Digest>Archives> March 2004

Keeper’s Korner

Tid-bits from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Lighthouse island for sale

The 3000-acre Great Duck Island located 14 miles southwest of Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron is for sale. Once considered one of the most important lighthouses on the Great Lakes, the lighthouse reserve occupies 300 acres along the southwest shoreline of the island. The last lighthouse keepers left the island in the 1970’s but the Canadian Coast Guard still maintains the beacon in the tower. The island has a man-made harbor and a break wall made from ships sunk by the Coast Guard that still protect the harbor against storms. The realtor selling the property is Moffat Dunlap Real Estate, 16630 Dufferin St., King City, Ontario L7B 1K5 Canada, Ph # 905-841-7430. You can view the listing on line at www.moffatdunlap.com/Properties/GreatDuckI.html

Volunteer Keeper Program

Michigan’s Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum is looking for volunteer keepers to live at the lighthouse for two-week periods to greet visitors and provide them with historical information about the lighthouse and museum. Volunteer keepers must also be energetic, able to speak with the public, assist in the gift shop and help with maintenance of the buildings and grounds, able to work long hours and climb the stairs. This almost sound like an advertisement for a keepers job from 100 years ago, but it’s your chance to really become involved. The program runs April 1 through Dec. FMU call the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum at 231-386-7195.

Fight for the Light

Am amazing eight page in depth story in Durham, North Carolina’s Independent Weekly Newspaper that appeared in their November 19th edition is well worth the reading if you can get a copy from them. Sub-titled, “How Congressman Walter Jones Jr. turned a contest for ownership of an historic Outer Banks lighthouse into a tangled tale of political intrigue.” Was written by Barbara Solow. The story is quick to point out that it was Sandy Semans editor of the Outer Banks Sentinel who did most of the in-depth reporting that kept this story on the front pages of newspapers for many months, and in quoting Semans when talking about Congressman Jones, “It’s about the abuse of power and circumventing the laws.” Thank God we live on a free nation where freedom of the press and people still reigns. If it were not for the press and the thousands of people who got behind the Outer Banks Conservationists they might have lost the famous Currituck Lighthouse to a greedy money hungry county government. It’s always nice to see when the good guys win for a change. Although the “good guys” won, the story really goes into some in-depth reporting that tells what is wrong in some circles of our government offices from Washington down to the local level and why we must always be on guard against some political leaders that do not care about the good of the people. We also thank our many readers who helped win this battle for the good of all.

We’re in Media Manager - but need more subscribers

Lighthouse Digest Magazine is now listed in Media Manager’s Guide to Travel and Tourism Magazines. This means that we will hopefully attract more advertisers, which will help us to expand the scope of our work. However, what we really need is to increase the size of our subscriber base, and that can only be done with your help. A gift subscription to Lighthouse Digest makes a wonderful gift for any occasion. Also, don’t forget to tell your friends about us. We can only help draw public awareness to lighthouses and help in saving them through our subscribers.


Donald Graham, former lighthouse keeper and author of two lighthouse books has died at age 56 of pancreatic cancer. In one of his books he recalled, “Little did I suspect that one wild, seasick night, I would find myself and my family headed for a lighthouse in the middle of nowhere, alone.” His books were not simply written about his experiences at Canadian lighthouses, but they were well research documents into the untold stories of a way of life now disappeareing forever. Keepers of the Light (which won a British Columbia book award)and Lights of the Inside Passage both became popular hits with the lighthouse community and historians alike. Graham served 17 years as a lighthouse keeper before automation took away his job. However, he was against automation until his dying day saying, “They haven’t invented a machine yet than can see or hear a person in distress and take action as light keepers have done unflinchingly on this coast for 150 years.” What a shame to lose such a good man at such a young age.

Carolyn B. (Hufford) Haffenreffer, 91, of Little Compton, RI has died. She and her late husband, Carl, president and founder of Narragansett Brewing Co created the Haffenreffer Little Compton Fund to assist non-profits in the town. When the historic Sakonnet Lighthouse was disabled and decommissioned after the 1954 hurricane they bought it and eventually donated it to the Friends of Sakonnet Lighthouse.

Museum open again

After being a victim of budget cuts, the Whitfield House Museum in Guilford, CT is open again. The museum has an outstanding exhibit on the Faulkner’s Island Lighthouse. However, you might want to get there soon, as it is unknown how long the exhibit, which includes a Fresnel lens will remain at the museum or long it will stay open. For more information you can email mm.whitfieldmuseum@SNET.Net

Looking for keeper info

Phyliss Knowles writes that her mother was born at the lighthouse on Castle Island in the Bahamas in 1914. She is trying to locate information on her mothers father, Erskine Jones, who was the lighthouse keeper there. He served at various islands including Inagua and Abaco in the early 1900’s. If you can assist her e-mail philk@batelnet.bs

Money for Old Mack

Recently appointed Mackinac Island State Park Commissioner Karen Karam gave old Mackinac Point Lighthouse restoration efforts a $60,000 boost by hosting an October fundraiser at the Pine Valley Golf Club in Ray, Michigan. Visitors to the lighthouse this year will see a restoration in progress and the first floor will be open to the public this year. Old Mackinac Lighthouse is a popular tourist attraction in Mackinaw City and is clearly visible to the 4.7 million travelers crossing the Mackinac Bridge a few hundred feet to the west.

New ventilator

Michigan’s Sand Point Lighthouse finally has a new ventilator ball at the top of its lighthouse. The lantern room hasn’t had proper ventilation in years, making it hot and stuffy in the summer months and a source of condensation. The stainless steel ventilating red ball and bird pole were made from 139-year-old plans. The original use of the ventilator ball was to allow smoke and heat from the lantern to escape and the ball that was on top of the lighthouse for some time was ornamentals and not a functional ventilator ball. To learn more about the Sand Island Lighthouse go to our web site at www.LighthouseDigest.com and type in Sand Point in the search box and you will be led to their site.

The Lighthouse Encyclopedia

If Santa did not bring you this book under the tree last year, he wasn’t paying attention to Lighthouse Digest. This is a superb book, in fact, it is one of the better lighthouse books ever written. Packed with information and stunning color and archival photographs, the Lighthouse Encyclopedia can easily be your one step resource guide for all things lighthouse related. The hard cover book with 274 pages is available from www.LighthouseDepot.com or by calling 1-800-758-1444. It is available as item # 91348 for $27.95 plus shipping.

Did Santa also miss this one?

Okay, so we’re doing a little advertising in the Keepers Korner, but sometimes we all miss or don’t see something new. The new video Lighthouses of Maine, A Journey through Time is getting rave reviews everywhere and from the amount of mail we are getting about it, people are loving it. The one hour documentary is packed with stories and information on Maine lighthouses, some of which you probably have never heard before. Plus with its fantastic music score and great cinematography it’s well worth the watch. Oh, by the way, did I mention that it’s narrated by me? Lighthouses of Maine, A Journey Through Time is available on line at www.LighthouseDepot.com in DVD as item #26251 and VHS as item #26250 for $19.95 plus shipping or by calling 1-800-758-1444.

Canadian Light-Keepers Residence Designated

The organization mandated with preserving Newfoundland and Labrador’s architectural heritage has designated the Cape Anguille lighthouse keeper’s house as a heritage property. Currently the building is being restored by Linkum Tours as tourist accommodations. Linkum Tours has already restored on lighthouse inn on Quirpon Island and is familiar with the challenges and opportunities such restoration presents. Ed English of Linkum Tours believes the light-keepers residence will be the architectural jewel in the Cape Anguille Project.

History lost but lighthouse takes form

Gibralter, Michigan lost one of its most historic buildings with the demolision of the old city hall. However, taking its place is a new building that has a lighthouse attached to it. Now, if we can only find some subscribers to send us photos, we’d sure appreciate it.

New job

Bob Trapani has left his position as executive director of the Indian River Life Saving Station to devote full time to the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation whose board of directors voted to pay the former volunteer a salary. As reality begins to set in, it is becoming more and more obvious that in order to succeed non-profits can only go forward with a paid staff, volunteers simply cannot do all of the work. We wish Bob the best of success. Bob will be the guest speaker at the American Lighthouse Foundation spring event on Cape Cod this spring.

This story appeared in the March 2004 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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