Event · Lighthouse Construction · News · Society Members

Ponce Inlet Begins 130th Anniversary Celebration

On November 1, 1887, at about dusk, Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse Principal Keeper William R. Rowlinski climbed the 213 steps of the tall, red brick giant to its lantern room. Rowlinski proceeded to light the five-concentric-wick kerosene lamp to inaugurate the first night of service for what is now known as the Ponce DeLeon Inlet Lighthouse. The brilliant, fixed white light blazed forth from the Barbier & Fenestre first-order lens.

About two months before the light’s activation, a Notice to Mariners was issued from the U.S. Light-House Board formally announcing the new light’s presence on the coast atop the 175-foot tower. It took three years to complete the station on that previously dark, 100-mile stretch of coast of East Florida.
Construction drawing courtesy National Archives

In 1970, after more than 80 years of service, the U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned the station and formulated plans to demolish the structures and use the rubble as an artificial reef. A group of Ponce Inlet residents, alarmed by the potential loss of so much local and national history, formed the Ponce DeLeon Lighthouse Preservation Association, saved the tower and keepers’ residences from the wrecking ball, and has managed and operated the station as an attraction and museum ever since. Restoration continues to this day, and as a result, in 1998 the once dilapidated station was recognized as a National Historic Landmark, one of only 12 historic United States lighthouses to be so honored. Welcoming more than 175,000 visitors each year, the station is acknowledged as one of the best preserved and most representative light stations in the nation.

Ponce DeLeon Inlet, FL, July 2013. Photo by John Mann

Today, that beacon continues to shine as a silent sentinel helping mariners navigate the dangerous Florida coast. In honor of that first lighting, a year-long, 130th Anniversary Celebration, hosted by the Preservation Association, begins with a festive evening on Friday evening, November 10, 2017, at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum .

Submitted by Society Member John F. Mann, Lead Docent, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, August 10, 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

22nd Annual Victorian Christmas Open House at Heceta Lighthouse B&B

LIGHTKEEPERS' HOUSE XMAS SNOW 010417_010

Come one, come all to Heceta Head Lightstation’s Victorian Christmas Open House!

Doors will be open to the public from 4-7 pm December 9th & 10th and 16th & 17th.

Enjoy the majesty of the beautifully decorated Keeper’s House! Each evening local musicians will perform your holiday favorites while local sponsors provide warm drinks and cookies! Santa Claus will also be visiting each evening.

Free Shuttle service from Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint parking lot will be available. There is a $5 day use fee required for parking. Admission to Keepers House is free.

Heceta Lighthouse Gift Shop will be open and filled with special lighthouse gifts for your Christmas shopping!  The State Park will have the lighthouse open as well, so bring your flashlight…. and rain jacket, just in case.

For more information please call 866-547-3696 or visit https://www.hecetalighthouse.com/events#christmas.

Submitted by Misty Anderson, Inn Manager and Event Coordinator, Heceta Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast on November 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 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.

Merchandise · News · photography · Society Members

Congratulations to Society Photographers

calendar cover lores
Cover photo is “Pemaquid Point Milky Way” by Robert Kausch

Congratulations to the 14 U.S. Lighthouse Society Photographers whose photos were chosen for the 2018 Lighthouse Society Calendar — Robert Kausch, Ed Boesiger, John J. Young, James Hill, Mindy Margaritis, Dan Reiss, Elizabeth A. Burns-Hausrath, Lisa Mintz, Dave Waller, Rich Buckner, Sharon Jones, Ken Dinsmore, Bill Hammond, and Vivianne Gifford. The 14 images selected for this 2018 calendar represent a variety of construction types, geographical locations, and artistic perspectives. Each photographer provided a quote about the subject of the photo or his or her experience taking it. Their love of lighthouses is apparent in both their images and the captions they provided. We appreciate both their talent and their enthusiasm for the subject matter!

To see all the submissions, goto our 2018 Calendar page. To pre-order your calendar, goto the Keeper’s Locker. Calendars are expected to ship at the end of November.

For those considering a membership or gift membership, sign up before December 8th and receive a free calendar. We appreciate your support of lighthouses!

Submitted by Candace Clifford, November 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 candace@uslhs.org.

News · Preservation

Shining a Light on Metalsmith Alex Klahm

Yaquina Head Lighthouse shrouded for restoration in 2005-06. Courtesy George Collins

Satisfied smiles faded and hearts sank when Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials in Oregon learned that their pride and joy, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse they’d taken over from the Coast Guard in 1996, needed lots and lots of Tender Loving Care..

The 93-foot-tall 1873 lighthouse was discovered in 2000 to need about a million dollars worth of repairs. BLM funds became available in 2005 to begin a seven-month-long top-to-bottom exterior restoration.

Key to the project was nationally-acclaimed metalsmith/designer craftsman Alex Klahm, applauded for his work since 1989 at many lighthouses on the East and Gulf Coasts.

Alex recreated at his home factory, 3,200 miles away in St. Petersburg, Florida, and later installed — with two helpers — dozens of cast iron and bronze pieces to replace rusted railings, cornices, posts, and brackets at the top of the lighthouse tower. The BLM presented Alex with a certificate of excellence for the exceptional work.

 Submitted by Society Member George Collins, October 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.

Conferences · News

Deadline Reminder for Maritime Heritage Conference Session Proposals

MHCFor those wanting to submit session proposals for the upcoming Maritime Heritage Conference, in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 14 – 17, 2018, the deadline has been extended to December 1st.

For topics relating to lighthouses, contact Mike Vogel . For all other proposals see the 11th Maritime Heritage Conference Call for Presenters & Guidelines page, which includes details on conference topics as well as information on focus sessions, maritime heritage papers, the application process, deadlines and the selection process, and presenter policies. Individual paper and session proposals should include a one-page abstract and a one-page biographical statement about each presenter emailed to Dr. David Winkler and Jonathan Kabak at: proposalsmhc@gmail.com.

The conference hotel is the New Orleans Marriott – French Quarter, at a discounted rate of $164/night. The discount cannot apply before Feb. 14 (Mardi Gras is Feb. 13) but can be used for a few days after the conference. Hotel reservations may be made online by using the conference passkey.

Activities will include a tour/visit of the World War II Museum. The keynote speaker is historian and author Nathaniel Philbrick (In the Heart of the Sea and several others).

Click here for more information (NMHS) or here (Tall Ships America).

Submitted by Mike Vogel and Candace Clifford, October 26, 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 · News

KATE’S CORNER #13

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef.

Wives and children of keepers generally assisted in tending the light so that the keeper could hunt or fish, fetch supplies from the nearest town, or perhaps supplement his meager salary by acting as a pilot or keeping a post office. Families provided free labor for the lighthouse service, which allowed small stations on enclosed bodies of water—the Chesapeake Bay, the Hudson River, Long Island Sound, Lake Champlain, the Great Lakes, Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana—to be attended by only one keeper. These were called “family stations.”

The first woman who received an official light keeper’s appointment on the Chesapeake Bay was Ann Davis. Her husband James was the first keeper of Point Lookout Light Station at the Potomac River entrance in Maryland. Appointed in 1830, he died just a few months later. His wife replaced him at a salary of $350 per year, and kept the light until 1847.

Point Lookout 1928
Point Lookout Lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland in 1928. The second story and porches were added in 1883. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office

In 1857 Sarah Thomas replaced her deceased husband George at Cove Point Light Station at the entrance to the Patuxent River, Maryland, serving until 1859. She tended a lamp with concentric wicks in a new fifth-order Fresnel lens, installed in 1855 to replace the 11 lamps with reflectors on a chandelier.

In 1863 Esther O’Neill replaced her deceased husband John as keeper at Concord Point (Havre de Grace) Light Station at the entrance to the Susquehanna River, Maryland, remaining there until 1881. Esther was the eighth keeper in a single family that tended Concord Point Light Station for several decades.

cumberland head
The Tabberrah family at Cumberland Head around 1880. Photo made from a tintype belonging to Emma’s grandson, Arthur Hillegas.

Emma Tabberrah kept the Cumberland Head Light on Lake Champlain, New York, while I was at Robbins Reef. Her husband was a disabled Civil War veteran with a lead bullet lodged in his hip. Surgery to remove the bullet led to an infection that killed him in 1904. Emma had always helped him keep the light and won the keeper’s appointment. Two daughters assisted her.

I think often how Emma and I would have been impoverished had we not been appointed keepers. After John died, I kept Robbins Reef for four years, paid only a laborer’s wage, while the Light-House Board sought a male keeper. When I finally received the appointment in 1894 with its $600 annual salary, I counted my blessings.

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker copyInformation on Ann Davis is from F. Ross Holland, Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay. Information on Sarah Thomas is from Clifford, Nineteenth Century Lights, p. 3. The O’Neill genealogy appears in a brochure published by the Friends of the Concord Point Lighthouse. Information on Emma Taberrah provided by her grandson, Arthur B. Hillegas. Information on Kate Walker from National Archives Record Group 26, Entry 1 (NC-63).

Submitted October 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.

Historic Images · News · Research

Early Aerial Photography Digitized

At first glance you might not think early Air Force photography would be useful for lighthouse research, but when you start looking at photos taken of large port cities, you start noticing lighthouses.

Jones Point VA 1921 RG-18-AA-127-24-ac copy
Note the Jones Point Lighthouse on the Potomac River in the center foreground of this 1921 aerial photograph of Alexandria, Virginia. National Archives RG-18-AA-127-24

The National Archives recently announced “The Digitization of 18-AA,” a Record Group 18 entry entitled “Airscapes” of American and Foreign Areas, 1902-1964. These images are arranged by geographical location, so you must search according to the city where the station is located. Even if you don’t find images of lighthouses, you will find interesting historical perspectives of waterfront areas when they were still primarily industrial.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, October 24, 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.