Education · Kate's Corner · News

KATE’S CORNER #5

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef on the edge of New York Harbor.

Have you crossed a bridge or ridden on a highway for which you paid a toll? That money collected helped pay the cost of building that bridge or highway.

Tolls paid by ship owners helped build the first lighthouse in the American colonies in 1716. “By virtue of an Act of Assembly in the First Year of His Majesty’s Reign, For Building & Maintaining a Light House upon the Great Brewster (called Beacon-Island) at the entrance to the Harbour of Boston, in order to prevent loss of Lives & estates of His Majesty’s Subjects: the said Light House has been built; And on Fryday last . . . the Light was kindled, which will be very useful for all Vessels going out and coming in the Harbour of Boston, or any other harbours to the Massachusetts Bay, for which all Masters shall pay to the receiver of Impost, One Pen[n]y per Ton Inwards, and another Peny Outwards, except Coasters, who are to pay Two Shillings each, at the clearance Out. And all Fishing Vessels, Wood Sloops, etc., Five Shillings each by the Year.”

Boston by JCC
Boston Harbor Light Station. Photo by Candace Clifford

Twelve lighthouses were built in the colonies before independence, six of them in Massachusetts:

Boston Light 1716, Massachusetts
Brant Point Light 1748, Massachusetts
Beavertail Light 1749, Rhode Island
New London Light 1760, Connecticut
Sandy Hook Light 1764, New Jersey
Cape Henlopen Light 1767, Delaware
Charleston (Morris Island) Light 1767, South Carolina
Plymouth Light 1768, Massachusetts
Portsmouth Light 1771, New Hampshire
Cape Ann Light 1771, Massachusetts
Nantucket (Great Point) Light 1784, Massachusetts
Newburyport Light 1788, Massachusetts

Each of the 12 colonial lighthouses was financed by the colony in which it was located.

The new Congress of the United States, however, decreed “That all expenses which shall accrue from and after the 15th day of August 1789, in the necessary support, maintenance and repairs of all lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers erected, placed, or sunk before the passing of this Act, at the entrance of, or within any bay, inlet, harbor, or port of the United States, for rendering the navigation thereof easy and safe, shall be defrayed out of the treasury of the United States . . ..”

Shipping must have been really important in those days for the new Congress to assume responsibility for all aids to navigation.

“The states, however, wary of a central government, dragged their heels and it wasn’t until 1797 (eight years after passage of the Act) that all the colonial lighthouses were turned over to the fledgling government.” (Isn’t it wonderful, the stuff you can find on the Society’s website?)

Information from Boston News-Letter, September 17, 1716; Holland, Ross, America’s Lighthouses; “History of the Administration of the Lighthouses in America” by Wayne Wheeler

Submitted July 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 candace@uslhs.org.

News · photography · Society Members

Calendar to Highlight Society Member Photographs

Cedar Island NY 2015 by Michael Leahy
Michael Leahy captured this entry taken at Cedar Island Lighthouse, New York, in 2015. He entered it in the “Unusual Perspective” category.

Entries have started to come in for the 2018 Lighthouse Society Calendar. We have received entries for 9 of the 12 categories. Nothing for the “Reflection” category or the Kid’s categories. If you have a young photographer in your family, consider upgrading to the Society’s family membership for an additional $10. We want to get young people interested in lighthouses!

Boston Harbor At The Beauty Shop lores 2014 by Bruce Wilbur
Bruce Wilbur’s “At the Beauty Shop” shows Boston Harbor’s 2014 restoration. This was entered under the “Preservation Project / Special Event” category.

Here are the 12 categories (one for each month):

o   Black and white (this can be a computer generated conversion from color)

o   Detail

o   Interior

o   Kid’s perspective (photographers 9 and younger)

o   Older kid’s perspective (10 – 15 years old)

o   Landscape

o   Preservation project or special event

o   Reflection

o   Sunrise / sunset

o   Technology (lens, fog signal, etc.)

o   Unusual angle or perspective

o   Weather (snow, storms, lightning, etc.)

Concord Point MD 2016 double rainbow by Bethany Baker
Bethany Baker’s double rainbow at Concord Point Lighthouse, MD, is for the “Weather” category.
Absecon NJ by ANi Berberian
For the “Interior” category, here is Ani Berberian’s staircase at Absecon Lighthouse, NJ.

Submission guidelines:

  • Participating photographers must be current members of the U.S. Lighthouse Society. Goto <uslhs.org/membership> to join.
  • Digital submissions only. Submit image files to <candace@uslhs.org>. Please create low resolution jpg files around 8 by 6 inches at 72 dpi. (If chosen for the calendar, we will need an 8 by 10 inch image at a minimum of 300 dpi. Unfortunately, smaller images cannot be used for the final printed product.) 
  • Include photographer name, lighthouse name, state, year taken, and submission category in the file name of your photo.  
  • Members may submit one photo per category. Kids may submit up to three photos in their categories. Submit only photos that you have taken.
  • Photos should 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 in printed publications. You also are agreeing that your image will become part of the Society’s digital archive.
  • Submission deadline is September 15, 2017.
BallentineGasparillaFlorida2012black&amp;white72
Grace Ballentine’s “Black and White” entry was taken at Gasparilla Lighthouse, Florida, in 2012.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, July 25, 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.

 

Education · Kate's Corner

Kate’s Corner #4

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef at the edge of New York Harbor.

When my man John was assistant keeper at Sandy Hook Light in New Jersey, he was proud of the fact that it was the oldest continually operated light station in the United States, built in 1764.

Sandy Hook NA 26-LG-15-1 copy
Sandy Hook Light Station, N.J. National Archives photo 26-LG-15-1

John told me that two lotteries were used to raise funds to acquire land on Sandy Hook and pay for construction of the lighthouse. An Act of the Colony of New York, passed on May 19, 1761, established the first lottery. Ten thousand tickets were sold at a price of £2 each. £3,000 of the lottery sales were retained for the purchase of four acres of land on Sandy Hook. A second lottery, held on June 14, 1763, raised an additional £3,000 to build the lighthouse. John had to explain to me why the lottery raised money that had a pound sign in front of it instead of a dollar sign.

Cape Henry old and new REE copy
Cape Henry Light, built of stone in 1792, was replaced in 1881 by a cast-iron tower. Photo by Ralph Eshelman

In 1789 the new Congress of the United States decided that the Federal government should control the nation’s lighthouses in order to support shipping. Twelve colonial lighthouses then in operation (including Sandy Hook) were transferred and the new government set about constructing Cape Henry Lighthouse at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, financed by a Congressional appropriation.

President George Washington had to assign the care of lighthouses to one of his cabinet members. He had only four: Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Secretary of the Treasury, and Attorney General. Washington assigned lighthouses to Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury.

Do you know someone who buys lottery tickets? What happens to the money raised?

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker loresInformation from National Archives Record Group 26 Entry 17J; http://www.lighthousefriends.com; and http://www.presidential-power.org/presidential-cabinets

Submitted July 20, 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.

Event · News

Celebrating National Lighthouse Day

August 7 is designated as National Lighthouse Day to provide recognition for the important role which lighthouses played in the history of our country, and celebrate the values of safety, heroism, and American ingenuity that lighthouses represent. It is a day for communities and citizens groups around the country to rededicate themselves to the protection and restoration of these historic structures.

We have started a list of National Lighthouse Day events on our website. If you have one to add, please send details to candace@uslhs.org.

DSC00469
Absecon Lighthouse, NJ. Photo courtesy of Absecon Lighthouse & Museum

For example, Absecon Lighthouse, New Jersey’s tallest, and the country’s third tallest Lighthouse, will be celebrating National Lighthouse Day on Monday, August 7th. Kids up to 12 years old are invited to climb the lighthouse for FREE (must be accompanied by an adult) from 10am to 5pm. But let’s not forget the grown-ups! Enjoy a Full Moonrise Climb & Wine Tasting, while enjoying jazz tunes by Atlantic City’s very own Eddie Morgan Band, from 5:30 to 8:30. Tickets are $20 to help preserve this important Atlantic City icon.

Dogs on leashes are always welcome in the garden and the museum. Bring a lawn chair and hang-out…watch the sun set while you sip some wine, listen to classic soul tunes, stroll our 21-bed community garden, 2-acre grounds, and take in the historic outdoor exhibits.

Absecon Lighthouse is a state-owned historic property administered by the non-profit Inlet Public/Private Association. Located at 31 So. Rhode Island Avenue in Atlantic City, the lighthouse is open to visitors every day July & August, 10am to 5pm, and Thursdays until 8pm – last climb is 1/2 hour before closing. This event has been sponsored in part by the NJ State Council on the Arts, Department of State, a partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts through a grant administered by the Atlantic County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs.

Absecon event submitted by Jean Muchanic, Executive Director, Absecon Lighthouse, July 19, 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.

News

Save the Date – Maritime Heritage Conference – February 15 – 17, 2018

PLEASE NOTE corrected email for proposals. We’ve also added Mike Vogel’s email who is putting together the lighthouse sessions.

U.S. Lighthouse Society News

Our Maritime Communities — Stronger Together

February 15-17, 2018

New Orleans, Louisiana

The 11th Maritime Heritage Conference and the 45th Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships will come together for an information-packed joint conference encompassing a broad array of topics. The Maritime Heritage Conference was last held in 2014, and is unique in bringing together all elements of the maritime heritage community to discuss topics of common interest., Tall Ships America’s Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships is held annually and Known for its high “take away value”, networking opportunities and camaraderie. You are invited to join with us and share an exploration of maritime heritage while charting the course for the future. The Conference Steering Committee invites you to become involved in the 2018 Conference as a presenter. This is an outstanding opportunity to come together with individuals from all segments of the maritime community to…

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International Lighthouses · News · Tours

Society’s Scotland / England Tour: Part 1

From July 10 to 26, the U.S. Lighthouse Society is touring Scotland and England, focusing on lighthouses, of course! Society Executive Director Jeff Gales has been sending daily updates of their travels.

[Click on the images to enlarge and read his captions.]

Submitted by Jeff Gales, U.S. Lighthouse Society Executive Director, July 10 & 11, 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.

 

Education · Kate's Corner · Keepers

KATE’S CORNER #3

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef on the edge of New York harbor.

Before John Walker brought me to Robbins Reef, he was assistant keeper at Sandy Hook Light Station. There we had a well to supply our drinking water. Robbins Reef sits on a huge rock ledge, surrounded by deep water. No place for a well. We depend on rain water, which runs off the roof into gutters that direct it to a cistern in the base of the lighthouse.

Is ‘cistern’ a familiar term to you? These water barrels come in all shapes and sizes. How much water do you think a keeper and his family would require every day? They had no flush toilets until late in the 19th century. For what other needs did they require fresh water? Would you like to do laundry by hand using water hand-pumped out of a cistern and heated on a wood stove?

HAND PUMPHave you ever seen an old fashioned hand pump? If you live in a city, probably not. Country folks who have a well can still buy such a pump from Amazon.com.

Kathleen Moore, who kept Black Rock Harbor Light off Bridgeport, Connecticut, said that she too “had to depend on rain for our water, . . .. We tried a number of times to dig for water, but always struck salt.” Salt water is not ‘potable.’

julia (1)
Julia Williams, keeper of the Santa Barbara Light, 1865-1905. Courtesy of Santa Barbara Historical Museum

At the Santa Barbara Light in California not enough rain fell to fill the cistern. Keeper Julia Williams saddled a horse, took her baby in her arms, and, followed by her two little girls, rode a mile to a spring to bring home cans of water slung across the saddle of her horse.

The keepers at Matagorda Island in Texas also relied on cisterns. The nearest well was three miles away. Water was needed for family use and also to run the steam engine that powered the fog signal. The cistern at Matagorda Island, destroyed in an 1887 storm, was replaced by two new ones with a 3,402-gallon capacity. You wouldn’t worry about running out of water if you had that much.

How much water does your household use each day?
21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker lores

Information from the New York Sunday World, 1889; Annual Report of the Light-House Board; National Archives Record Group 26 Entry 35 (NC-31) Volume 283, “Light-House Letters.”

Submitted July 12, 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.