News · photography · Society Members

Submissions for 2018 Society Calendar

Some recent submissions by Society photographers for possible inclusion in our 2018 Society calendar:

 

For more information on our calendar contest, goto our submissions page.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, Society Historian, August 17, 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.

 

 

Education · Kate's Corner · Keepers · News

KATE’S CORNER #7

Kate Walker here. I kept the light on Robbins Reef in New York Harbor from 1890 to 1919. That’s a lot of years, isn’t it? And don’t forget that the light had to be kept seven days a week, 365 days a year. There were no days off unless you had an assistant keeper or a substitute you could trust to put a lamp in the tower at sunset, replace it when needed during the night, and extinguish it at sunrise. That substitute was often a wife or a child of the keeper. My son Jacob served as my assistant.

williams copy
Elizabeth Williams kept two lights on Lake Michigan. Photo courtesy of Beaver Island Historical Society.

I’m not the only woman to have stayed at my post for a record number of years. Josephine Freeman kept the Blackistone Island Light Station in Maryland on the Potomac River from 1876 until 1912. Harriet Colfax was at the Michigan City Light in Indiana from 1861 until 1904. Ida Lewis was at Lime Rock (later named Ida Lewis Rock) in Rhode Island from 1857 until 1911. Julia Williams kept the Santa Barbara Light in California from 1865 until 1905. Catherine Murdock was at Roundout Creek on the Hudson River in New York from 1857 until 1907. Maria Youngans was at Biloxi Light in Mississippi from 1867 until 1918. Elizabeth Williams was at Beaver Island Harbor Point Light Station from 1872 to 1884 and at Little Traverse Light Station, Michigan, from 1884 to 1913.

Which one of us should get the prize for the longest tenure at a light station?

Was any male keeper at his station longer than these women were? I know about the following men who served many years:

Sedgwick Springs at Bald Head, NC, 1807 – 1837
William Gilley at Bakers Island, ME, 1828 – 1849
Leander White at Cape Elizabeth, ME, 1888 – 1909
Miles Burnham at Cape Canaveral, FL, 1861 – 1885
Enoch Ellis Howard at Ocracoke, NC, 1862 – 1897
William W. Williams at Boon Island, ME, 1885 – 1911
Clinton P. Honeywell at Cape Canaveral, FL, 1891 – 1930
Willis Dolliver at Bass Harbor Head, ME, 1894 – 1921
Peter Rasmusson at St. Augustine, FL, 1901 – 1924
Henry L. Dow at New Point Comfort, VA, 1919 – 1954

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker loresAre there others I should know about? [Please reply to this post in order for your keeper to show up in the comments]

Sources: Dates for female keepers are from Women Who Kept the Lights. Dates for male keepers from <www.lighthousefriends.com>.

Submitted August 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 candace@uslhs.org.

 

News · Affiliates · Awards

Anne Webster-Wallace Receives Holland Award

The American Lighthouse Council, now an affiliate of the United States Lighthouse Society, marked National Lighthouse Day this year by presenting the nation’s top lighthouse preservation honor to Anne Webster-Wallace of Maine.

Mike presents Holland award to Anne
Mike Vogel presents the Holland Award to Anne Webster-Wallace on National Lighthouse Day

Anne was the force behind the 1996 Maine Lights Program, the prototype lighthouse transfer program that served four years later as a template for the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act and lighthouse transfers to preservation groups nationwide. When she became director of that program for the Island Institute, she already had a decade of experience in preserving the offshore Sequin Island Lighthouse near her home in Georgetown, Maine.  In 1986, Anne Webster started her involvement with lighthouse preservation by fighting to save a hometown lighthouse. She went on to make invaluable contributions to the national lighthouse movement, including developing the lighthouse transfer program that became the inspiration and template for the transfer of historic light stations to stewardship groups nationwide.

Anne also served on the National Lighthouse Museum Steering Committee and as an officer of the American Lighthouse Council. She played a pivotal role in lighthouse preservation at seminal moments in its development as a state, regional and national movement, and helped immeasurably in shaping it into a strong and successful coalition of groups with a unified voice in the general preservation community.

To recognize her long service to the keeping of the lights and of their heritage, the American Lighthouse Council this year awarded her the H. Ross Holland Award, the community’s highest lifetime honor. The award was presented in Georgetown on August 7, National Lighthouse Day, by Council co-chair Mike Vogel.

The honor was the final Holland Award to be presented by the Council. The honor now will be administered by the grants and awards committee of the United States Lighthouse Society, and nominations may be sent to the Society.

Submitted by Mike Vogel, U.S. Lighthouse Society Board Secretary, August 9, 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

11 interesting facts about USFWS lighthouses

USFWS Cuckolds
Egg Rock, Maine, before and after restoration. USFWS photo

A USFWS article on lighthouses in National Wildlife Refuges by Chloe Doe:

Lighthouses are iconic. They line our beautiful coastal shores and can share with us the great history of protecting fisherman and mariners a century ago. Learn interesting facts about the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lighthouses: 11 interesting facts about USFWS lighthouses

Funding Sources · News · Preservation

Society Announces 2017 Preservation Grant Recipients

Emergency shoring of island lighthouses in Maine and Massachusetts, a new way into a lighthouse in New York, and a first step for the rescue of a lighthouse in Michigan will happen because of grants made by the United States Lighthouse Society in the third year of its Lighthouse Preservation Grants Program.

A total of $20,000 was awarded this year, drawing on the interest from a still-growing investment fund that the Society has committed to increase through the years so that more and larger preservation grants can be made.

Isle au Haut ME 1991 NPS HABS ME-212-4 copy
1991 photo of Point Robinson from Historic American Building Survey, ME-212

The largest single grant, of $8,500, will help a preservation group on Isle au Haut, Maine, replace badly corroded support beams that imperil the lantern of the Point Robinson (Isle au Haut) Lighthouse. Friends of the Isle au Haut Lighthouse will use the USLHS grant to install galvanized steel beams in place of two failing beams under the watch room and lantern floors. The project will relieve some of the structural stresses that have caused tower cracks, and will serve as the needed first step in a longer effort to restore the brick tower and its granite base.

A $7,000 grant will help the experienced Thacher Island Association keep the Cape Ann Light Station’s South Tower from suffering the same fate as the North Tower, which had granite pieces fall from its gallery deck last year due to rust-jacking between the iron rails and the tower stone. Stainless steel bands will be installed, as unobtrusively as possible, around the original stone bands circling the gallery and lantern decks. The full cost of the work will be $17,900, and longer-term plans call for replacing the anchor elements of the iron rails with stainless steel fittings to curtail the stone-fracturing problems.

Cape Ann MA 2005 Sept. 24th Mike &amp; Carol McKinney copy
2005 photo of Thacher Island courtesy Mike and Ann McKinney

At Keweenaw Waterway Lower Entrance Light in Michigan a new non-profit group that took ownership through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act will use a $3,500 USLHS grant to help fund a $12,000 condition assessment report, a needed first look at the problems of the light and a document essential to planning its restoration. The USLHS grants program considers such professional assessments an extremely important and solid investment in any lighthouse restoration project. The Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program will provide a 2-to-1 matching grant toward the Keweenaw Waterway Lighthouse Conservancy project.

Lower Entrance Light September 2016-80 copy
Keweenaw Waterway Lower Entrance Lighthouse. Photo by Nathan Miller

Finally, a $1,000 assist will go to the Huntington Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society, as not only a small measure of financial help, but an expression of support for the Long Island group and its efforts. The lighthouse has an exterior railing system that needs a combination of restoration and replacement, but the USLHS grant will help with a needed watch-deck-level door replacement.

Lloyd Harbor NY 2009 George Doerner (1) copy
Huntington (Lloyd Harbor) Lighthouse. 2009 photo by George Doerner

The grant committee’s review of 30 first-round applications, and its detailed study of six selected finalists, were stark reminders both of the problems facing America’s lighthouses and the deep financial needs of the preservation groups trying to save them. While funds now are still too limited to meet all those needs, or even to fund every selected project at the full amount requested, the United States Lighthouse Society remains committed to using all the available money generated by fund investments to provide whatever help it can now – while striving still to build the fund through donations so more projects can be funded in the future.

Previous cycles saw $25,000 in competitive grants awarded last year, and $21,000 awarded in the 2015 launch of the program. Assistance was provided to lighthouse groups from Florida to Alaska, on all four coasts. In addition, the program worked closely with corporate partners Land’s End and Sea Pak to provide targeted assistance to mutually selected lighthouse projects; Sea Pak provided a $10,000 grant for the Morris Island Lighthouse last year, while Land’s End provided $10,000 to Alcatraz Lighthouse in 2015 and a significant commitment, starting last year, to support restoration of the Boston Lighthouse.

The United States Lighthouse Society’s program is the first formal and continuing aid program with an open application process funded within the lighthouse preservation community itself. At this point the program is open only to not-for-profit groups, with a maximum grant amount of $10,000. As the dedicated preservation fund grows, more grant money will be made available for future projects. Information on donating to the fund or applying for future grants may be found on the Society’s website.

Submitted by Mike Vogel, U.S. Lighthouse Society Board Member, August 2, 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.

Education · Kate's Corner · News

KATE’S CORNER #6

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef.

In 1886 before John died, the Statue of Liberty was erected on Bedloe’s Island, two miles northeast of Robbins Reef. Is the name ‘Eiffel’ familiar to you? French builder Gustave Eiffel’s iron framework had been anchored to steel I-beams within the concrete pedestal and assembled. We could sit on our balcony and watch the sections of skin being carefully attached to the frame. The pedestal was too narrow to erect scaffolding, so the workers dangled from ropes while installing the 350 different skin sections. They looked like ants crawling around on the copper panels.

The statue was bright copper color when it was new. Over the years I watched it turn green—the verdigris a natural patina formed when copper is weathered and exposed to air or seawater over a period of time.

Robbins Reef NY 2002 by JCC copy
Statue of Liberty and Robbins Reef Lighthouse. 2002 photo by Candace Clifford

French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who designed the statue, had planned to put floodlights on the torch’s balcony to illuminate it, but a week before the dedication, the Army Corps of Engineers vetoed the proposal, fearing that ships’ pilots passing the statue would be blinded. Instead, Bartholdi cut portholes in the torch—which was covered with gold leaf—and placed the lights inside them. A power plant was installed on the island to light the torch and for other electrical needs.

The dedication ceremony was held on the afternoon of October 28, 1886, presided over by President Grover Cleveland. We couldn’t see the parade in Manhattan, but a nautical parade began at 12:45 p.m., and President Cleveland embarked on a yacht that took him across the harbor to Bedloe’s Island for the dedication. The whole of New York Harbor was crowded with ships and boats flying flags and setting off fireworks. It was a splendid sight and very exciting to watch.

Weren’t we lucky to have a ring-side seat?

In the newspapers that a friend from Staten Island brings us once or twice a month, John read that the United States Lighthouse Board took over the Statue of Liberty in 1887, because the torch Liberty holds aloft was designed as a navigation beacon. The light wasn’t bright enough to be effective, however. Because it had proved useless as a lighthouse, it was placed under the War Department, which had a fort on the island, in 1901.

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker loresInformation from National Park Service (1994). National Register of Historic Places, 1966–1994; https://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/statue-history; https://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm; and https://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/nj.htm

Submitted August 4, 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.

Event · News

Wayne Wheeler To Speak at National Lighthouse Museum

wayne Wheller at Pigeon Point ca 1994
Wayne Wheeler at Pigeon Point Lighthouse, ca. 1994

Society President Wayne Wheeler will be presenting “Saving America’s Light Stations: A 30-Year Retrospective” as part of the National Lighthouse Museum‘s 7th Annual National Lighthouse & Lightship Recognition Weekend, Staten Island, NY,  August 4-6, 2017. Wayne’s talk will be on Saturday, August 5th.

Other events include:

Friday, August 4 ~ Light Keeper’s Gala. A champagne Museum Reception will precede a vessel leaving from Pier 1 adjacent to the Museum.  Harbor cruise, open bar, hors-d’oeuvres, dinner, dancing in the moonlight. For more information and reservations call (718) 390-0040.

Saturday, August 5 ~ Presentations, panel discussions. free tours and public events at Museum site. 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

Sunday, August 6 ~ Signature Lighthouse Boat Tour leaves 11 am from Pier 11, Wall and South St., Manhattan. To register and more information – August 6th Signature Lighthouse Boat Tour

Submitted by Jean Papazian, Friend/Volunteer, National Lighthouse Museum, July 2, 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.