News · Research · Society Members

Shining the Light on Gary Riemenschneider

If you have accessed the Digital Archives or the Lighthouse Enthusiasts Community sections on the Society’s website, you have Society volunteer Gary Riemenschneider to thank. The Society would like to take this opportunity to highlight Gary’s remarkable contributions!

Gary Riemenschneider Photo copy
Gary Riemenschneider visiting Eldred Rock Lighthouse, Alaska

Many years ago Gary created an application on his computer that allowed him to log lighthouse visits. Around 2010 he created the USLHS Lighthouse Enthusiasts Community website where all lighthouse enthusiasts can log and review their visits and passport stamps, download coordinates to all the viewable lighthouses in the U.S. and Canada, and much more.

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Gary volunteered hundreds of hours to develop an incredible Light List resource for the Society website. The information in this section uses two formats. First, you can access graphical representations for sections of the United States where arcs are displayed that represent the characteristics of those lighthouses on the map, how lighthouses were activated or deactivated over time, and how their characteristics may have changed. Second, you can access historical light list information for either an entire state or a particular lighthouse.

Gary was inspired to create this splendid resource during a 2005 Society tour of Maine Lighthouses.  While visiting the recently opened Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine, he saw a huge nautical chart painted on the floor showing the Maine coastline with the characteristic arcs of the lighthouses in that state. Gary thought to himself that he could replicate it on a computer! Little did he know then how much time he would devote to putting that website together! The first release of the Light Lists website occurred in 2007 with the Pacific Coast lights fully researched. Since then he has added the East Coast and Gulf Coast lighthouses. However, he still has the Great Lakes lighthouses to fully research — a daunting task!

Gary also created a couple of other sections within the USLHS website dealing with lighthouse photos and architectural drawings. He recently added a number of West Coast lighthouse drawings which the Society had scanned from the National Archives collection.

Point Ano Nuevo 6 Light House NA RG 26 CA copy
Gary recently added this plan of Ano Nuevo Lighthouse, CA, to the Architectural Drawings section of the Society’s website. Plan was scanned by the Society at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

Gary currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, which is within fairly easy reach of many of the Great Lakes lighthouses. He got the lighthouse fever in 1999 with his then wife, Debbie Roark. They planned a trip to Acadia National Park and viewed the Nubble Lighthouse in Maine on the way. While there they saw a few more lighthouses, and they both became hooked. Although Debbie and Gary are no longer married, they continue to see many lighthouses in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Gary’s ultimate goal is to view all of the lighthouses in the United States and Canada, but he says “I still has a way to go. And, of course, I want to continue providing support for the USLHS website since I still have a love for developing software on a subject that greatly interests me.”

A huge Society thank you to Gary Riemenschneider for his incredible contributions to lighthouse research, education, and enjoyment. His exceptional generosity in sharing his time and computer talents have greatly benefitted those who love to visit and study lighthouses!

Submitted by Candace Clifford, October 23, 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 · Preservation · Society Members

Restoration of Halfway Rock Lighthouse Tower Completed

 

Halfway Rock Light Station is located ten miles offshore in Casco Bay, Maine. Recent photo by Dave Wright.
Halfway Rock Lighthouse undergoing preservation work. Photo courtesy of Ford Reiche.

Ford Reiche earned the American Lighthouse Foundation’s Keeper of the Light award in May 2017. The award is “designed to honor those individuals and organizations in the national lighthouse community who have contributed in a significant manner to the preservation of America’s lighthouses and their rich heritage.”

The Society salutes Ford Reiche for not only preserving the lighthouse at Halfway Rock but for also documenting its rich history! Reiche is currently writing a book about the station using the material he has collected from the National Archives and other sources.

Reiche reported that the tower’s restoration has been completed and shared these photos illustrating recent events at the station:

This summer I entertained at Halfway Rock a former keeper who had last been there in 1961, when he been stationed there for a year. Ken Rouleau now lives in Derry, New Hampshire. I had an old photo (of Ken’s) of him standing in front of an RDF tower and the old bell tower in 1960.  This summer I took a new image of the same man standing in same exact spot 57 years later.  See the before and after shots below, plus another old USCG image of the whole facility, to help you get your bearings. Ken has lasted better than the RDF tower and the bell tower. . .

Reiche reported on another enjoyable outing to Halfway Rock (HWR) this summer when he took out retired Dr. Martha Friberg of Cape Elizabeth, Maine:

When Martha’s mother was a young woman she had gone to HWR with Martha’s grandfather in the 1940s. As a gift, the HWR keeper had given her his brass dustpan marked ‘USLHS.’ The woman always felt guilty about having gotten government property as a gift.  She died long ago, but her daughter, Martha, gave it back to me/HWR when she visited me this summer. [See photos below] of Martha and me, and two older pictures of Martha’s mother on her visit to HWR when she was given the dustpan in the 1940s.

Based on emails from Ford Reiche, September 27, 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.

Poetry · Society Members

Squirrel Island Light by David Gamage

Little River squirrels. Lighthouse Endeavor photo courtesy of David Gamage

Society member David Gamage shared the following:

Squirrel Island Light

by David Gamage

Instructions to Keepers of the Lights of this Nation,
Contain directions for most every situation,
But not one small bit of useful information,
For the keeper to defend against red squirrel invasion.

So try as he might,
It just isn’t right!
No matter his efforts,
They refuse to take flight.

In the house on chairs and on the table,
As for enjoying ones meals, not at all able.
No flag could be flown for distress if inclined,
For one of these beasts had chewed through the line.

Help did arrive, the lighthouse tender.
Lowered the dory at the port side fenders.
But for seeing those squirrels by the boat house door,
The captain decided it best not go ashore.

This keeper now alone, with no comfort, no aid,
Under constant attack by this squirrel brigade.
No rest during day, and awakened at night,
for bad dreams of squirrels. It’s just not right!

The light at night must always be lit.
Though the keeper had no choice but to quit.
The keeper being forced to abandon his station.
With no willing replacement, the only choice– automation.

With such the light will display night after night.
This light station renamed.—Squirrel Island Light

According to Dave, this poem was inspired by actual squirrel challenges at Little River Light. During Tim Harrison’s project Lighthouse Endeavor, a person lived alone at this lighthouse year round.  This live-in keeper thought these critters were cute so he began feeding a couple of them. Soon after, the invasion began when they brought all their many friends.

Little River Light Station, Maine. 2011 photo by Jack Graham

Submitted by David Gamage, September 26, 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 · 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 <https://uslhs.wordpress.com/photos/> 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.

Submitted by Candace Clifford September 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.

News

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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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 http://www.lighthouse-llandudno.co.uk/. The deadline for submission in this Friday, September 15. For more information on submitting, see https://uslhs.wordpress.com/photos/.

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 candace@uslhs.org.

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.

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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7

BOAT EXCURSIONS:

LAKESHORE LIGHTHOUSE CRUISE

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.

PLUM ISLAND TOUR

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.)

SAIL DOOR COUNTY SCHOONER CRUISE

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.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8

LAND-BASED TOUR:

NATURALIST-NARRATED TOUR

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.

BOAT EXCURSION:

CHAMBERS ISLAND TOUR

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 candace@uslhs.org.