News · Preservation

Gasparilla Island Lighthouse brought back to life

‘The best view on the island’ shines after a $1.8 million restoration project.

As many of you know, Gasparilla Island, Florida, has two lighthouses. The original Port Boca Grande Lighthouse, established in 1890, is now a museum and educational facility. The second lighthouse, established as a rear range in 1927, has undergone a major restoration.

Thanks to Toni C. Collins, the Society’s Passport Ambassador for Florida West Coast-Alabama-Mississippi, for supplying the recent January 17, 2018, news article from the Venice Herald Tribune, describing the tremendous work and fundraising done by the Barrier Island Parks Society following two hurricanes.  She thinks these folks deserve some publicity for their efforts!

Link to article: Gasparilla Island Lighthouse brought back to life

Submitted January 28, 2018

 

Affiliates · News · Preservation

Anclote Key Lighthouse Reopens to Visitors

Anclote Key FL 2018 reopening Ted Cornell Ron Ecker Chris Belcher Dan Hogan (3)
Anclote Key Lighthouse, near Tarpon Springs, Florida, is reopened on January 27, 2018, with the help of Ted Cornell (Anclote Key State Park), Ron Ecker (FLA), Chris Belcher (FLA), and Dan Hogan (Friends of Anclote Key State Park and Lighthouse)

According to the Florida Lighthouse Association (FLA) website, “the Anclote Key Lighthouse has been closed to the public for about three years due to contaminated soil around the tower. With the help of a grant from FLA, the Friends of Anclote Key State Park and Lighthouse have installed a white picket fence along the walkway, thus allowing visitors get to the Lighthouse and climb the tower. 

The Anclote Key Lighthouse, a cast-iron structure, was fully funded by Congress in 1887, with assembly commencing in June of 1887 when the prefabricated tower arrived from the north. The light was lit for the first time on September 15, 1887 by keeper James Gardner. The lighthouse was automated by the Coast Guard in 1952, and since it was no longer manned, vandals did extensive damage; by 1984 the lighthouse was inoperative and discontinued by the Coast Guard.  In January 2003 a massive 1.5 million dollar restoration project began, culminating in a relighting ceremony on September 13, 2003.

Since the original 3rd order Fresnel lens was nowhere to be found, a modern rotating optic was placed in the lantern room; however, the rotating optic wasn’t bright enough or good enough.  So the restoration project took another step forward and commissioned Enberg Mold and Tools in Jacksonville to make a replica acrylic lens.  They met the challenge and in November 2004, a smaller replica 4th order lens was installed in the tower.  In addition, a permanent residence has been completed for the park ranger, who now resides on the island.   Anclote Key is truly a “shining example” of lighthouse restoration at its finest.”

 

The Florida Lighthouse Association visited and climbed Anclote Key Lighthouse as part of their winter meeting. Visit Friends of Anclote Key State Park & Lighthouse for more information on their preservation of the lighthouse.

The U.S. Lighthouse Society will be visiting Anclote Key as part of their Gulf Coast tour.

Photos by Candace Clifford; submitted January 27, 2018

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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.

Kate's Corner · Lighthouse Construction · News

KATE’S CORNER #17

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef.

Robbins Reef marks a hazardous reef in New York Bay so does not need to be seen at a great distance. According to the 1892 Light List, my light is 58 feet above sea level. Coastal lights need to be seen from great distances so the light’s focal plane must be at a higher elevation.

Several light stations on the northeastern coast were located to take advantage of naturally high elevations, such as Block Island Southeast Lighthouse, Rhode Island, and Monhegan Island Lighthouse, Maine. On the west coast some lighthouses tended to be short towers built on sea cliffs high enough to project the light many miles at sea.

Block Island SE 2011 by JCC (14) copy
Block Island Southeast, Rhode Island. Its light is 204 feet above sea level. Image by Candace Clifford, 2011

Ironically, the low clouds so characteristic of the west coast caused some station sites at high elevations to be moved to lower altitudes with taller towers in order to get the light below the low cloud levels, but high enough to be visible to ships at sea. The first Point Loma Lighthouse (1855), California, tower was only 40 feet tall but was located on a bluff providing a focal plane of 462 feet above the water. It was replaced in 1891 by a 70-foot-high tower built at the base of the bluff with a focal plane of 88 feet above the water.

Point Loma CA 1859 print NA 26-LG-65-3-ac copy
Old Point Loma lighthouse, California. Detail from a 1859 print from the National Archives.

Lighthouses were built on land, in the water, on islands, on top of ledges and cliffs, on breakwaters and piers, on caissons, and at least five are on fort walls. Some light towers are standalone structures, while others are attached or integral to the keeper’s quarters or fog signal building. Lighthouses were built from a variety of materials including wood, stone, brick, reinforced concrete, iron, steel, and even aluminum and fiberglass.

In addition to a light tower, a completely equipped light station on the mainland might consist of a keepers’ quarters, oil house, fog-signal building, workshop, water supply (generally a cistern), privy, landing wharf, boathouse and ways, barn, roads, walks, and fences. Some regions required special structures to provide access to the light tower. The elevated walkway or catwalk found on some of the piers of the Great Lakes was necessary for the keeper to get to the pierhead light during severe storms when waves washed over the pier or ice made it too dangerous to walk on the pier. Stations that retain most of their supporting structures exhibit a high level of historic integrity.

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker copyI’m gleaning all these wonderful descriptions of lighthouse architecture from The Historic Lighthouse Preservation Handbook.

Submitted January 21, 2018

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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

Send Us Your Best “Lighthouse in Weather” Image

Thanks to all the Society photographers who submitted images for the 2018 Lighthouse Society Calendar contest! Given the response to and enthusiasm for the 2017 contest and 2018 calendar, the Society is pleased to announce that we are repeating the contest (with a few adjustments) in 2018 to make a 2019 calendar. This year we are offering seven categories for submissions, spread out over the next six months, using an online submissions system.

Baileys Harbor Upper Range, Wisconsin, by Sue Steckart Jarosh

The first submission category is WEATHER. So get out those cameras and venture outside to capture your favorite lighthouse in its winter landscape or dig out your favorite fog or storm photo from years past. The deadline for submitting your WEATHER image is February 28, 2018.

Each member can submit one image per category. Each category will have a separate submissions form.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Participating photographers must be active members of the U.S. Lighthouse Society. (Renew or join at uslhs.org/membership.)
  • Digital submissions only.
  • Submission Format: Please submit your image as a JPG or TIF, that is at least 8 1/2 by 11-inches, and at a minimum of 300 dpi. Smaller images are not suitable for the final printed product.
  • File Name: Include “lighthouse name,” “state,” “year taken,” and “photographer name” in the file name of your photo.  For example: “Jones Point VA 2017 by Candace Clifford”
  • Submit only photos that you have taken.
  • Photos must be unrestricted. Unless you instruct the Society otherwise, by submitting images to this project, you are giving your permission for the Society to use your image in social media and printed publications. You may specify on the submission form whether or not it can be included in the Society’s digital archive.
  • Some preference will be given to images with a landscape orientation. It is permissible to create a file in a landscape orientation using two portrait images. (Do not send two images; combine the images into one before submitting.)
  • Photographers 17 years old or younger should provide the name of a parent or guardian on the submission form.

Submission Categories (all photos should relate to light stations, aids to navigation, lightships, or USCG facilities)

  1. Weather (submission starts January 20, ends February 28)
  2. Reflection or Unusual Perspective (submission starts February 15, ends March 30)
  3. Sunrise / Sunset (submission starts March 15, ends April 30)
  4. Technology (submission starts April 15, ends May 30)
  5. Detail or Abstract (submission starts May 15, ends June 30)
  6. Landscape (submission starts June 15, ends July 31)
  7. Preservation Project or Special Event (submission starts July 15, ends August 30)

Finalists will be chosen by a review panel for each category. Images for the printed calendar will be selected from the finalists. Each finalist will receive a free calendar. Calendars will be available for purchase in the Keeper’s Locker and should be distributed in late October 2018.

submit

Submitted by Candace Clifford, 01/20/2018

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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.

Lighthouse Construction · News · Research · Society Members

Lynn and Dave Waller Research Collection for The Graves Lighthouse

Society members Lynn and Dave Waller recently donated their National Archives research findings for the Graves Light Station, Massachusetts, to the Society Archives. Society Director Jeff Gales is delighted with the gift. “Making lighthouse research widely available is the intent of the new Catalog and such an endeavor would not be possible without generous donations such as this.”

This collection consists primarily of U.S. Light-House Board and U.S. Bureau of Lighthouse correspondence and photos available in the National Archives, Washington, D.C. After acquiring the light station in 2013, Dave Waller hired Candace Clifford (now the Society’s historian) to find and copy any National Archives documents relating to the station as part of their overall restoration effort.

One item in the collection is an album of photos pertaining to the station’s 1903-1904 construction. Since the Catalog is not yet available online, you can access the album at The Graves MA 1903-1905 Construction Album NA RG 26 LG 7-49 LDW (lores).)

Graves MA 40th course NA RG 26 LG 7-49
The 40th course of the Graves Lighthouse was laid in 1904. (Note the numbers marked on each stone.) Image part of National Archives photo album 26-LG-7-49 from the Lynn and Dave Waller collection
Stonework completed to 40th course. National Archives image courtesy Lynn and Dave Waller collection

On January 10, Dave reported that he “just got back from the light after dropping off the first work crew of 2018. [The tower is] spectacular looking in the winter light. Today we are finishing up the central heating system and varnishing the gorgeous quarter swan oak wainscoting in the watch room. We started the oil house refurb[ishment] in the fall, but switched to interior work as winter set in.”

Graves MA 2018 oil house LDW lores
Oil house under restoration.  2018 photo courtesy Dave Waller

For more information on the restoration visit The Graves Light Station website.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, January 12, 2018

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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.

International Lighthouses · Keepers · News

Happy New Year from Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse

Maatsuyker Island, Tasmania, population 2. Photo by Taylor

Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse Keepers Taylor and Jesse sent along these photos of the light station they are keeping on Maatsuyker Island, Tasmania (Australia). They are on this isolated island for six months taking care of the station. In addition to the tower, there are three large houses on Maatsuyker, all built in 1890/1891. There are a host of outbuildings too. They maintain and repair everything as needed. The lighthouse was a first-order light and the lens is still in place although it has been decommissioned and replaced by a modern light in a different location.

Approaching weather. The couple reports they have been buffeted by gale force winds for two weeks straight in the windiest place in Australia. Photo by Taylor

The couple are really enjoying their light-keeping experience and seeking in other care-taking opportunities/employment around the world. They have a website and an instagram page for those who want to follow their adventures.

Submitted by Jesse Siebler, December 31, 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.

Kate's Corner · Lighthouse Construction · News

KATE’S CORNER #16

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef.

There were a lot of locations where the heavy tall towers I talked about earlier couldn’t be built. If the bottom was muddy or sandy, as in  the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River delta, and the coral reefs of the Florida Keys, the development of newer technology using screwpile, caisson, and skeletal tower lighthouse construction was essential to adequately warn navigators of the shoals and currents offshore.

Foundation Screw pile
Screwpile lighthouses, built on a foundation of pilings, had a screw-like flange fastened to the bottom of the pile and wound like a screw into the soft bottom.  U.S. Light-House Board drawing in Society Archives

Screwpile lighthouses were either low spider-like foundations for rivers, bays, and sounds, or tall offshore coastal towers. Perhaps as many as 100 spider-like screwpile lighthouses were built throughout the Carolina sounds, the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, along the Gulf of Mexico, and one even at Maumee Bay (1855) on Lake Erie in Ohio. Most had wooden keeper’s dwellings, although Seven Foot Knoll in Maryland had a cast iron dwelling.

Thomas Point Shoal 2
Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse (1875), Maryland, the oldest extant, unmoved, spider-like screwpile lighthouse in the United States was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1999. It has been under restoration as a museum by the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, which provides public tours.  Photo by Society Member John J. Young, 2016
Gasparilla Island FL November 2016 - Sharon Jones copy
Gasparilla Rear Range in Florida served as the Delaware Breakwater Rear Range before it was moved to Florida. Photo showing 2016 restoration by Society Member Sharon Jones.

Onshore skeletal towers were built of cast iron and were typically constructed on concrete foundations. Manitou Island Lighthouse (1861) and Whitefish Point Lighthouse (1861), Michigan, both built from the same plan, are the earliest onshore skeletal towers built in the United States. Like the cast-iron-plate tower, skeletal towers could be dismantled and moved.

Offshore skeletal towers were also built of cast iron and typically constructed with straight or screwpile foundations. A few offshore screwpile skeletal tower lighthouses built on coral reefs used foot plates or disks to help disperse the weight of the tower. Examples in the Florida Keys include Carysfort Reef Lighthouse (1852), Fowey Rocks Lighthouse (1878), and American Shoal Lighthouse (1880).

Iron Pile Light Houses Sand Key and Carysfort Reef NA RG 26 (92) copy
The first of the tall skeletal screwpile coastal towers in the United States was Carysfort Reef Lighthouse (1852), Florida, built by engineer George Meade, which is still extant.  National Archives drawing from the Society Archives

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker copyAll this interesting information is from the National Park Service Maritime Heritage Program, Historic Lighthouse Preservation Handbook, released in August 1997, created through a cooperative partnership between the National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program, and U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Submitted December 28, 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.