Bayonne, New Jersey. Her area of responsibility spans from New Haven, Connecticut, and the north and south shores of Long Island to New York and New Jersey. USCGC Katherine Walker is responsible for a total of 335 aids to navigation. In addition to her primary mission of tending aids to navigation, USCGC Katherine Walker also conducts search and rescue; icebreaking; and ports, waterways, and coastal security.

My spirit was there when they launched her in 1997, overcome with gratitude that the Coast Guard has chosen to honor a small immigrant keeper who had loved her lighthouse and tended it faithfully for 29 years. And since the cutter was launched, when my spirit needs a little refreshment, I slip onto the forward deck and hang on to the rail while the wind blows my hair and puffs up my skirt. The crew is always startled when they bump into me because I make them shiver.

Nor are Maggie and I the only female keepers so honored. Homeported in Newport, Rhode Island, USCGC Ida Lewis’s area of responsibility spans from Long Island Sound, New York to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. USCGC Abbie Burgess is homeported in Rockland, Maine. Her area of responsibility spans the coast of Maine from Boothbay Harbor all the way to the Canadian Border and the St. Croix River, as well as the Penobscot and St. George Rivers. USCGC Kathleen Moore is a Sentinel-class first response cutter homeported in Key West, Florida. USCGC Barbara Mabrity is a buoy tender homeported in Mobile, Alabama.

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker loresInformation is from;; and

Submitted September 15, 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 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

International Lighthouses · News · photography

Calendar Submissions

Great Orme Llandudno Wales telegraph room by Henry Harding copy
The Great Orme Lighthouse, Llandudno, Wales, former telegraph room by Henry Harding

Society members have been sharing their favorite images for the Society’s 2018 Calendar contest.  One of the more unusual interior images was submitted by Henry Harding who wrote,

This is a unique feature to be found in a lighthouse. It is a Telegraph Room and is in the Great Orme Lighthouse near Llandudno Wales. It is not an electrical telegraph, but a Semaphore Telegraph. In the windows you can see green plugs in spherical gimbals. The gimbals are for the telescopes so the operator could see the next telegraph station and interpret what the semaphore message was saying. They then would copy what they saw to confirm what was being transmitted to the previous station. Of course when they put that up, the next station would see the new message and copy back to this station. This particular system passed messages from Liverpool to Holyhead (pronounced Hollyhead). They could send messages in a matter of minutes even though there were ten stations to this system. The first Semaphore Telegraph System was developed in France in 1790. This one was developed around 1840.

The lantern room in the Great Orme Lighthouse is on the first floor below the windows of this room. It contained a 1st Order Fresnel. The lens is currently in a small museum on top of the Great Orme. There is a Cable Car which runs out of Llandudno directly to that small museum. There also is shopping at another building there as well. It is a fun trip.

For more on the Great Orme Lighthouse see The deadline for submission in this Friday, September 15. For more information on submitting, see

Submitted by Candace Clifford, September 12, 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 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

Event · News · Tours

Fall Lighthouse Festival

Due to the popularity of the Lighthouse Festival each June and the positive response to the two previous Fall Lighthouse Festivals, the Door County Maritime Museum, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, is again offering some of its most popular tours Columbus Day weekend. Reservations are now being taken for these fantastic lighthouse adventures that will take place October 7-8. To order tickets please call (920)743-5958.





Departs Baileys Harbor Municipal Dock at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 7.

Cost: $49.50 per person. Capacity: 22 per tour.

Only on the tours from Baileys Harbor will visitors have a waterside look at the Baileys Harbor Range Lights, the Old “Bird Cage” Lighthouse in Baileys Harbor and the majestic Cana Island Lighthouse. Additionally, many shipwrecks lie underneath the waters of this cruise; visitors may even see one from the boat.


Departs Gills Rock Dock at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 7.

Cost: $79 per person. Capacity: 14 per tour.

This 5-hour tour is a very rare offering as the US Fish and Wildlife Service must grant permission for the tour. The Friends of Plum and Pilot Island accompany visitors on the walking tours over the island landscape and up the stairs of the lights. The walking tour covers more than 2 miles round-trip and requires good footwear. Shorts are not recommended and there is no vending available on the island, but for the adventurer this rugged excursion is one to write home about. (FOPPI requires a signed waiver that will be sent to visitors at the time reservations are made and must be brought completely filled out to the dock.)


Departs from Sister Bay Marina at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 7.

Cost: $65 per person. Capacity: 23 per tour.

Set sail into yesteryear on a 19th century tall ship to Peninsula State Park’s Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. Join the crew in hoisting the halyard or sit back and enjoy the trip on a 65-foot schooner, the Edith M. Becker, on a 2½-hour sailing adventure with views of the rocky shore, islands, caves and majestic bluffs. Hear the cannon sound as they strike sail at the end of the cruise. This trip is a bit longer and more focused on local lore than the typical schooner cruise.




Departs Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay at 9 a.m. on Sunday, October 8.

Cost: $77.50 per person. Capacity: 22 per tour.

Narration about the local history and natural environment of Door County and its lighthouses makes the time fly on this amazing five-hour tour which includes stops at the Sturgeon Bay Canal Station and North Pierhead, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, the Ridges Range Lights and Cana Island Lighthouse. A freshly made box lunch will be enjoyed at picturesque Cana Island.



Departs the Fish Creek dock aboard the Quo Vadis at 9 am and 11:30 am on Sunday, October 8.

Cost: $68 per person. Capacity: 50 per tour.

Lighthouse enthusiasts should take advantage of this rare opportunity to traverse the private lands of Chambers Island. Access to the lighthouse will require a 3-mile, round-trip, docent-led hike across the island from the marina featuring some interesting stops along the way. A lighthouse caretaker will meet the tours at the lighthouse where you will be able to soak up the amazing view and climb to the top of the lantern room platform. Good hiking shoes are recommended and participants should be in good enough shape to handle the hike.

Submitted by Mary E. Stephenson, Special Events Coordinator/Educational Specialist, Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society, August 30, 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 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


Education · Kate's Corner · Keepers · News


Kate Walker here. While I was tending the light on Robbins Reef, Margaret Norvell was tending the light at Port Pontchartain on Lake Pontchartain north of New Orleans in Louisiana. She was there from 1896 until 1924, living in a  square, two-story white frame dwelling built on an iron pile foundation, with a slate roof surmounted by a fifth-order black lantern.

Before that assignment she had been at Head of Passes Light Station in the Mississippi Delta, where her keeper husband drowned, leaving her with two small children. Tending the beacon lights at Head of Passes was considered too strenuous for a woman, so Maggie was transferred to Port Pontchartrain.

LA New Canal (5) copy
New Canal (West End) Lighthouse, Louisiana. Postcard courtesy U.S. Lighthouse Society

In 1924 she moved to New Canal Light Station, also on Lake Pontchartain, and stayed until 1932. The New Canal Lighthouse originally stood in the water, but was later surrounded by dry land in Lakefront Park. The water surge off Lake Pontchartrain during Hurricane Katrina destroyed the base of the lighthouse in 2005. Funds were raised to rebuild, and the new lighthouse reopened on April 13, 2013. I wonder if Hurricane Harvey has done any recent damage?

Margaret Norvell was recognized numerous times for assisting other in distress: “In every big hurricane or storm here since 1891, her lighthouse has been a refuge for fishermen and others whose homes have been swept away. In the . . . storm of 1903 Mrs. Norvell’s lighthouse was the only building left standing on the lower coast, and over 200 survivors found a welcome and shelter in her home. After each storm she started the relief funds and helped the poor folk get back to normal.”

Maggie Norvell said, “there isn’t anything unusual in a woman keeping a light in her window to guide men home. I just happen to keep a bigger light than most women because I have got to see that so many men get safely home.”

USCGC Margaret Norvell
A Coast Guard fast response cutter named after Margaret Norvell was launched in June 2013. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.

You can read Keeper Sidney Z. Gross’s vivid account of the 1938 hurricane at Saybrook Breakwater Light in Connecticut courtesy <>.

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker loresQuotes are from the Morning Tribune, June 26, 1932, and The Times Piscayne, September 27, 1931.

Submitted September 5, 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 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

Event · News · U.S. Coast Guard

Ponce Inlet Celebrates Partnership with Coast Guard

Jessica Guidroz Swearing In
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Ponce Inlet Station’s Aids to Navigation (ATN) Officer in Charge Jessica Guidroz’s re-enlistment ceremony was recently held at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

Continuing a long tradition of partnership between the USCG Ponce Inlet Station and the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, Boatswains Mate Petty Officer First Class Jessica Guidroz reenlisted near the front steps of the Ponce DeLeon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, Ponce Inlet, Florida, at a 10:30 a.m. ceremony on August 24, 2017. The five-year re-enlistment and swearing-in event was conducted by CWO4/BOSN Mike Lemay of Jacksonville Station, and attended by members of Guidroz’s family, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Museum officials, and visitors to the museum that day. Guidroz was first named the station’s officer-in-charge in July 2016. Previous service saw her onboard the USCG Cutter Eagle which conducts summer-long Coast Guard Academy cadet-at-sea training.

The Ponce Inlet Coast Guard Station provides search and rescue, law enforcement, pollution control and maintenance of aids to navigation for an area which encompasses the Matanzas Inlet south to Haulover Canal. The Ponce Inlet Coast Guard Station was established in 1938 on the south side of the Ponce DeLeon Inlet.

The Ponce Inlet Coast Guard Station in 1966. National Archives photo

In 1939 the Lighthouse Service was merged with the U.S. Coast Guard. The Lighthouse Service personnel were given the choice of retirement or joining the Coast Guard with similar rank. Staff at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse joined the Coast Guard, and former principal keeper Edward L. Meyer became officer in charge of the station. During World War II the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse principal keeper’s residence became a barracks for Coast Guardsmen, and the lighthouse station, with its 175-foot tower became a lookout post, training facility, and radio navigation beacon base. After the war, the station continued to be maintained by the Coast Guard until the Ponce De Leon Inlet Preservation Association began managing the property in 1972. In the intervening years, a long and fruitful partnership developed between the Lighthouse Museum and the Coast Guard facility, with co-celebrations of service continuing today.

low res 130 Anniversary flier

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is planning another celebration on November 10, 2017, to commemorate the station’s 130th birthday. On November 1, 1887, Principal Keeper William R. Rowlinski climbed the 213 steps of the tall, red-brick giant to its lantern room. Rowlinski proceeded to light the five-concentric-wick kerosene lamp. The brilliant, fixed white light blazed forth from the Barbier & Fenestre first-order lens. About two months earlier, a Notice to Mariners was issued from the Lighthouse Board formally announcing the new light’s presence on the coast atop the 175-foot tower. It had taken three years to complete the station on the previously dark 100-mile stretch of coast of East Florida. The Notice also carried the Longitude and Latitude positions, bearings and distances of two other “prominent objects,” the “Cape Canaveral Light-House” at 41 nautical miles to the South, and the “St. Augustine Light-House,” some 52 nautical miles to the North.

In 1970, after more than 80 years of service, the U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned the light station and formulated plans to demolish the structures and use the rubble as an artificial reef. A group of Ponce Inlet residents, alarmed by the potential loss of so much local and national history, formed the Ponce DeLeon Lighthouse Preservation Association, saved the tower and keepers’ residences from the wrecking ball, and has managed and operated the station as an attraction and museum ever since. Restoration continues to this day, and as a result in 1998 the once dilapidated station was recognized as a National Historic Landmark, one of only twelve historic U.S. lighthouses to be so honored. Welcoming more than 175,000 visitors each year, the station is acknowledged as one of the best preserved and most representative light stations in the nation.

Excerpted from submissions by John F. Mann, Lead Docent, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, August 10 and 24, 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 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