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

Funding Sources · News · Preservation

Society Announces 2017 Preservation Grant Recipients

Emergency shoring of island lighthouses in Maine and Massachusetts, a new way into a lighthouse in New York, and a first step for the rescue of a lighthouse in Michigan will happen because of grants made by the United States Lighthouse Society in the third year of its Lighthouse Preservation Grants Program.

A total of $20,000 was awarded this year, drawing on the interest from a still-growing investment fund that the Society has committed to increase through the years so that more and larger preservation grants can be made.

Isle au Haut ME 1991 NPS HABS ME-212-4 copy
1991 photo of Point Robinson from Historic American Building Survey, ME-212

The largest single grant, of $8,500, will help a preservation group on Isle au Haut, Maine, replace badly corroded support beams that imperil the lantern of the Point Robinson (Isle au Haut) Lighthouse. Friends of the Isle au Haut Lighthouse will use the USLHS grant to install galvanized steel beams in place of two failing beams under the watch room and lantern floors. The project will relieve some of the structural stresses that have caused tower cracks, and will serve as the needed first step in a longer effort to restore the brick tower and its granite base.

A $7,000 grant will help the experienced Thacher Island Association keep the Cape Ann Light Station’s South Tower from suffering the same fate as the North Tower, which had granite pieces fall from its gallery deck last year due to rust-jacking between the iron rails and the tower stone. Stainless steel bands will be installed, as unobtrusively as possible, around the original stone bands circling the gallery and lantern decks. The full cost of the work will be $17,900, and longer-term plans call for replacing the anchor elements of the iron rails with stainless steel fittings to curtail the stone-fracturing problems.

Cape Ann MA 2005 Sept. 24th Mike & Carol McKinney copy
2005 photo of Thacher Island courtesy Mike and Ann McKinney

At Keweenaw Waterway Lower Entrance Light in Michigan a new non-profit group that took ownership through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act will use a $3,500 USLHS grant to help fund a $12,000 condition assessment report, a needed first look at the problems of the light and a document essential to planning its restoration. The USLHS grants program considers such professional assessments an extremely important and solid investment in any lighthouse restoration project. The Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program will provide a 2-to-1 matching grant toward the Keweenaw Waterway Lighthouse Conservancy project.

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Keweenaw Waterway Lower Entrance Lighthouse. Photo by Nathan Miller

Finally, a $1,000 assist will go to the Huntington Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society, as not only a small measure of financial help, but an expression of support for the Long Island group and its efforts. The lighthouse has an exterior railing system that needs a combination of restoration and replacement, but the USLHS grant will help with a needed watch-deck-level door replacement.

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Huntington (Lloyd Harbor) Lighthouse. 2009 photo by George Doerner

The grant committee’s review of 30 first-round applications, and its detailed study of six selected finalists, were stark reminders both of the problems facing America’s lighthouses and the deep financial needs of the preservation groups trying to save them. While funds now are still too limited to meet all those needs, or even to fund every selected project at the full amount requested, the United States Lighthouse Society remains committed to using all the available money generated by fund investments to provide whatever help it can now – while striving still to build the fund through donations so more projects can be funded in the future.

Previous cycles saw $25,000 in competitive grants awarded last year, and $21,000 awarded in the 2015 launch of the program. Assistance was provided to lighthouse groups from Florida to Alaska, on all four coasts. In addition, the program worked closely with corporate partners Land’s End and Sea Pak to provide targeted assistance to mutually selected lighthouse projects; Sea Pak provided a $10,000 grant for the Morris Island Lighthouse last year, while Land’s End provided $10,000 to Alcatraz Lighthouse in 2015 and a significant commitment, starting last year, to support restoration of the Boston Lighthouse.

The United States Lighthouse Society’s program is the first formal and continuing aid program with an open application process funded within the lighthouse preservation community itself. At this point the program is open only to not-for-profit groups, with a maximum grant amount of $10,000. As the dedicated preservation fund grows, more grant money will be made available for future projects. Information on donating to the fund or applying for future grants may be found on the Society’s website.

Submitted by Mike Vogel, U.S. Lighthouse Society Board Member, August 2, 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

Funding Sources · News · Preservation

National Park Service awards more than $1.7 million in Maritime Heritage Grants

Block Island SE 2011 by JCC (8) copy
Block Island Southeast Lighthouse, RI, received a $105,000 grant for restoration of the tower’s cast iron components. Photo by Candace Clifford, 2011

WASHINGTON – The National Park Service announced today the apportionment of $1,752,073 for 27 maritime heritage grants to applicants in 13 states and the District of Columbia. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), the National Park Service awarded grants for projects that teach about and preserve sites and objects related to our nation’s maritime history.

“Protecting our nation’s maritime history is an important part of the National Park Service’s mission to share America’s story,” said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds. “These grants will support efforts to conserve important parts of our maritime history and educate students of all ages.”

The National Maritime Heritage Program Grant awards are made possible through a partnership between the two federal agencies, which both share a commitment to maritime heritage preservation and education. They are funded through recycling of vessels from the MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet. The grant program supports a broad range of maritime education and preservation projects, without expending tax dollars, while ensuring that the vessels are dismantled in an environmentally sound manner.

The National Park Service will administer these projects as direct grants to State Historic Preservation Offices, who will disburse funds to applicants. The recipients of the National Maritime Heritage grants are below. For more information about the grants and the Maritime Heritage Program, please visit

National Maritime Heritage Program Grant Recipients

Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation Educational Programs Interpreting Naval and Maritime History Through STEM $15,000
Channel Islands Maritime Museum The Living Brotherhood of the Tomol: Chumash Paddlers’ Active Legacy $35,562
Friends of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum Creating an Interpretive Master Plan for the tugboat Angels Gate  $40,000
Maritime Museum Association of San Diego Preservation of the Steam Ferry Berkeley $200,000
University of Southern California Maritime Discoveries along the California Coast $49,968
Total $340,530


Mystic Seaport Museum From Clippers to Containers $46,659
Sound Waters Maritime History Sails on Long Island Sound $43,500
University of Connecticut Creating a Blue Heritage Trail for Southeast Connecticut $22,780
Total $112,939

District of Columbia

Naval Historical Foundation Naval Documents of the American Revolution Digitization Project $49,700
Total $49,700


Diving With a Purpose Maritime Archaeology Educational Field Program II $50,000
University of Florida The Florida Shellfish Trail Website and Signage $34,332
University of West Florida Historical Trust The Pensacola Maritime Mural Gallery  $26,630
Total $110,962


Dubuque County Historical Society Lead-Based Paint Abatement of William M. Black $66,999
Total $66,999


Museum of Science and Industry Chicago U-505 Submarine Preservation Accessibility Expansion Project $82,277
Total $82,277


Atlantic Challenge Foundation The Apprenticeshop: Maritime Skills Program $50,000
Maine Maritime Museum Educational Exhibit about the Fresnel Lens and the Lighthouse Lantern  $42,141
Total $92,141


Living Classrooms US Coast Guard Taney Hull Preservation Project $152,389
Total $152,389


USS Constitution Museum USS Constitution in Context: Enhancing Visitor Experience Online and Onsite $50,000
Total $50,000

New York

South Street Seaport Museum 1930 Tug W.O. Decker: Preservation of Deck and Certificate of Inspection $200,000
Stephen B Luce Library Research Foundation Telling the Stories of Sailors’ Snug Harbor $50,000
Whaling Museum Society Digitizing and Disseminating Whaling Collection Online $49,557
Total  $299,557


Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory Enhancing Awareness and Educational Opportunities for Historic Lake Erie Lighthouses $18,540
Total $18,540


Independence Seaport Museum Cruiser Olympia Hull Repairs and Assessment Surveys $107,689
Total  $107,689

Rhode Island

South East Lighthouse Foundation Southeast Lighthouse Tower Cast Iron Restoration, Block Island $105,000
Total $105,000


The Mariners’ Museum Expanding Analysis Capabilities for USS Monitor Conservation and Interpretation $83,350
Watermens Museum Yorktown Shipwrecks Education Program $30,000
Nauticus Foundation Battleship Wisconsin Engineering Project: Life in the Engine Room $50,000
Total $163,350

Total = $1,752,073

Submitted by Tom Crosson, July 7, 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

News · Preservation

Society Makes Final Assessment of Alcatraz Light Station

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The Assessment Team with their Coast Guard colleagues off Alcatraz Island.

The U.S. Lighthouse Society (USLHS) conducted its third assessment visit to Alcatraz Lighthouse on May 25, 2017. The team consisted of Society vice president Henry Gonzalez, chair of the Alcatraz Light Station Preservation Committee Ralph Eshelman, professional engineer Mat Daw, and historic preservation architect Tom McCracken.

USLHS members may recall that in 2015, the Society formed a partnership with the National Park Service and U.S. Coast Guard to conduct a historic structure report as a first step toward the preservation of Alcatraz Light Station. Funding for this work was provided by Lands’ End, Inc.

Left to right: Marcus Koenen, National Park Service; Federica Marchionni, former Executive Officer, Lands’ End, Inc.; Jeff Gales, Executive Director, United States Lighthouse Society, and Captain Nelson, United States Coast Guard; ceremony initiating the Alcatraz Light Station Preservation Project, October 5, 2015.

The historic structure report is nearly finished and will include recommendations for preservation treatment. The Society is working with the NPS and USCG to further our collaborative relationship and is poised to begin fundraising for the estimated two to three million dollars required to preserve and maintain the Alcatraz Light Station for generations to come. We will keep you posted on our progress.

When the Council of American Maritime Museums, of which USLHS is a member, decided to hold their annual meeting in San Francisco, it seemed only appropriate to take advantage of this opportunity to give a presentation titled “Partners in Preservation: Alcatraz Light Station.” The presentation on April 20, 2017, consisted of speakers from USLHS, NPS and USCG. Left to right: Ralph Eshelman (USLHS), Candace Clifford (USLHS), John Cantwell (NPS), Stephen Haller (NPS), Colleen Ryan (USCG), Wayne Wheeler, (USLHS), Tyrone Conner (USCG), Jason Hagin (NPS)

NOTE: The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Submitted by Ralph Eshelman, USLHS board member and chair of the Alcatraz Light Station Preservation Committee, 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

News · Preservation

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Restoration Completed with Re-Lighting Celebration

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The lantern was repaired, cleaned, and painted as part of the recent restoration. Photo courtesy of Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum

With generous support from the community and a number of grants, the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse restoration in Jupiter Inlet, Florida, was completed this week. The lighthouse will once again shine out to sea on Friday evening, June 2nd during a special Re-lighting Celebration thanking supporters who have donated to the preservation project. The tower will reopen for lighthouse climbs on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

With the light extinguished by special permission from the US Coast Guard, an experienced team of lighthouse preservationist began tackling the hard work of restoring the icon to top condition. The project began with protective encapsulating of the first-order Fresnel lens before 8 people put up the OSHA approved scaffolding system in 2 days to gain full access to the roof.

The team consisted of historic architect Ken Smith from Ken Smith Architects in Jacksonville, lens conservationist Joe Cocking from Lighthouse Lamp Shop, metalsmith expert Alex Klahm from Architectural Metal and Design and Anthony Houllis from Razorback LLC in Tarpon Springs. Their collective resumes of over 50 lighthouses includes notables such as Yaquina Head, OR; Ocracoke Island, NC; and Gasparilla Island (Boca Grande), FL.

The meticulous restoration process included a four-coat system that began with careful removal of paint and rust atop the tower. The lantern was striped to bare metal, and then repairs to the roof plates, seams and cupola were made. At $500 per gallon, the coats of long-lasting, high grade black paint and roof repairs are expected to last at least another 20 years or more with minor maintenance. Other repairs included painting the underside of the gallery deck and replacing the wedges, painting the exterior of the lighthouse just under the gallery, and applying a full exterior metal coating to the lens room deck, handrails, and gallery deck.

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Work underway beneath the gallery deck. Photo courtesy of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum

Alex Klahm and Anthony Houllis explained that even after all their projects, they still get butterflies in their stomachs when they hook up their safety gear and get on top of the lighthouse tower roof. “We have to take our time and purposefully plant our feet in the right position to do the work,” explains Klahm. “Everyone is afraid of falling,” smiles Klahm, “but you focus on your work and not on the height.” Safety is always a top concern and the crew conducted continual safety meetings. “Anyone can stop something that they think is wrong–right away,” comments Klahm. Any issues or problems were addressed immediately by the crew.

Houllis contributed, “We care about lighthouses and do our best job to gain a reputation for top quality. We take pride in doing great work.” One of the things that the team thought was especially unique about Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse is that it was built on a parabolic sand dune and not on flat land like many other Florida Lighthouses. “The guys who built the Lighthouse were like NASA–they were doing really hard things and the feeling of accomplishment really belonged to them. We just repair it,” says Klahm.

A special Re-Light the Light Celebration is planned for Friday night, June 2, 2017, at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. The evening is by invitation only and being held on the Lighthouse Deck as a “thank you” to donors to the Lighthouse Restoration Fund. Re-Light the Light Celebration is supported by Oceana Coffee in Tequesta and The Fresh Market in Jupiter.

Regular climbing tours of the Lighthouse resume on Saturday, June 3rd and regular admission rates apply. Visitors will be able to view the new Keeper’s Workshop exhibit–Keeping the Light at Jupiter Inlet: Adventures in the Lives of Lighthouse Keepers.

The Loxahatchee River Historical Society, the nonprofit that operates the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, has been awarded grants and donations towards the $152,000 project. These include $40,000 from the Bureau of Land Management, $30,000 grant from the Florida Lighthouse Association, $25,400 from the Loxahatchee Guild, $22,000 from the Town of Jupiter $35,210 from individual donation and foundations.

The Historical Society appreciates support from the community for the continual maintenance of the 1860 Lighthouse. To help contribute to our mission, you can become a Lighthouse Member or donate securely online at For further information, contact Belle Forino, Development Director at 561-747-8380 x107.

Submitted by Kathleen Glover, Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, May 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 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

Event · News · Preservation

Hooper Strait Marks 50 Years at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

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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.

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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

Event · Lifesaving Service · News · Preservation

Restoration of Amagansett Life-Saving Station Now Complete

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.

Courtesy of David Lys, ALSCGS
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,

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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