News

“My heart is here” — The last light keeper of Capri prepares to leave his post

In most of today’s world, lighthouse keeping in the traditional sense is a thing of history. Automated modern optics require little in the way of human attention; in the United States, only one lighthouse (Boston Light) still has an official keeper employed by the federal government.

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Punta Carena Lighthouse, Italy. Wikimedia Commons photo by Dr Tr from Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Italy has been slower than many countries to automate and de-staff their light stations, but come January 1, 2019, almost all Italian lighthouses will be automated. The BBC has published a compelling article about Carlo D’Oriano, the 88th and final keeper of the Punta Carena Lighthouse. Click here to read it.

News

Ownership of Florida’s reef lighthouses could be transferred in the coming months

Alligator Reef Lighthouse (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Word is that ownership of Florida’s six offshore reef lighthouses could be changing hands in the not very distant future, under the provisions of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.

If no nonprofit organizations or other suitable entities step forward, the structures could potentially be sold to the general public via online auction.

 

Click here for more on this story.

Event · News

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse (WI) 150th anniversary celebration on Oct. 15

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse near Ephraim, Wisconsin, turns 150 years old on October 15, 2018, and the Door County Historical Society has plans to celebrate in style.

The celebration will include a flag ceremony by American Legion Post 527 Sister Bay, music by the Gibraltar High School band, book signings with nationally known lighthouse authors Barb and Ken Wardius, anniversary cake, and a raffle.

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Early 1900s postcard (U.S. Lighthouse Society)

The restored lighthouse keeper’s house at Eagle Bluff has been a museum since 1963. During the celebration on October 15, there will be special tours through the keeper’s house and tower climbs will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse is inside Peninsula State Park, between Fish Creek and Ephraim, at 10249 Shore Road. The celebration is free to attend, guided tours are $8.50 for adults, $5.50 ages 13-17, $3.50 ages 6 to 12, free for Door County Historical Society members; a state park vehicle sticker is required for entry. The first 100 adult guests will receive free coffee and a cookie.

Founded in 1926, the Door County Historical Society is a membership organization that keeps history alive for future generations through the collection, preservation, and sharing of the heritage of Door County. For more information, call 920-421-2332 or go to doorcountyhistoricalsociety.org.

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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. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by 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 Jeremy at nelights@gmail.com.

News

U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association Annual Conference in NC – Oct. 10-13

There’s still time to sign up for this year’s annual U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association Annual Conference, taking place in the Cape Hatteras – Kitty Hawk – Manteo area of North Carolina, October 10 through 13.

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Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, USLHS photo

The conference will feature a Breeches Buoy demonstration at the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, as well as tours of the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Little Kinnakeet Life-Saving Station and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, a visit to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, Pea Island Cookhouse, Roanoke Island Festival Park, Fort Raleigh and other sites.

Click here to sign up

The U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association provides communication among various preservation-minded individuals and organizations on the different aspects from saving stations to preserving artifacts by networking with individuals who specialize in different areas of expertise to those that need information. The Association also publishes an information-packed quarterly magazine, Wreck & Rescue, detailing the many accounts of desperate shipwrecks and saving lives; it includes preservation updates among many other topics.

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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. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by 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 Jeremy at nelights@gmail.com.

Event · News

North Carolina’s Cape Lookout Lighthouse went dark from Florence, reopening this weekend to celebrate recovery

2001 photo by Candace Clifford

North Carolina’s historic Cape Lookout Lighthouse went dark for at least nine days when Hurricane Florence hit the Outer Banks on September 14, but the Coast Guard soon had it working again.

The seasonal climbing season for the lighthouse ended on September 16. But the National Park Service is opening it to the public for three days starting this Friday, October 5, “to celebrate the progress towards recovery from Hurricane Florence.”

Admission will be free. Climbing hours will be from 10:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis and can only be acquired in-person at the site the day of the climb. There are no advance tickets.

Click here for the full press release

 

News

A bright future for the historic Rock of Ages Lighthouse

Press Release from the Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society:

There are few places that more completely define solitude than Rock of Ages Lighthouse. Perched atop a knife-edged reef on the western brink of the Isle Royale archipelago, Rock of Ages Lighthouse has stood watch, silently guarding the rocky shores of Isle Royale for more than a century. Standing ten stories tall, the Rock of Ages Lighthouse is just as striking a sight today as when it was built in 1908 to mark the dangerous Rock of Ages Reef. With a second-order Fresnel lens, Rock of Ages Lighthouse was one of the most powerful lights on the Great Lakes.

U.S. Lighthouse Society file photo

Since 1979, Rock of Ages Lighthouse has been left to the wind, waves, and ice without a keeper to maintain it. The Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society, a 501(c)3 non-profit, has partnered with Isle Royale National Park to pick up where the last lighthouse keeper left off. Using all volunteer help Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society is restoring the interior of Rock of Ages Lighthouse to its appearance in 1933 when 125 survivors were rescued from the George M. Cox by lighthouse keepers in the largest mass rescue in Lake Superior History

Rock of Ages Lighthouse is a welcome sight to all who journey to Isle Royale, not just because they have almost arrived, but because it means that the rest of the world has been left behind. “Rock of Ages Lighthouse has a way of protecting all those who pass by from the ever changing craziness that is our modern day reality.” Like Isle Royale, “Rock of Ages is a world set apart.” said David Gerth, founder and director of the Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society. “Those fortunate enough to set foot on the Rock know the overwhelming power of just being there, surrounded by the vast waters of Lake Superior and beauty of Isle Royale.” The restoration of the Rock of Ages Lighthouse to the 1930s time frame will allow visitors “to not only experience the beauty of the place, but also to feel what it is like to live the life of an offshore lighthouse keeper.”

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Undated U.S. Coast Guard photo

Full scale restoration began in 2017 and will continue for the next three to five years. Restoration projects completed so far in the fourth floor keepers quarters and third floor kitchen include plaster repair and painting of walls and ceilings, installation of historically accurate flooring material, replacement of custom wood trim for doors and windows, and installation of reproduction windows. Restoration work has also been completed in the stairwells up to the fifth floor. All restoration materials are purchased by Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society and are funded primarily through donations from individuals and businesses as well as some grants. To donate online please visit
rockofageslps.org/support-us or mail donations to PO Box 3531, Duluth, MN 55803.

Rock of Ages Lighthouse has a bright future thanks to the Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society and its supporters. Gerth reflected, “The history and future of this publicly owned place belongs to everyone. With the help of all those who love Isle Royale, Lake Superior, and its history, Rock of Ages will become a living lighthouse once again.”

Learn how to become involved at: rockofageslps.org or email rockofageslps@gmail.com for more information.

About the Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society: Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society is a 501c3 non-profit based in Duluth, MN. Founded in 2008 by current Director David Gerth, Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation
Society has been instrumental in the transfer of the Rock of Ages Lighthouse from the United States Coast Guard to Isle Royale National Park in 2015.

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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. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by 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 Jeremy at nelights@gmail.com.

News

Lighthouse Keeper Barney Crockett Thomas honored by USLHS with a gravesite marker

On August 18, 2018, the late Barney Crockett Thomas (1896-1987), keeper at several lighthouses in Virginia and Maryland, was honored with a dedication ceremony and the placement of a commemorative marker placed on his gravesite at the Fairview Lawn Cemetry in Onancock, Virginia. The ceremony was attended by 17 family members along with members of the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit 12-2, and Coast Guard personnel from the Cape Charles station.

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Tangier Sound Lighthouse, Virginia, where Barney Crockett Thomas served as keeper 1936-1942. Constructed in 1890 on a shoal extending south from Tangier Island, the lighthouse was removed in 1961. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Thomas and his wife Ella had two sons and four daughters. He started his lighthouse keeping career as a third assistant at the new Cape Henry Lighthouse in Virginia. He later served at seven other locations in Virginia and Maryland: Lower Cedar Point, Great Wicomico River, Solomons Lump, Ragged Point, Smith Point, Upper Cedar Point, and Tangier Sound. His longest stint (1936-42) was at the Tangier Sound Lighthouse. Following that, he joined the Coast Guard, retiring in 1950.

Thomas’s daughter, Violet Noda, spoke at the ceremony, and Coast Guard Auxiliarist played taps to honor Thomas.

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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. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by 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 Jeremy at nelights@gmail.com.