International Lighthouses · News · photography

Calendar Submissions

Great Orme Llandudno Wales telegraph room by Henry Harding copy
The Great Orme Lighthouse, Llandudno, Wales, former telegraph room by Henry Harding

Society members have been sharing their favorite images for the Society’s 2018 Calendar contest.  One of the more unusual interior images was submitted by Henry Harding who wrote,

This is a unique feature to be found in a lighthouse. It is a Telegraph Room and is in the Great Orme Lighthouse near Llandudno Wales. It is not an electrical telegraph, but a Semaphore Telegraph. In the windows you can see green plugs in spherical gimbals. The gimbals are for the telescopes so the operator could see the next telegraph station and interpret what the semaphore message was saying. They then would copy what they saw to confirm what was being transmitted to the previous station. Of course when they put that up, the next station would see the new message and copy back to this station. This particular system passed messages from Liverpool to Holyhead (pronounced Hollyhead). They could send messages in a matter of minutes even though there were ten stations to this system. The first Semaphore Telegraph System was developed in France in 1790. This one was developed around 1840.

The lantern room in the Great Orme Lighthouse is on the first floor below the windows of this room. It contained a 1st Order Fresnel. The lens is currently in a small museum on top of the Great Orme. There is a Cable Car which runs out of Llandudno directly to that small museum. There also is shopping at another building there as well. It is a fun trip.

For more on the Great Orme Lighthouse see http://www.lighthouse-llandudno.co.uk/. The deadline for submission in this Friday, September 15. For more information on submitting, see https://uslhs.wordpress.com/photos/.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, September 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.

Event · News · Tours

Fall Lighthouse Festival

Due to the popularity of the Lighthouse Festival each June and the positive response to the two previous Fall Lighthouse Festivals, the Door County Maritime Museum, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, is again offering some of its most popular tours Columbus Day weekend. Reservations are now being taken for these fantastic lighthouse adventures that will take place October 7-8. To order tickets please call (920)743-5958.

DCMM_FallLighthouseFestFLYER_2017

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7

BOAT EXCURSIONS:

LAKESHORE LIGHTHOUSE CRUISE

Departs Baileys Harbor Municipal Dock at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 7.

Cost: $49.50 per person. Capacity: 22 per tour.

Only on the tours from Baileys Harbor will visitors have a waterside look at the Baileys Harbor Range Lights, the Old “Bird Cage” Lighthouse in Baileys Harbor and the majestic Cana Island Lighthouse. Additionally, many shipwrecks lie underneath the waters of this cruise; visitors may even see one from the boat.

PLUM ISLAND TOUR

Departs Gills Rock Dock at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 7.

Cost: $79 per person. Capacity: 14 per tour.

This 5-hour tour is a very rare offering as the US Fish and Wildlife Service must grant permission for the tour. The Friends of Plum and Pilot Island accompany visitors on the walking tours over the island landscape and up the stairs of the lights. The walking tour covers more than 2 miles round-trip and requires good footwear. Shorts are not recommended and there is no vending available on the island, but for the adventurer this rugged excursion is one to write home about. (FOPPI requires a signed waiver that will be sent to visitors at the time reservations are made and must be brought completely filled out to the dock.)

SAIL DOOR COUNTY SCHOONER CRUISE

Departs from Sister Bay Marina at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 7.

Cost: $65 per person. Capacity: 23 per tour.

Set sail into yesteryear on a 19th century tall ship to Peninsula State Park’s Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. Join the crew in hoisting the halyard or sit back and enjoy the trip on a 65-foot schooner, the Edith M. Becker, on a 2½-hour sailing adventure with views of the rocky shore, islands, caves and majestic bluffs. Hear the cannon sound as they strike sail at the end of the cruise. This trip is a bit longer and more focused on local lore than the typical schooner cruise.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8

LAND-BASED TOUR:

NATURALIST-NARRATED TOUR

Departs Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay at 9 a.m. on Sunday, October 8.

Cost: $77.50 per person. Capacity: 22 per tour.

Narration about the local history and natural environment of Door County and its lighthouses makes the time fly on this amazing five-hour tour which includes stops at the Sturgeon Bay Canal Station and North Pierhead, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, the Ridges Range Lights and Cana Island Lighthouse. A freshly made box lunch will be enjoyed at picturesque Cana Island.

BOAT EXCURSION:

CHAMBERS ISLAND TOUR

Departs the Fish Creek dock aboard the Quo Vadis at 9 am and 11:30 am on Sunday, October 8.

Cost: $68 per person. Capacity: 50 per tour.

Lighthouse enthusiasts should take advantage of this rare opportunity to traverse the private lands of Chambers Island. Access to the lighthouse will require a 3-mile, round-trip, docent-led hike across the island from the marina featuring some interesting stops along the way. A lighthouse caretaker will meet the tours at the lighthouse where you will be able to soak up the amazing view and climb to the top of the lantern room platform. Good hiking shoes are recommended and participants should be in good enough shape to handle the hike.

Submitted by Mary E. Stephenson, Special Events Coordinator/Educational Specialist, Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society, August 30, 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 #9

Kate Walker here. While I was tending the light on Robbins Reef, Margaret Norvell was tending the light at Port Pontchartain on Lake Pontchartain north of New Orleans in Louisiana. She was there from 1896 until 1924, living in a  square, two-story white frame dwelling built on an iron pile foundation, with a slate roof surmounted by a fifth-order black lantern.

Before that assignment she had been at Head of Passes Light Station in the Mississippi Delta, where her keeper husband drowned, leaving her with two small children. Tending the beacon lights at Head of Passes was considered too strenuous for a woman, so Maggie was transferred to Port Pontchartrain.

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New Canal (West End) Lighthouse, Louisiana. Postcard courtesy U.S. Lighthouse Society

In 1924 she moved to New Canal Light Station, also on Lake Pontchartain, and stayed until 1932. The New Canal Lighthouse originally stood in the water, but was later surrounded by dry land in Lakefront Park. The water surge off Lake Pontchartrain during Hurricane Katrina destroyed the base of the lighthouse in 2005. Funds were raised to rebuild, and the new lighthouse reopened on April 13, 2013. I wonder if Hurricane Harvey has done any recent damage?

Margaret Norvell was recognized numerous times for assisting other in distress: “In every big hurricane or storm here since 1891, her lighthouse has been a refuge for fishermen and others whose homes have been swept away. In the . . . storm of 1903 Mrs. Norvell’s lighthouse was the only building left standing on the lower coast, and over 200 survivors found a welcome and shelter in her home. After each storm she started the relief funds and helped the poor folk get back to normal.”

Maggie Norvell said, “there isn’t anything unusual in a woman keeping a light in her window to guide men home. I just happen to keep a bigger light than most women because I have got to see that so many men get safely home.”

USCGC Margaret Norvell
A Coast Guard fast response cutter named after Margaret Norvell was launched in June 2013. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.

You can read Keeper Sidney Z. Gross’s vivid account of the 1938 hurricane at Saybrook Breakwater Light in Connecticut courtesy <lighthousefriends.com>.

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker loresQuotes are from the Morning Tribune, June 26, 1932, and The Times Piscayne, September 27, 1931.

Submitted September 5, 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 · U.S. Coast Guard

Ponce Inlet Celebrates Partnership with Coast Guard

Jessica Guidroz Swearing In
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Ponce Inlet Station’s Aids to Navigation (ATN) Officer in Charge Jessica Guidroz’s re-enlistment ceremony was recently held at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

Continuing a long tradition of partnership between the USCG Ponce Inlet Station and the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, Boatswains Mate Petty Officer First Class Jessica Guidroz reenlisted near the front steps of the Ponce DeLeon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, Ponce Inlet, Florida, at a 10:30 a.m. ceremony on August 24, 2017. The five-year re-enlistment and swearing-in event was conducted by CWO4/BOSN Mike Lemay of Jacksonville Station, and attended by members of Guidroz’s family, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Museum officials, and visitors to the museum that day. Guidroz was first named the station’s officer-in-charge in July 2016. Previous service saw her onboard the USCG Cutter Eagle which conducts summer-long Coast Guard Academy cadet-at-sea training.

The Ponce Inlet Coast Guard Station provides search and rescue, law enforcement, pollution control and maintenance of aids to navigation for an area which encompasses the Matanzas Inlet south to Haulover Canal. The Ponce Inlet Coast Guard Station was established in 1938 on the south side of the Ponce DeLeon Inlet.

The Ponce Inlet Coast Guard Station in 1966. National Archives photo

In 1939 the Lighthouse Service was merged with the U.S. Coast Guard. The Lighthouse Service personnel were given the choice of retirement or joining the Coast Guard with similar rank. Staff at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse joined the Coast Guard, and former principal keeper Edward L. Meyer became officer in charge of the station. During World War II the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse principal keeper’s residence became a barracks for Coast Guardsmen, and the lighthouse station, with its 175-foot tower became a lookout post, training facility, and radio navigation beacon base. After the war, the station continued to be maintained by the Coast Guard until the Ponce De Leon Inlet Preservation Association began managing the property in 1972. In the intervening years, a long and fruitful partnership developed between the Lighthouse Museum and the Coast Guard facility, with co-celebrations of service continuing today.

low res 130 Anniversary flier

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is planning another celebration on November 10, 2017, to commemorate the station’s 130th birthday. On November 1, 1887, 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. The brilliant, fixed white light blazed forth from the Barbier & Fenestre first-order lens. About two months earlier, a Notice to Mariners was issued from the Lighthouse Board formally announcing the new light’s presence on the coast atop the 175-foot tower. It had taken three years to complete the station on the previously dark 100-mile stretch of coast of East Florida. The Notice also carried the Longitude and Latitude positions, bearings and distances of two other “prominent objects,” the “Cape Canaveral Light-House” at 41 nautical miles to the South, and the “St. Augustine Light-House,” some 52 nautical miles to the North.

In 1970, after more than 80 years of service, the U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned the light 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 twelve historic U.S. 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.

Excerpted from submissions by John F. Mann, Lead Docent, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, August 10 and 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.

Education · Kate's Corner · Keepers · News

KATE’S CORNER #8

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

All this talk today about immigration. We’re all descended from immigrants. I came from Germany a widow, looking for a better life. My second husband John was an immigrant from Sweden. I met him while I was waiting tables in the boarding house where he ate his meals. He taught me English, then married me and took me to Sandy Hook, where he was assistant keeper. He taught me to tend the light. When he died in 1890, I had to earn my own living, becoming one of the many working-class women who made up one-quarter of all wage-earners in the United States at that time—many of us immigrants or children of immigrants.

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Richard E. Ray, assistant keeper at Execution Rocks, was one of many lighthouse keepers born outside of the United States. Photo courtesy U.S. Lighthouse Society

Male keepers, like John, were often immigrants as well. I was looking at the 1893 Register of Federal Employees. Of the seventy-some lighthouse keepers in New York State that year, the following were born outside of the U.S.:

  • James G. Scott, keeper at Montauk Point, born in England
  • Michael Karcher, assistant keeper at Little Gull Island, born in Germany
  • Richard E. Ray, assistant keeper at Execution Rocks, born in Ireland
  • Cornelius Doublas, keeper at Stepping Stone, born in Ireland
  • Alexander Ferriera, assistant keeper at Throggs Neck, born in Madiera (I don’t know where Madiera is. Do you?)
  • Henry Harrison, assistant keeper at Sandy Hook, born in Norway
  • Andreas C. Thonning, keeper at Fort Lafayette, born in Denmark
  • Peter Ryerson, assistant keeper on Scotland Light Vessel, born in Norway
  • Charles Miller, assistant keeper at Statue of Liberty, born in Switzerland
  • Henry Poe, keeper at Fire Island, born in England
  • George H. Shaffer, keeper at Schodack Channel, born in Germany
  • James Jenkins, keeper at Cow Island, born in England
  • Patrick Whalen, keeper at Man-o’-War Rock, born in Ireland
  • Dennis McCashin, keeper at Passaic, born in Ireland
  • Andrew S. Allen, assistant keeper at Whitehall Narrows, born in Canada
  • Jeremiah Dinan, keeper at Crown Point, born in Ireland
  • Mitchell Bully, keeper at Plattsburgh Breakwater, born in Canada

These men were over 20% of the total.

Diamond Shoal LV 71 from old Postcard
Lightship No. 71 served the Diamond Shoals Station in 1911. Postcard image courtesy of U.S. Lighthouse Society.

The same was true on light vessels. In July 1911 Master Thomas Jacobson reported that of his 10-man crew on Lightship No. 71, the cook was born in Norway, one of the firemen was born in Russia, and three of the seamen came from Norway, the fourth from Sweden. Five out of ten were immigrants.

I’d say that immigrants were an important resource for the Light-House Board.

Do you know where your ancestors came from?

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker loresInformation found in the 1893 Official Register of the United States containing a List of the Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1893); and from National Archives Record Group 26, Entry 3 (NC-63), “Field Records of the Fifth Light-House District (Baltimore), 1851 – 1912,” Volume 284

Submitted  August 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.

News · photography · Society Members

Submissions for 2018 Society Calendar

Some recent submissions by Society photographers for possible inclusion in our 2018 Society calendar:

 

For more information on our calendar contest, goto our submissions page.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, Society Historian, August 17, 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 #7

Kate Walker here. I kept the light on Robbins Reef in New York Harbor from 1890 to 1919. That’s a lot of years, isn’t it? And don’t forget that the light had to be kept seven days a week, 365 days a year. There were no days off unless you had an assistant keeper or a substitute you could trust to put a lamp in the tower at sunset, replace it when needed during the night, and extinguish it at sunrise. That substitute was often a wife or a child of the keeper. My son Jacob served as my assistant.

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Elizabeth Williams kept two lights on Lake Michigan. Photo courtesy of Beaver Island Historical Society.

I’m not the only woman to have stayed at my post for a record number of years. Josephine Freeman kept the Blackistone Island Light Station in Maryland on the Potomac River from 1876 until 1912. Harriet Colfax was at the Michigan City Light in Indiana from 1861 until 1904. Ida Lewis was at Lime Rock (later named Ida Lewis Rock) in Rhode Island from 1857 until 1911. Julia Williams kept the Santa Barbara Light in California from 1865 until 1905. Catherine Murdock was at Roundout Creek on the Hudson River in New York from 1857 until 1907. Maria Youngans was at Biloxi Light in Mississippi from 1867 until 1918. Elizabeth Williams was at Beaver Island Harbor Point Light Station from 1872 to 1884 and at Little Traverse Light Station, Michigan, from 1884 to 1913.

Which one of us should get the prize for the longest tenure at a light station?

Was any male keeper at his station longer than these women were? I know about the following men who served many years:

Sedgwick Springs at Bald Head, NC, 1807 – 1837
William Gilley at Bakers Island, ME, 1828 – 1849
Leander White at Cape Elizabeth, ME, 1888 – 1909
Miles Burnham at Cape Canaveral, FL, 1861 – 1885
Enoch Ellis Howard at Ocracoke, NC, 1862 – 1897
William W. Williams at Boon Island, ME, 1885 – 1911
Clinton P. Honeywell at Cape Canaveral, FL, 1891 – 1930
Willis Dolliver at Bass Harbor Head, ME, 1894 – 1921
Peter Rasmusson at St. Augustine, FL, 1901 – 1924
Henry L. Dow at New Point Comfort, VA, 1919 – 1954

21 Dec 1902 - Times Picayune - Kate Walker loresAre there others I should know about? [Please reply to this post in order for your keeper to show up in the comments]

Sources: Dates for female keepers are from Women Who Kept the Lights. Dates for male keepers from <www.lighthousefriends.com>.

Submitted August 15, 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.