Digest>Archives> March 1996

Coast Guard snuffs out light Historic lens covered up


Apparently the Commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District in New Orleans is not aware what is going on in the rest of the country with lighthouse preservation.

This past January he ordered Florida's Cape San Blas Lighthouse turned off. The procedure was as simple as turning off a light switch. The 1859 Fresnel lens, which still displays the chips caused by Confederate musket fire, survived the civil war and numerous hurricanes but apparently will not survive Coast Guard orders to extinguish the light forever. If this is the case, the valuable lens will most likely be removed and the bare tower will be left to fend for itself against the unrelenting elements of mother nature and possible vandalisim.

The many pleasure boaters and fishermen who use these waters and have relied on the lighthouse for over 100 years will now have to navigate these waters without the light's assistance. The need is even greater for a lighthouse today than 100 years ago because fishermen must travel greater distances due to the recently imposed net bans. Many small boats simply can not afford the costly equipment needed to pilot these waters. The lighthouse is also a symbol of days gone by, a time when values were high and proud. To turn off a historic lighthouse in the name of finances is absolutely ridiculous.

The Eighth Coast Guard District has already lost many of its lighthouses and maritime history and many others are now in danger of being lost forever.

We would urge our readers to write their letter of protest to: Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, 501 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 3396.

This story appeared in the March 1996 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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