The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 (NHLPA) amends the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and allows federal agencies, local/state governments, and nonprofit organizations to apply for lighthouses deemed excess by the federal government. If no suitable applicant is found through a stewardship transfer, the lighthouse goes to auction and is given to the highest bidder where a private individual or organization assumes responsibility of the lighthouse. Since the lighthouses are still active aids to navigation, the U.S. Coast Guard still maintains the light. With the automation of the lights in the twentieth century, it was necessary for new lighthouse keepers to maintain the buildings associated with historic light stations. Legislation, such as the Maine Lights Program and the NHLPA, was put into place to find potential stewards. This program is a joint effort between the U.S. Coast Guard, General Services Administration, and the National Park Service to ensure the protection of historic light stations so future generations can enjoy these historic landmarks along America’s coastlines.
In order to learn more about the new lighthouse keepers, I am conducting a survey of owners of lighthouses that have been conveyed through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 in order to better understand the management process, renovations undertaken, and the challenges and rewards of ownership. I am also looking at the different types of lighthouses conveyed, what year they were constructed and architectural features. The responses and data submitted through this survey will be used in my thesis and will become a valuable tool in my study. The survey should take no more than fifteen minutes of your time.
Lighthouses have always been tourist attractions. At some point keepers were instructed to track the number of visitors to their stations. This may have been when the practice of guests signing a register started.
Jennifer Niemi, program manager at Split Rock Lighthouse, a state historic site maintained by the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS), submits the following query to other lighthouse stewards:
Our site has been gathering DATE, NAME, CITY, STATE & ZIP literally forever (starting with the USLHS, then Coast Guard & now MNHS) and then the filled registries get stored to never be looked upon again. We are trying to figure out if we can use the information for something useful or if we should just scrap the whole practice, as in its current state it’s quite useless information. The only real reason for doing it is because it has been done historically at the site.
Jennifer would like lighthouse stewards to answer the following questions:
Do you use guest registers for visitors to sign in where they are from?
If so, what do you ask them to share (name, city, zip, etc.)?
And what do you do with that information?
Please submit your responses directly to Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will prepare a summary for a followup post.
Based on query submitted by Jennifer Niemi on January 9, 2017.
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