Lighthouses in Art · News · Society Members

Mystery at Eilean Mor Lighthouse, Scotland

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Coffin Road by Peter May

British author Peter May has written another thrilling murder mystery in which the Eilean Mor Lighthouse has a prominent role. The lighthouse is located on an island of the same name in the Flannan Isles off the west coast of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. In December of 1900 all three lightkeepers vanished without a trace. In the novel, titled Coffin Road, the main character in the novel regularly visits the island, supposedly writing a book.

For those who went on the lighthouse trip to the Outer Hebrides in 2015, trip leaders Chris and Janet Brookes introduced us to Peter May by giving everyone a copy of another murder mystery, The Blackhouse, so participants could get a sense of life in the Outer Hebrides.

Coffin Road was published in Great Britain in 2016 by Quercus, ISBN 978-1-78429-313-0.

Submitted by Dick Richardson, U.S. Lighthouse Society member, February 6, 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 candace@uslhs.org.

News · Society Members · Tours

Isle of Man Lighthouses

Douglas Head Lighthouse
Douglas Head Lighthouse, Isle of Man. Photo by Skip Sherwood

Last July Skip Sherwood led a U.S. Lighthouse Society tour through Wales and the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom. Skip wrote an article about this trip that was featured in the Northern Lighthouse Board‘s magazine The Journal (Christmas 2016).  The NLB has granted us permission to share it with you. Here is the article link: U.S. Lighthouse Society Tours: Isle of Man Lighthouses.

Skip Sherwood at Point Bonita Lighthouse, California
Skip Sherwood at Point Bonita Lighthouse, California

Skip has been volunteering for the U.S. Lighthouse Society since 2007. He and his wife, Mary Lee, have been responsible for developing and leading many lighthouse tours in addition to processing memberships and contributing to the ongoing development of the Society’s website and Passport Club. Skip oversees the Society’s increasingly popular Passport Program and its 19 regional volunteers. Through the program’s website and periodic newsletters, over 3,500 Club members are kept up to date on the availability of stamps at over 450 participating locations.

A big thank you to Skip and Mary Lee for all there wonderful work on behalf of the Society!

For more tour photos, visit http://uslhs.org/tours/photo-albums-new/wales-2016

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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 candace@uslhs.org.

Keepers · News · Research · Society Members

Presidential Appointments of Lighthouse Keepers

The earliest lighthouse keeper appointments in the new nation were approved by President Washington. The practice continued with Thomas Jefferson but as the number of lighthouses grew, keeper appointments became the responsibility of the Secretary of the Treasury.(The Treasury Department administered lighthouses from 1790 to 1901). There are some exceptions however. Apparently John and Rebecca Flaherty had some sort of connection to President John Quincy Adams and his wife Louisa, and did not hesitate to use it.

According to Women Who Kept the Lights: An Illustrated History of Female Lighthouse Keepers, Rebecca Flaherty wrote Mrs. Adams asking for her influence in seeking a keeper appointment at Thomas Point, Maryland, for her husband John, a War of 1812 veteran. Eventually in the spring of 1826 John received an appointment as keeper of Dry Tortugas Lighthouse in Florida. The Flahertys did not fare well at that isolated station and soon requested a switch with the keeper at Sand Key, a station nine miles from Key West. The request was granted by President Adams in the letter below.

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Letter dated January 18, 1827, from Stephen Pleasonton to President John Quincy Adams requesting his approval of the keeper appointments at Dry Tortugas and Sand Key Lighthouses, Florida. National Archives, Record Group 26, Entry 17I “Correspondence Relating to the Appointment of Lighthouse Keepers, 1801 -1852.”

As you can see, President Adams noted his approval directly on the letter, not an uncommon practice, although the presidents generally just “initialed” their approval.

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President Adam’s approval extracted from letter above.

I did not see this letter when researching Women Who Kept the Lights, but it came to light when gathering some material for U.S. Lighthouse Society member Neil Hurley, who researches Florida light keepers and is currently writing a book on the vessels and towers that have lit Carysfort Reef in the Florida Keys.

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2016 photo of Carysfort Reef Lighthouse showing both the old tower and its new replacement tower in the distance. Courtesy Neil Hurley.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, January 8, 2o17

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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 candace@uslhs.org.

 

 

News · Preservation · Society Members

Graves Lighthouse Restoration

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Dave Waller installs refurbished skylight. Photo courtesy Dave Waller

Two readers sent me the recent Boston Globe article on the preservation of The Graves Lighthouse, located nine miles offshore at the mouth of Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. The incredible restoration of this 113-foot tower is the vision of lifetime U.S. Lighthouse Society member Dave Waller, who purchased the property at public auction in 2013.

Installation of first-order lens panels into positions that will not interfere with the modern solar-powered optic. The panels are from various Chance Bros. lenses that were primarily used in Australia. Photo courtesy Dave Waller
Chance Bros. lens panels from various Australian lighthouses were installed into positions that will not interfere with the modern solar-powered optic. (Click on photo to see full story.) Photo courtesy Dave Waller

The U.S. Coast Guard maintains the modern optic as an active aid to navigation. The light’s original first-order lens manufactured by Barbier, Bernard and Turenne, Paris, is now part of the undisplayed collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

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Mike Sylvester cleans and points the granite tower. Photo courtesy of Dave Waller

The 1905 tower is constructed of granite quarried from Cape Ann, Massachusetts. The interior is lined with brick.

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Newly made authentic oak windows and mahogany handrails along with modern 24-volt electric lights brighten up the stairwells. Photo courtesy Dave Waller
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Nelson Metal Fabricators install a replacement copper smokestack based on the original 1903 plans. Photo courtesy of Dave Waller

Dangerous ledges and the lack of a dock make this lighthouse inaccessible to the general public; however, an extensive website was created to keep the public informed of the project.

Photos submitted by Dave Waller, January 3, 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 candace@uslhs.org.

 

Passport Program · Society Members

Metropolis Hope Light

Lighthouse Society members Rudy and Bev Bess recently submitted these images relating to the Metropolis Hope Light on the bank of the Ohio River in Metropolis, Illinois.

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The Metropolis Hope Light was erected in 2014. The tower is 30-feet tall and is equipped with an ML-155 Marine Lantern with a flashing white light. It is an official Illinois state tourism attraction. 2016 photo courtesy of Rudy Bess

The couple founded The Hope Light Foundation to fight cancer. According to their website, “The main purpose of the lighthouse is to promote early cancer detection and navigate people to various resources that identify cancer signs and symptoms and where to go for help.  If detected early, cancer could be diagnosed and treated with hope for survivorship and an eventual cure.”

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Courtesy Rudy Bess

Metropolis Hope Light is a member of the U.S. Lighthouse Society Passport Program. You can acquire this stamp at the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce office that is across the street from the Superman Statue.

Rudy and Bev Bess are long-time lighthouse enthusiasts and have photographed over 450 lights in the U.S. and Canada, from Nova Scotia to Key West to Padre Island Texas, from San Diego to British Columbia, all the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain. You can see their photos at http://www.hlfoto.com.
Courtesy Rudy Bess
Courtesy Rudy Bess

Based on submission from Rudy Bess, December 8, 2016

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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 candace@uslhs.org.

Lightships · News · Society Members

Grave Markers for Lighthouse Service Veterans

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Grave site of George Putnam, Lighthouse Service Commissioner. Maple Hill Cemetery, Dorset Vermont. Photo by Ron Janard, 2015

U.S. Lighthouse Society member Ron Janard sent these photos of graves with special U.S. Lighthouse Service grave markers. Ron writes that his main interest is lightships and he started looking for any information he could find about the 1934 sinking of the Lightship NANTUCKET (LV-117) when struck by HMS OLYMPIC. He found crew addresses in old articles and visited their residences, mostly in New Bedford. Through The Keeper’s Log or Lighthouse Digest, he found names of the cemeteries where some of the crew were buried. “It was disheartening to see their stones with no recognition of their USLHS Service. . . . I started putting markers on the [graves of] special individuals that I could find, to honor them, the best I could.”

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Alfedo Monteiro, New Bedford Massachusetts. Alfredo, lost his life, as a crewman of the Lightship NANTUCKET (LV-117), when the vessel was rammed and sunk, by HMS OLYMPIC in 1934. Photo by Ron Janard 2015
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Grave of Master Braithewaite who was in charge of the Lightship NANTUCKET (LV-117) in 1934, when the HMS OLYMPIC rammed it. Grave is located in Cambridge Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo by Ron Janard, 2015.

These grave markers are a relatively new way of honoring former keepers, crew, and other employees of the Lighthouse Service. Tim Harrison, editor of Lighthouse Digest, has been honoring Maine lighthouse keepers with grave markers and special ceremonies over the past five years. Tim started the Lighthouse Digest USLHS Keepers’ Grave Marker Program so that folks can honor these individuals all over the United States. Markers for both the U.S. Lighthouse and Lifesavings Services can be ordered online at http://www.uslifesavingmarker.com.

In addition to searching out graves of notable lighthouse personnel, Jon has been active in the USCG Lightship Sailors Association since 2008. He maintains a Facebook page entitled “Lightship Alley.”

Thanks to Society Member Ron Janard for sharing these photos. Submitted December 10, 2016

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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 candace@uslhs.org.