Funding Sources · News · Preservation

Grants for Lighthouse Preservation Now Available

The 2017 cycle for the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s Lighthouse Preservation Grants Program has begun. Letters of Intent must be received by March 24, 2017. Potential projects can relate to either preservation execution (i.e., “capital” or “bricks and mortar” projects) or preservation planning (i.e., “non-capital” projects); for example, research at National Archives, designs, drawings, assessments, surveys, etc. Grants up to $10,000 are available.

 

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In 2016 a $9,000 grant was awarded to the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse Trust in Maine to support replacing the lantern vent ball on the breakwater lighthouse and repairing damage in the lantern caused by water intrusion. 2009 photo by Chad Kaiser.

After an initial review by the Grants Committee, applicants will be informed by May 7, 2017, of their acceptance and will be asked to provide a full application by June 19, 2017. For more information on program guidelines and selection criteria see https://uslhs.org/about/preservation-grants-program-gidelines.

In 2016 a total of $35,000 in grants was awarded through this program, drawing on the interest from a still-growing investment fund that the U.S. Lighthouse Society has committed to increase through the years so that more and larger preservation grants can be made.

If you are interested in supporting this effort, please download our brochure.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, U.S. Lighthouse Society Historian, February 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 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.

Historic Images · News · Research

Large National Archives Collection of Lighthouse Photographs Now Available Online

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Morris Island Light Station, South Carolina. National Archives 26-LG-70-73

A huge thank you goes out to the National Archives for making their main collection of lighthouse photos available online! Over 1100 folders of lighthouse images taken between 1855 and 1933 can now be viewed and downloaded from the National Archives digital catalog. A project started several years ago appears to be complete.

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Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota. National Archives 26-LG-89-54

According to the catalog’s description:

Photographs show views of the structures, surrounding areas, shorelines, and depict the living conditions of keepers, their families and of maintenance personnel. There are views showing construction of the buildings and installation of lights; . . .  light structures at forts, . . . memorial lights, lightships; and portraits of keepers (box 69). Most of the photographs are black and white and cyanotypes scattered throughout. They vary in size and most are mounted on cards. . . .  Photographs of miscellaneous and foreign lighthouses are in boxes 69 through 71A.

Those who have worked with 26-LG at the Still Pictures Branch at Archives II, College Park, Maryland, may remember that the condition of the photos prevented scanning of the prints or taking them out of their protective mylar, so having them available online is a real boon to lighthouse researchers. It also protects the originals from continued handling and exposure to harmful light.

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Fowey Rocks Lighthouse, Florida, with lighthouse tender in distance. National Archives 26-LG-69-55

The images are organized geographically so the first box starts with Maine in the 1st Lighthouse District and goes through each district, ending with Alaska and Hawaii in the 19th Lighthouse District. After that there are a number of boxes of miscellaneous photos that include unidentified lighthouses, some of which, our Facebook fans have been helping to identify. Finally a number of foreign lighthouses are filed at the end of the collection.

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1890s construction of the San Bernardino Island Lighthouse in the Philippines. The 26-LG collection includes a number of Philippine lighthouses. National Archives 26-LG-71A-189
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An unidentified light station that most likely does not survive. National Archives 26-LG-70-43

Submitted by Candace Clifford, February 22, 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.

Lifesaving Service · News · U.S. Coast Guard

February 18th Marks the 65th Anniversary of the Pendleton Rescue

The stern of the tanker Pendleton as she rested on a sand bar off the coast of Cape Cod. USCG photo by Richard C. Kelsey courtesy Jeff Shook
The stern of the tanker Pendleton as she rested on a sand bar off the coast of Cape Cod. Note the Jacobs ladder used by the crew to reach the rescue boat. USCG photo by Richard C. Kelsey courtesy Jeff Shook

The heroic 1952 rescue of 32 crew members aboard the sinking tanker Pendelton was dramatized in the recent movie “The Finest Hours.” The Chatham Historical Society will recognize its 65th anniversary with events hosted at the Atwood House & Museum that include a special screening of a documentary film of several witnesses who shared their memories of that day.

Seaman Irving Maske (foreground) and BM1 Bernard Webber on board the CG36500 after arriving safely back in Chatham. Photo by Richard C. Kelsey courtesy Jeff Shook.

The hero of the story, BM1 Bernard Webber, is not alive to participate in the commemoration, but he was contacted before the 50th anniversary of the rescue and his version of events are reflected in an article that appeared in the Naval Institute Proceedings in December 2001 and was reproduced on the U.S. Coast Guard’s website.

In their 36-foot motorboat Webber and his all-volunteer crew faced heavy seas in crossing a sandbar to reach the broken Pendleton. Pushed on its side by enormous waves, Webber’s self-righting lifeboat recovered each time, but its engines had to be restarted and in one dunking the compass was washed off its mount. Only with Webber’s remarkable skills as a boat handler and navigator, was the boat able to reach the Pendleton, rescue the crew in its stern, and return safely to Chatham. Thanks to the efforts of Webber and his three crewmen, all but one of those Pendleton crew members survived the ordeal. (The seven men who were in the bow of the vessel perished after the boat broke in two.)

For more information, see the recent Cape Cod Chronicle article and USCG’s 50th Anniversary post (2001).

On May 14, 1952, 21 Coast Guardsmen received medals for their roles in the rescue of 70 men from the tankers Pendleton and Fort Mercer during the same storm off Cape Cod. USCG photo
On May 14, 1952, 21 Coast Guardsmen received medals for their roles in the rescue of 70 men from the tankers Pendleton and Fort Mercer during the same violent storm off Cape Cod. USCG photo

Based on submission from the Society’s affiliate U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association, February 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 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 · Research

Gull Rocks Light Station, Rhode Island

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“Gull Rocks Light Station Newport”, VM013_GF4707, Rhode Island Photograph Collection, Providence Public Library, Providence, RI

I came across these images of Gull Rocks Light Station in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, in the wonderful Rhode Island Collection at the Providence Public Library’s digital library. Both images were captured by William King Covell before and after the change in optic. The above image is dated 1921 and the one below is 1932. I’m not sure I’d ever seen this lighthouse design before!

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“Gull Rocks Light Station Newport”, VM013_GF4708, Rhode Island Photograph Collection , Providence Public Library, Providence, RI

According to Jeremy D’Entremont’s “History of Gull Rocks Light Station, Newport, Rhode Island,” the station was built near Newport in the 1880s. “The lighthouse was a wood A-frame dwelling with two lanterns that traveled on rails through windows at the east and west peaks of the structure. One light was fixed white, the other fixed red. A fog bell and striking apparatus were installed in 1888. . . . In 1928, a single acetylene light on a skeleton tower next to the dwelling replaced the two earlier lights. At this time the keeper at Gull Rocks was also put in charge of Newport Harbor Light at Goat Island.”

The station was automated in 1960 and the dwelling destroyed in 1961. The light on the skeleton tower was discontinued in 1969, soon after the construction of the Newport Bridge. Today, all that remains is the oil house.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, U.S. Lighthouse Society Historian, February 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 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 · U.S. Coast Guard

A Guiding Light

This article from the Coast Guard Mid Atlantic blog seems very appropriate as we celebrate Black History month. A Guiding Light describes John White’s experiences as Officer in Charge of Thomas Point Shoal Light Station, Maryland.

For a related video, goto https://www.dvidshub.net/video/434565/thomas-point-lighthouse-visit.

Original article by David R. Marin, USCG Petty Officer 2nd Class

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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 Participates in Planning National Coast Guard Museum

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The Museum Exhibit Advisory Group visit the museum’s site in New London in 2016. Photo courtesy of National Coast Guard Museum Association, Inc.

In late 2015 Wayne Wheeler, U.S. Lighthouse Society president, was asked to join a team of advisors in designing the National Coast Guard Museum to be constructed in New London, Connecticut. The group meets twice a year. To date they have met in Washington, D.C. , New London, and most recently in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Museum Exhibit Advisory Panel (MEAP) consists of Coast Guard officers, staff from the Coast Guard Historian’s Office, and representatives from 20 non-profit organizations such as the U.S. Lighthouse Society, the Coast Guard Lightship Sailors International Association, U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association, and the Foundation for Coast Guard History to name a few.

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U.S. Lighthouse Society President Wayne Wheeler participating in the New London planning meeting. Photo courtesy National Coast Guard Museum Association, Inc.

Their purpose is to develop a museum that reflects the history of all phases of the Coast Guard, present and past. Today’s Coast Guard evolved from several different agencies: U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, U.S. Life-Saving Service, U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service, and the U.S. Lighthouse Establishment. These various entities form today’s Coast Guard, and the museum wants to salute and showcase each. Wayne’s role is to ensure that the story of the Lighthouse Service is adequately and correctly presented.

The projected cost of the 100,000 sq. ft. museum is $100 million. The museum designers are noted for their design of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C, and the World War II Museum in New Orleans. The National Coast Guard Museum will be located in New London across from the old train station and next to Long Island Sound. An adjacent pier will facilitate mooring the Coast Guard Eagle as well as other service vessels.

Based on submission by Wayne Wheeler, President, U.S. Lighthouse Society, January 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 · Research · Volunteer Opportunities

Want to Help Transcribe Yaquina Head Lighthouse Documents?

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Example of letter to be transcribed. National Archives, RG 26, Letterbook 311 (click on image to enlarge)

The Friends of Yaquina Lights (FOYL), Newport, Oregon, have discovered a great way to transcribe their historical documents from the National Archives. They are using volunteers to transcribe their collection of historic documents (keeper’s logs, correspondence, etc.) using an online site at fromthepage.com/YaquinaLights. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can volunteer! Accounts at fromthepage.com are free and easy to set up. Successful transcription of this large collection of fascinating (along with the more mundane) will make these historical documents available to the general public.

Submitted by Amy Cauthon, Friends of Yaquina Lights, foyl@yaquinalights.org, 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.