Digest>Archives> November 1997

Keepers Korner

News & Notes from Everywhere


Keep those letters and cards coming in. We do read all our mail. But, please remember it is not possible to reply to every letter, as most would simply be acknowledgements. We try to print a few letters each month, but could never possibly print every letter and photo sent. You mail is important. Without it we would never learn of the many different things going on and get possible story ideas. So, keep writing. We love to hear from you, our loyal readers.

Thanks to Bill Vale who sent us the following information on countries that have issued coins with lighthouses: Barbados, 5 cents, in 1973; Canada, 25 cents in 1992; Dominican Republic, all coins in 1990; Gibralter, 2 pence in 1988; Great Britain, 1 pence in 1966; Jersey, 20 pence in 1984; Singapore, 150 dollar gold piece in 1969; and the Bahamas, 20 dollar gold piece in 1972.

The Danbury Mint has come out with a series of limited edition lighthouse patches. Each Lighthouse patch arrives in a protected vinyl casing and is mounted on a collector panel. Although, they are a little expensive at $14.95 each, many collectors might still be interested. For additional information write to: The Danbury Mint, 47 Richards Ave., Norwalk, CT 06857.

Hugh Morton, a long time environmentalist, was honored as North Carolina Press Association's North Carolinian of the year. Morton has devoted his career to preserving North Carolina landmarks, including the battleship North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Parkway. He has also been active in the saving of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. However, his position differs from many others. He does not want the lighthouse moved, and feels that the building of beaches around the lighthouse will protect its fragile structure from erosion. Morton feels that moving the lighthouse will put the tower in danger of structural damage and destroy the natural beauty of the coastline.

Starting this past October, the Wall Street Journal with every Wednesday's issue started a special section on New England business. The post card sent to subscribers announcing this new segment featured a beautiful artist's rendition on both sides of the card of Maine's West Quoddy Head Light.

Oliver Nagel, an eight year veteran with the police department of Rheinfelden, Germany, and Sabine Muller, a nurse at a German hospital, recently got married. And, as Paul Harvey would say "and now the rest of the story." It seems that Oliver had seen some photographs of Sanibel Island Lighthouse in Florida and decided that he would love to get married there. So the trip to the United States took place. Sanibel Police Officer Mark Steele served as best man for the wedding that took place on the porch of the keepers quarters overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

Kathy McInnis of Portland, Maine, who help write the American's with Disabilities Act says that if the city of South Portland takes over Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, they must make it wheel chair accessible. McInnis wants a paved walkway installed over the breakwater, with railings, to the lighthouse. She said "this is not a choice, it's the law." Now, I'm all for the ADA, but building a walkway over the rocks would be next to impossible. Next she will want an elevator installed in the lighthouse, which would be improbable. We can not violate one law, by altering historic properties, to appease another law.

The lantern room has been removed from Massachusetts Cape Pogue Lighthouse. It will not be permanent. The weather worn lantern room will be restored at a cost of $70,000. It has been airlifted to the mainland. In the meantime workmen are repairing the catwalk of the lantern room on the lighthouse. The 100 year old lantern room will be returned to the lighthouse as soon as it is restored.

Country music singers are getting into making videos featuring lighthouses. Watch TNN and CMT to catch Tim McGraw's "Not a Moment Too Soon"; Pam Tillis' "The River and the Highway"; and the newest one, Michael Petersons's "From Here to Eternity." There are others, but these feature a lighthouse quite prominently throughout the video. Hopefully, other producers and artists will follow.

Since Delaware was the first state of the United States of America they will be the first to have a new quarter with the design of their choice on the reverse side. The News Journal, a newspaper in Wilmington, Delaware, held a contest from their readers' designs. One of the finalists was a lighthouse design featuring the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse. The one picked as a winner, featured an outline of the state with '1st' written inside the boundaries and the date Dec. 7, 1787. The final decision will be made by state and federal treasury officials. We would urge our readers to write to their state and federal congressmen requesting a lighthouse. Out of the 50 new quarters to be designed we would hope that at least one of them will feature a lighthouse.

Speaking of Delaware, it's about time their state legislators did something about Mispilion Lighthouse. This would be an ideal time for the state to purchase the lighthouse and restore it as a tourist attraction. It's up to our Delaware subscribers to write their state congress.

The new book Lighthouse Families has proven to be so popular that a Lighthouse Families II is now being planned. If you don't have Lighthouse Families in your library, we would suggest you include it as soon as possible. It makes great reading. We would also highly recommend the book to school libraries.

Speaking of books, we hear that Bruce Roberts and Norma Kittrick are working on a new book about Lighthouse Ghosts. A publication date is not yet known. Bruce is widely known for his popular series of lighthouse books that he co-authored. If you know of any lighthouse ghosts stories that should be included in the book, write to: Norma Kittrick, Crane Hill Publishing, 3608 Clairmont Ave., Birmingham, AL 35222.

The Massachusetts Lighthouse Calendar for 1998, published by Klein Postcard Service, is selling like "hot cakes" in the small ocean town of Rockport, Massachusetts. Keeper George Carroll, whose picture is inside the front cover of the calendar as he changes the bulb in the north tower of Thacher Island Lighthouse, is autographing his picture on the calendar. For every autographed picture sold, the Thacher Island Association receives a percentage of the sales. The autographed pictures have been very popular and have even been purchased by people overseas. All proceeds received from the sales go towards the island Ramp Restoration Fund, with the hope that the island can again be open to the public. If you are interested in helping out and wish to buy this calendar, send your donation of $15.00 to the: The Carrolls, Box 36, Rockport, MA 01966 or call them at 1-978-546-7697.

A new memorial in York, Maine, overlooking the harbor, honors the local area fisherman who have been lost at sea. The 10-foot high, 13-foot wide granite monument memorializing them contains engravings of Maine's Boon Island Light, Nubble Light and Mt. Agamenticus, all three used by fishermen as a guide when entering the harbor. Also etched in the monument is a verse from the Navy Hymn: "O hear us when we cry to Thee, for those who peril on the sea."

The sunken presidential yacht of Presidents Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison has been found. The yacht "Despatch" was on its way to pick up President Harrison and Secretary of War Benjamin Tracy when it sunk on October 10, 1891. The ships lieutenant was quoted at the time as saying he mistook the orange light from Assateague Lighthouse for the offshore red light on the Winter Quarter Shoals Lightship. It was a 11/2 mile mistake, leading the yacht into the dangerous shoals near the island off Virginia's eastern shores. It is believed that the salvagers will find some interesting artifacts on board, since the vessel appears to be fully intact in only 22 feet of water.

A fish boil was held at the Kenosha Wisconsin Yacht Club to raise funds for the restoration of the Old Southport Lighthouse in Kenosha. The tower was discontinued in 1906 and stripped of its lantern room, which has now been replaced.

AAA South Jersey has just released Great Places in South Jersey a local travelogue on home video. The show features 30 interesting places to visit and includes the Cape May Lighthouse.

Painters have finished the restoration at Rhode Island's Sakonnet Lighthouse and the tower now looks like new. The painters were hired by the Friends of Sakonnet Lighthouse.

The next time you're in Rockland, Maine check out the Lighthouse Expresso 4 Stop. Operated in a lighthouse, the structure is just big enough to hold two people who sell the Expresso to drive up customers.

Speaking of Rockland, Maine, don't forget that Rockland is the home to the Shore Village Lighthouse Museum. Be sure to visit them when in Maine.

Some folks in Rhode Island don't want a National Lighthouse Museum while others do. The town selectmen by Beavertail Lighthouse voted to make a statement that they do not want a National Lighthouse Museum at the Beavertail Lighthouse. While on the other hand the town officials in Bristol, Rhode Island have voted to support a National Lighthouse Museum in their town. Even the Governor and a United States Senator are backing the idea. The problem is the United States Coast Guard has no immediate plans to decommission the Bristol Coast Guard Station.

The Gulliver Historical Society has reported that by the middle of September, Michigan's Seul Choix Point Lighthouse had over 10,000 visitors for their season. One of their current fund raising programs is the "Adopt a Brick" program which, for $35.00, entitles you to have your name engraved on a plaque on the wall. If you are interested in joining the group, or participating in their "Adopt a Brick" program, contact the Gulliver Historical Society, Gulliver, Michigan 49840.

Another great group we would recommend you join is the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society. You can contact them c/o Betty Parish, 6625 Candlewood Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210.

The Cannon Beach Historical Society in Seaside, Oregon dedicated a large scale model of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse this past September. On September 1, 1957, after flashing its warning light for 71 years, "Terrible Tilly" was turned off. Now, exactly 40 years later, the revolving light on this unique replica was turned on in a special dedication ceremony. The replica and the gazebo that houses it were donated to the Society by Bill and Georgia Hay.

A plan to build a working lighthouse as part of a downtown waterfront tourism project in Long Beach, CA. is on hold. The City Council delayed a vote until they were sure about being able to obtain funds to finance the project. The proposed lighthouse would be at the tip of Rainbow Harbor, across from the Long Beach Aquarium and would house the offices of the harbor master and public washrooms.

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard fell from Miahmaul LIghthouse (located in the middle of Delaware Bay) while assigned to painting the structure. He was taken by helicopter to a local hospital where he was treated for chest injuries. He is expected to fully recover.

The Greens Point Light Association (Canada) recently held an open house for the lighthouse in Letete. The purpose was a fund raiser and to raise public awareness to keep the lighthouse as an active part of the community.

If you are a collector of Harbour Lights limited edition collectibles, you will want the new "1997 Survival Guide to Harbour Lights Lighthouses" by Jim Rutherford. The book is jammed packed with all kinds of information and is a must have for any collector. It is available for $14.95 plus $4.95 shipping as item #91796 by calling toll free at 1-800-758-1444 or by mail to Lighthouse Depot, P.O. Box 427, Wells, Maine 04090.

Now that the fund raising has been nearly completed, work on the Fayerweather (Black Rock) Lighthouse in Connecticut is under way. Restoration plans call for rebuilding a protective rip rap in front of the lighthouse, interior and exterior masonry will be repointed, and it will be given a new look. To learn more about the restoration project, or make a donation to help complete the work write to the Black Rock Community Council, 20 Quinlan Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06605.

Artist Ron Sajack recently completed work on a 30 foot high, 100 foot wide mural for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police conference at the Capital Exhibit Center in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The mural, which covers the front wall of the Centre, is the largest of its kind in Atlantic Canada. It depicts a lighthouse, community police office, lobster pound, post office and bingo parlor. The mural has a 3-D effect and gives one the impression of walking right into a coastal fishing village.

A sugar bowl of the old United States Lighthouse Service has been donated to the Shore Village Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine. "It's one of a kind. It's the only one I've ever seen", said Ken Black, founder and director of the museum. The 6 inch wide, 4 inch high sugar bowl was donated by Doug and Barbara Cameron who were stationed at Pond Island Lighthouse, Egg Rock Light, Seguin Island Light and Mt. Desert Rock Light, all in Maine.

We are looking for old historical photographs of the North Brothers Island Lighthouse in New York. The lighthouse is in total ruins today, having been abandoned by the United States Coast Guard in 1953. If any of our readers can help us out with photographs, historical information, old newspaper stories etc., please write to us at Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 1690, Wells, Maine 04090.

This story appeared in the November 1997 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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