Harry Spencer is never at a loss for words, especially when it comes to his favorite subject - lighthouses. At 85 years of age, the sparkle remains bright as ever in his eyes regardless of whether he is taking senior citizens on a trip in their minds down memory lane or fascinating students with stories from "a very long time ago" about Delaware’s lighthouse history. As one of the volunteer facilitators for Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation educational programs, Harry relies on firsthand experience to teach others about the importance of our lighthouse heritage and why it is worth fighting to save lighthouses through today’s preservation efforts.
Having been born at Liston Range Rear Light in 1920, Harry retains a myriad of memories from his 22 years of growing up as a lighthouse kid during his father’s (Harry, Sr.) tenure as keeper of Liston Range Rear Light and Liston Range Front Light - memories he thoroughly enjoys sharing with others. So no matter where the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation takes their lighthouse educational programs - senior centers, classrooms or civic organizations, you can count on Harry being right in the middle of all the fun and learning.
Searching for a more effective way to teach others about how range lights like the Liston Range work to safeguard shipping, Harry applied his woodworking skills to create beautiful, lighted models of the real thing. "The models were very time consuming," says Spencer. "I placed approximately 50 hours in each model. Every piece was hand-cut to fit and then painted, but it was worth it. The models will allow people to see what each of the lighthouses looked like construction-wise, while visually demonstrating an occulting light in the front beacon and a fixed light in the rear beacon. The lights will also allow people to gain a better understanding of how a range system operates during our lighthouse educational programs."
This story appeared in the
April 2005 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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