News · Research

U.S. Lighthouse Society In Search of New Home for Library

Current Situation: The United States Lighthouse Society (USLHS) Library, officially named the “Unites States Lighthouse Society Wayne Wheeler Library,” currently occupies about 200 linear feet of shelf space. (At this time the Society is only interested in transferring its books, but would also consider including its photo and document collection if circumstances warrant.) We anticipate two more significant book collections to be added to the current library, resulting in about 400 total linear feet. Our current facility in Hansville, Washington, will not allow us to accommodate this expanded library. Furthermore, the remote location of Hansville does not make the library readily available to potential users.

USLHS is therefore conducting a nation-wide search to find a suitable home for the library.

Preferred Library Considerations:

  1. Climate control, fire and intrusion detection systems.
  2. Professionally trained staff.
  3. Non-lending research library.
  4. Accessible location with parking and good public transportation.
  5. Maritime and/or technical focused collections.
  6. Open to the public on a regular basis (can be by appointment)

Conditions of Library Transfer:

  1. USLHS library will be a long-term transfer, but ownership of the library will remain with USLHS. Length of term of transfer is negotiable.
  2. Other than the two collection additions mentioned above, occasional small additions to the library will be permitted to the collection.
  3. Any duplicates between the hosting library and the USLHS collection must remain in USLHS collection.
  4. USLHS library will be so identified and kept together in one contiguous section of the hosting library.
  5. An annual hosting fee, if necessary, is negotiable.
  6. USLHS will pay for all costs related to the move of library to the hosting library.
  7. USLHS staff will be available to help with answering lighthouse-related research requests.

Who we are:

The United States Lighthouse Society is a nonprofit historical and educational organization dedicated to saving and sharing the rich maritime legacy of American lighthouses and supporting lighthouse preservation throughout the nation.

The USLHS Wayne Wheeler Library includes many 19th century publications, including Annual Reports of the U.S. Light-House Board, Light Lists, and technical publications related to optics and fog signals. Secondary sources include guidebooks, popular and scholarly work, and some periodicals. An inventory of the collection is available upon request. Any duplicates will be removed and disposed of before transmission. Although the collection deals primarily with the United States, books on international lighthouses are also included.

USLHS is in the process of creating a large digital archive for lighthouse research. Most of it is derived from primary sources. The archive will be made available online through the Society’s website <uslhs.org>. This archive, along with the physical library, will bring together vast resources for research on lighthouses, which in turn will produce more books and articles that would be available in one central location.

For more information or expressions of interest, please email Candace Clifford at candace@uslhs.org.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, USLHS Historian, June 1, 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 consider joining 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.

Keepers · News

Historic Plymouth lighthouse opens for day of tours

Project Gurnet, a nonprofit, restores and maintains Duxbury Pier Light (Bug Light) and The Plymouth Light Station (Gurnet Light, Fort Andrew and the Keeper’s Cottage). Their event on Saturday took visitors on a path through time with 10 stations manned by Project employees, volunteers and historical reenactors.” — May 27, 2017 Patriot Ledger article by Mary Whitfill: Historic Plymouth lighthouse opens for day of tours

The reenactors portrayed the first keepers of the lighthouse — John and Hannah Thomas. The Massachusetts Bay Colony paid them 5 shillings for the use their land and £200 annually for keeping the light. When General Thomas went off to fight in the Revolutionary War, his wife, Hannah, was left in charge of the light. John never returned, having died of smallpox while in command of the colonial army in Canada, so Hannah was in charge of the station when the new federal government took over colonial lighthouses in 1789.

Salaries of Massachusetts’ lighthouse keepers in 1789. Excerpt from a letter dated October 16, 1789, from Boston Customs Collector and Superintendent of Lighthouses John Rice to Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. National Archives Record Group 26, Entry 17A

Hannah’s son John took over as keeper in 1790.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, May 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 consider joining 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.

Exhibits · Keepers · News

Opening Soon! Legends of the Light Exhibit

St. Augustine Lighthouse Keeper C.D. Daniels in 1937

St. Augustine’s new Maritime Archaeology & Education Center (MEAC), St. Augustine, Florida, will “house offices, education space, a maritime archaeology center, and a new exhibit space.”

Opening this summer, “Legends of the Light will share the stories of the Lighthouse. Visitors will learn about the people that lived and worked here. Climbers and non-climbers alike will enjoy an engaging experience that will give them a greater appreciation for the significance of lighthouses.”

See full story on the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum Keepers’ Blog: Opening Soon! Legends of the Light Exhibit

Event · News · Preservation

Hooper Strait Marks 50 Years at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Hooper Strait MD 50th anniversary CBMM copy
The dedication of Hooper Strait Lighthouse at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum was led by Robert Burgesson May 20, 1967. Photo by William Edwin Booth. CBMM Collection.

Fifty years ago today, on May 20, 1967, the Hooper Strait Lighthouse opened to the public at its new home on the grounds of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, Maryland. The preceding November, it had been removed in two pieces from its original screwpile foundation, lifted onto a barge, and towed up the Chesapeake to St. Michaels. It was set on a new pipe foundation and restored after sitting unmanned for 12 years.

Hooper Strait 1972 move CBMM (1) copy
The Hooper Strait Lighthouse was moved to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in 1966, and dedicated on May 20, 1967. Photo by C.C. Harris. CBMM Collection.

Hooper Strait Lighthouse was automated in 1954 as part of the Coast Guard’s modernization program, and it was scheduled for demolition when the Museum’s founders stepped in, purchasing it from the demolition contractor at the last minute. It was the first lighthouse to be moved for preservation purposes.

Built in 1879, Hooper Strait was a classic low, screwpile lighthouse, a type once common on the Chesapeake Bay, where shoal waters and the soft bottom of the Bay made it necessary to locate navigational beacons away from the shore.
Hooper Strait Lighthouse, along with the Point Lookout bell tower and buyboat Winnie Estelle in 2017. Photo courtesy CBMM

Submitted by Bethany Ziegler and Pete Lesher, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, May 16, 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 consider joining 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.

Historic Images · Keepers · News

Little River Light Station Images Donated to Society Archives

The U.S. Lighthouse Society is pleased to receive a generous donation of these digital images of Little River Light Station, Maine, from Tim Harrison, editor of Lighthouse Digest.

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Lighthouse Digest has an amazing collection of historic images in its archives that have been gathered over the past 25 years. According to Harrison, “The Lighthouse Digest archives are not open to the public; however, low resolution images of many, but not all, of the Lighthouse Digest historic images can be found on their web site at www.LighthouseDigest.com. Depending on the reason, high resolution images can be requested via email, but there may be a small charge to cover the time involved.”

Little River ME 1892 USCGHO (6) copy
This scan of a 1892 photo of Little River Light Station is already part of the Society’s Digital Archives.The original print is part of the USCG Historian Office collections.

The Society has begun developing a database for their growing digital archives of photographs, architectural drawings, and historic documents. This catalog, comprised of a number of different collections, will eventually be available online. In the meantime items from the catalog are available to Society members  for preservation or educational purposes.

We are very pleased that these Little River Light Station images from the Lighthouse Digest will be included in this repository.

Submitted by Tim Harrison and Candace Clifford, May 18, 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 consider joining 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 · Lifesaving Service · News · Preservation

Restoration of Amagansett Life-Saving Station Now Complete

Aman6
Courtesy of David Lys, ALSCGS

The Amagansett Life-Saving Station will be open to the public for the first time on May 20, 2017, for a Re-Commissioning Ceremony hosted by the Amangansett U.S. Life-Saving and U.S. Coast Guard Society (ALSCGS). The Station will be opening as a museum this summer.

Aman2This Quonchontaug-type station was built in East Hampton, New York, in 1902. It was the third station erected at this site. The original station was one of the first wave of stations erected on Long Island (NY) in 1849. It was replaced by an 1876-type station in 1876. The 1902 station remained in service until 1944, when it was decommissioned.

Aman4The station house remained abandoned until 1966 when the town wanted it removed from the beach. Joel Carmichael purchased the station for one dollar and moved it up onto the bluff above. There it remained a family residence until the death of Mr. Carmichael in 2006. The family then decided to give the station back to the town, and in 2007, it was moved back to the original location, in the dunes below the bluff off Atlantic Avenue. This move is the subject of Eileen Torpey’s documentary film, Ocean Keeper. Although in its original site, shifting sands placed it farther from the ocean than previously, thus it was better protected from the surf. Robert Hefner, East Hampton town’s historic preservation consultant, said that the architecture of the building remained largely intact.

Aman5
Courtesy of David Lys, ALSCGS
Aman7
Courtesy of David Lys, ALSCGS

The East Hampton Town Board tasked the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Society, Inc. (ALSCGS) to raise the necessary funds to have a historic structure report on the building completed in 2011. This report guided the restoration process to return the station to its 1902 appearance. Exterior restoration was completed in 2014, and the interior in the spring of 2017.

The station will house a museum dedicated to the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service and the U.S. Coast Guard in East Hampton, including the Nazi saboteur landing off Amagansett during World War II. It will also contain an administrative office for the East Hampton Town lifeguards.

The museum will be housed in the boat room. Already on display is a Beebe surfboat, the last one known to exist. Currently under construction is a replica carriage for this boat. Once this is finished the boat will undergo a complete restoration in nearby Greenport, New York, home of Frederick Beebe’s original boatyard. This surfboat, which spent its working life nearby at the New Shoreham station on Block Island, Rhode Island, is owned by the National Parks Service and is on loan to the ALSCGS. They are also seeking to obtain a McLellan-type beach apparatus, either on loan from a museum or by construction of a replica.

Submitted by David Lys, President, ALS&CGS, amagansettuslss@gmail.com

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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 consider joining 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.