Fayerweather Island Lighthouse (Black Rock Harbor) Lighthouse in Connecticut renovated
Fayerweather Island Lighthouse, also known as Black Rock Harbor Lighthouse, is in the Black Rock Harbor section of Bridgeport, Connecticut, near the end of Barnum Boulevard at Seaside Park. The station’s interesting history dates to 1808, and longtime nineteenth century keeper Kate Moore gained fame as a lifesaver. The keeper’s house was destroyed by fire in 1977; only the lighthouse tower remains.
The lighthouse has received a major facelift in recent months thanks to the Black Rock Community Council History Committee. The committee extended thanks to the City of Bridgeport and, in particular, Special Projects Coordinator for the Parks Department Steve Hladun for overseeing the work and to Doug Royalty and Connecticut’s State Historic Preservation Office for providing funding and expertise for the restoration effort.
The work included the repair of the stone in the tower, repainting and application of an anti-graffiti sealant on the lower section; the repointing of the upper brick section of the tower; the removal and reinstallation of the solar lighting system; resealing of the lantern glass; sanding and painting the of the lantern and roof; removal and restoration of the lantern gallery railing; and the installation of an osprey deterrent system to prevent further nesting.
Photos courtesy BRCC History Committee
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Ship Shoal Lighthouse (LA) to be moved to shore
Officials in Berwick, Louisiana, have announced plans to move the Ship Shoal Lighthouse — a 125-foot-tall iron skeletal tower that began service in 1860 — from its home on an offshore reef below Dulac to a site on the waterfront of Berwick. Berwick is already home to the Southwest Reef Lighthouse.
Opening Day (April 19) is free fee day as Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras Lighthouses (NC) open for the season
Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras Lighthouses will be open for climbing this year from Friday, April 19 through Monday, October 14.
National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac invites the local Outer Banks community and park visitors to climb the lighthouses at no charge on opening day, April 19. Free tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and can only be obtained in person, that day, on site.
In 1999, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was moved 2,900 feet to help protect it from an encroaching Atlantic Ocean shoreline. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the “move of the century,” Cape Hatteras National Seashore will present daily interpretive programs on the epic journey. Meet staff at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion at 10:30 am to hear the 20-minute program. The daily programs begin May 3 and continue through October 14.
Tours at New London Harbor Lighthouse (CT) challenged again
Just after tours had resumed at Connecticut’s New London Harbor Lighthouse, which is owned by the New London Maritime Society, the owners of the former keeper’s house and another neighbor filed suit to stop the tours. The lawsuit marks the latest chapter in a battle that goes back a decade.
Solar power installed in remote Monomoy Point Light Station (MA) keeper’s house
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff, Cotuit Solar, Glynn Electric and volunteers from the Friends of Monomoy have installed solar power in the 170-year-old Monomoy Point Light Station, located off the south side of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 16 solar panels now provide 4400 watts of power.
The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge also now has a new 38-foot landing craft that can carry 20 passengers.
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Captain Joshua Card here, at Fort Point on the New Hampshire Seacoast. The days are getting longer and the weather’s been mostly clear. I haven’t had to wind the fog bell mechanism in more than a month. That will change come summer.
Thought I’d tell you about Benjamin Ellsworth today, another contemporary of mine who was keeper for more than 40 years down at the Ipswich Range Light station in Massachusetts. His daughter, Susan, was really an assistant keeper, although she was never paid for the position. The Ipswich station went into operation on December 1, 1837. The lights served as a range for mariners coming through the main channel into the mouth of the Ipswich River. If you’ve been to the area, you might know the area where the lighthouses once stood as Crane’s Beach.
Benjamin Ellsworth, who was born in nearby Rowley, Massachusetts, in 1813, was appointed keeper in 1861 after spending some years in the local clamming and fishing industries. Ellsworth’s wife died soon after he took the position, and the keeper’s daughter, Susan, kept house at the station. Susan was the youngest of 12 children. Three sons of Keeper Ellsworth fought in the Civil War, and all three returned safely.
Ellsworth was responsible for several rescues of shipwreck victims during his long stay. In October 1863, he went to the aid of the passengers of an English schooner that had run aground. He later said he could “scarcely help from laughing” when he reached the wreck, because the passengers thought he was there to rob them. One of the passengers, a lawyer, had to convince the others to go with Ellsworth, and they all survived.
During the cold afternoon of March 11, 1872, a small fishing schooner, the Garabaldi, went aground on a sand bar near the Ipswich station during a snow squall. Ellsworth received a citation from the Massachusetts Humane Society for the rescue of the men from the Garibaldi. Later, in 1892, he performed a daring rescue a few miles the coast from his light station in high wind and waves. For his heroism, the keeper received a bronze medal from the Massachusetts Humane Society.
Ellsworth was interviewed for a newspaper article in 1897, when he was believed to be the oldest keeper employed in the United States. His daughter Susan—known as Susie—was still assisting him, as was a son, Jason.
Another article in 1898 described the station:
“About the house are several beautiful shell pictures, the result of Miss Susan’s skill and artistic taste, and the house also contains the government circulating library. This is replenished every year by the lighthouse tender Verbena, when she brings the supply of oil, chimneys, wicks and coal for the station. A plank walk, 400 feet long, leads from the keeper’s dwelling to the lighthouse, and from there to the ‘bug light’ near the beach, is another plank walk, 1000 feet in length.
“Like his own home, everything about the lighthouse shows the nicest of care, and is the very acme of neatness… Mr. Ellsworth is still hale, hearty and ruddy with the health-color that comes from the brisk sea-breezes that have whistled about him for nearly 40 years of life at the beach. He is one of the prize packages of Ipswich.”
A 1902 article praised Ellsworth: ‘As long as things go on properly he will probably never be removed. The family, and especially the old man himself, are so deeply rooted there at the light it would be hardly possible for them to be happy elsewhere.” The writer described Ellsworth cracking delectable Ipswich clams for his cats, and emphasized the many contributions of his daughter Susan:
“It is Miss Susan Ellsworth who has tended the light. As a vestal virgin of old Rome fed the sacred fire on the altar, that it should never die out, or as a nun watches over the altar lamp and keeps it ever shining brightly, so this New England daughter of a lighthouse keeper has tended, with almost reverential feeling, this great light… ‘It is my life,’ declared Miss Ellsworth recently, and as she said it, softly, and with shining eye, a flush crept across her face, such as is seen on the face of a maiden when her lover’s name is spoken.”
Benjamin Ellsworth died soon after the 1902 article, at the age of 89. His daughter Susan would live to be 104, surviving her 12 brothers and sisters. On the occasion of her 100th birthday, a local newspaper reported:
“Miss Ellsworth helped her father keep the great lamp in the lighthouse glittering. She performed such chores as cleaning the glass reflectors, polishing the metal and trimming the wicks so that seafaring men could rest assured of safe voyage, at least near the Ipswich Light.”
New London Harbor Lighthouse (CT) Reopens for Tours
With a new agreement in place governing the number of tours that can be given per day and week, public tours have resumed at New London Harbor Lighthouse in New London, Connecticut. The lighthouse tower is owned by the New London Maritime Society, while the adjacent house, where the lighthouse keeper once lived, is privately owned. The lighthouse, established in 1761 and rebuilt in 1801, is the state’s oldest.
Lorain Lighthouse Foundation (OH) asking area residents to vote the lighthouse “Best of Lake Erie.”
The Lorain Lighthouse Foundation Inc. board of trustees is asking area residents to vote the Lorain Lighthouse to be the “Best of Lake Erie.” Voting is online at www.lakeerieliving.com by April 1. There is a also paper ballot in Lake Erie Living’s 2019 annual travel guide.
Grays Harbor Lighthouse (WA) study to be discussed tonight
The Westport South Beach Historical Society’s quarterly potluck Friday at 6 p.m. will include a presentation of findings from the 2018 professional review of the Grays Harbor Lighthouse. The society’s president Pete Eberle and members of the lighthouse restoration committee will be presenting and available for questions. There is also a grounds cleanup at the lighthouse starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
The Umpqua River Lighthouse museum and gift shop now has extended hours through September, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The lighthouse is home to one of the most magnificent first-order Fresnel lenses in the United States.
Tom and Lee Ann Szelog at the Maine State Library in Augusta, March 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Imagine living in a century-old lightkeeper’s house on the coast of Maine. It sounds like a fantasy, but for Tom and Lee Ann Szelog, dream became reality when they settled into the keeper’s quarters at the Marshall Point Lighthouse, in Port Clyde. Join the Szelogs to experience what it’s like to live in an authentic and operating lighthouse on the Maine coast on Wednesday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m., at the Maine State Library. Presented by the Kennebec Historical Society.
History of Dutch Chocolate – Wine & Chocolate Tasting at the Hudson River Maritime Museum, Kingston, New York, on Friday, March 22 at 6 p.m.
This educational evening will feature a wine tasting by Stone Ridge Wine and Spirits, as well as chocolate fountain, and homemade chocolate truffles. Stone Ridge Wine and Spirits will show you how to pair wines with chocolates, focusing on the best ports and dessert wines for your favorite sweets. There will be a special raffle for a case of wine, donated by Stone Ridge Wine and Spirits available only to guests of this special event.
Lost Lighthouses of the Hudson River – Lecture at the Hudson River Maritime Museum, Kingston, New York, on Saturday, March 23 at 2 p.m. in the classroom at the Wooden Boat School. Seating is limited – click here!