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

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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 candace@uslhs.org.

International Lighthouses · Keepers · News

Happy New Year from Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse

Maatsuyker Island, Tasmania, population 2. Photo by Jesse Siebler

Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse Keepers Taylor and Jesse sent along these photos of the light station they are keeping on Maatsuyker Island, Tasmania (Australia). They are on this isolated island for six months taking care of the station. In addition to the tower, there are three large houses on Maatsuyker, all built in 1890/1891. There are a host of outbuildings too. They maintain and repair everything as needed. The lighthouse was a first-order light and the lens is still in place although it has been decommissioned and replaced by a modern light in a different location.

Approaching weather. The couple reports they have been buffeted by gale force winds for two weeks straight in the windiest place in Australia. Photo by Jesse Siebler

The couple are really enjoying their light-keeping experience and seeking in other care-taking opportunities/employment around the world. They have a website and an instagram page for those who want to follow their adventures.

Submitted by Jesse Siebler, December 31, 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 candace@uslhs.org.

Kate's Corner · Lighthouse Construction · News

KATE’S CORNER #16

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef.

There were a lot of locations where the heavy tall towers I talked about earlier couldn’t be built. If the bottom was muddy or sandy, as in  the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River delta, and the coral reefs of the Florida Keys, the development of newer technology using screwpile, caisson, and skeletal tower lighthouse construction was essential to adequately warn navigators of the shoals and currents offshore.

Foundation Screw pile
Screwpile lighthouses, built on a foundation of pilings, had a screw-like flange fastened to the bottom of the pile and wound like a screw into the soft bottom.  U.S. Light-House Board drawing in Society Archives

Screwpile lighthouses were either low spider-like foundations for rivers, bays, and sounds, or tall offshore coastal towers. Perhaps as many as 100 spider-like screwpile lighthouses were built throughout the Carolina sounds, the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, along the Gulf of Mexico, and one even at Maumee Bay (1855) on Lake Erie in Ohio. Most had wooden keeper’s dwellings, although Seven Foot Knoll in Maryland had a cast iron dwelling.

Thomas Point Shoal 2
Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse (1875), Maryland, the oldest extant, unmoved, spider-like screwpile lighthouse in the United States was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999. It has been under restoration as a museum by the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, which provides public tours.  Photo by Society Member John J. Young, 2016
Gasparilla Island FL November 2016 - Sharon Jones copy
Gasparilla Rear Range in Florida served as the Delaware Breakwater Rear Range before it was moved to Florida. Photo showing 2016 restoration by Society Member Sharon Jones.

Onshore skeletal towers were built of cast iron and were typically constructed on concrete foundations. Manitou Island Lighthouse (1861) and Whitefish Point Lighthouse (1861), Michigan, both built from the same plan, are the earliest onshore skeletal towers built in the United States. Like the cast-iron-plate tower, skeletal towers could be dismantled and moved.

Offshore skeletal towers were also built of cast iron and typically constructed with straight or screwpile foundations. A few offshore screwpile skeletal tower lighthouses built on coral reefs used foot plates or disks to help disperse the weight of the tower. Examples in the Florida Keys include Carysfort Reef Lighthouse (1852), Fowey Rocks Lighthouse (1878), and American Shoal Lighthouse (1880).

Iron Pile Light Houses Sand Key and Carysfort Reef NA RG 26 (92) copy
The first of the tall skeletal screwpile coastal towers in the United States was Carysfort Reef Lighthouse (1852), Florida, built by engineer George Meade, which is still extant.  National Archives drawing from the Society Archives

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker copyAll this interesting information is from the National Park Service Maritime Heritage Program, Historic Lighthouse Preservation Handbook, released in August 1997, created through a cooperative partnership between the National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program, and U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Submitted December 28, 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 candace@uslhs.org.

News · Society Members

Tis the Season at Baileys Harbor Range Light Station

Society Member Ed Miller recently shared some wonderful photos of Baileys Harbor Range Light Station decorated for the Season:

Ed reports that much has been accomplished in the restoration of the range lights. Here are a few shots taken pre-restoration, as well as some historic documentation:

image040
Ed Miller with Sue Jarosh, author of DOOR COUNTY’S EAGLE BLUFF LIGHTHOUSE MOUSE, September 29, 2017

To learn more about the Range Lights, see the Ridges Sanctuary website.

Submitted by Ed Miller, December 22, 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 candace@uslhs.org.

Conferences · News

MHC Early Bird Registration Ends December 14th

MHCThe 11th Maritime Heritage Conference, the 45th Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships, the 55thAnnual Meeting of the National Maritime Historical Society and the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Steamship Historical Society of America will come together for an information-packed joint conference encompassing a broad array of topics this coming February 14-17, 2018 in the historic port city of New Orleans.

The Maritime Heritage Conference, last held in 2014, brings together individuals and institutions of the maritime heritage community to discuss topics of common interest.  Tall Ships America’s Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships is held annually and has earned a reputation for its high take-away value, networking opportunities, and camaraderie.  Join as many as 500 of your fellow maritime enthusiasts from the National Maritime Alliance, Tall Ships America, the National Maritime Historical Society, the Steamship Historical Society of America, the Council of American Maritime Museums, the Historic Naval Ships Association, the North American Society for Oceanic History, the U.S. Lighthouse Society and so many others!

The U.S. Lighthouse Society has prepared a number of sessions specific to lighthouse preservation, history and education.

Click here to register. Save $100 if you register by December 14, 2017.

Excerpted from 11th-Annual-Maritime-Heritage-Conference, December 12, 2017

Conferences · News

2018 International Lighthouse Conference

MLA conferenceJoin the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance on May 20-22 on Mackinac Island, in the heart of lighthouse country for a one-of-a-kind conference and hotel stay unmatched anywhere!

Any group or individual that is involved in the lighthouse movement, either as a group restoring a lighthouse or in the process of becoming one, or persons connected to the lighthouse movement, such as government agencies, publishers, museums, state, provincial, or national lighthouse organizations are encouraged to attend!

U.S. organizations like the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, the National Lighthouse Museum, Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Lighthouse Digest, Michigan Lighthouse Guide, the U.S. Lighthouse Society, U.S. Lightship Museum, Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy and several Michigan, U.S., and Canadian lighthouses have already confirmed and will present on various topics!

Noted Canadian lighthouse author and speaker Larry Wright will be presenting on Canadian lighthouses, and several other speakers have committed to present on U.S. and World lighthouse history, sustainability programs at several lighthouses, the National Park Service, National Lighthouse Museum, the history of Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel, the history of light technology, from the fires atop Pharos to Fresnel, the history of the U.S. Lifesaving Service, a panel discussion with attendees on where we go from here and to cap it off, tour options to explore Mackinac Island, from Arch Rock to the village to Fort Mackinac. You won’t want to miss this event!

Space is limited so we encourage you to register early to guarantee your spot! Pellston and Sault St. Marie are the two closest airports and flights can arrive in time to get to the dock to take the tour.

Submitted by the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance.

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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 candace@uslhs.org.