Digest>Archives> September 2005

Links in Hawaiian Lighthouse History

Past and Present

By Joseph C. Heim


You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
Manuel Ferreira family in 1926. Front L to R: ...

Lighthouse Digest is a vital link between the past and present. It has chronicled the history of the world’s lighthouses and continues to do so with each issue. At this point, I will begin my story. In the June 1998 issue, the Lighthouse Digest printed my story, “Lighthouse Living in Hawaii.” In the February 2003 issue were photos of scaled down models of lighthouses built by John Ferreira, with a remark saying he was the son of a lighthouse keeper. Instantly, I knew he was the son of the legendary lighthouse keeper, Manuel Ferreira. We were soon in touch by telephone, all the while recording on audiotape our conversation. John and his wife, Jacqueline, who reside on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. We recalled many events – some happy, some sad. Our fathers worked as keepers at Kalaupapa, Molokai and at Makapuu Point on Oahu. Incidentally, John purchased the lens for his lighthouse models from Lighthouse Depot, as well as his keeper’s cap. When he’s out and about, people ask questions about his cap.

You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
Lighthouse keepers at Kalaupapa, Molokai in 1927. ...

At Kalaupapa, Molokai, each keeper had a vegetable plot to supplement their food supply. In addition, Manuel raised chickens and rabbits. John and my brother, George, both eight years of age, laughed at pranks played on each other. John would set mousetraps with cheese. The bait would disappear but no mice! He soon learned, by surveillance, that my brother, George was eating the cheese! Another time, while John waited silently in the feed shed to shoot mice with a pellet gun, George would give an Indian yell, scaring the mice away. John had to resort to a shot at my brother’s posterior, hurting only his vanity!

You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
Wild goat hunting in Molokai in 1927. L to R: ...

At Makapuu on Oahu, other memorable events were recalled. John remembers watching and waving at crewmen from the Army Air Corp. Keystone Bombers as they flew by, noticing two open cockpits (front and rear) with crewmen manning 50 caliber machine guns with a center cockpit for the pilot. In later years, he watched the Pan American China Clipper dump fuel on its way to landing at Pearl City, adjacent to Pearl Harbor. Whale and porpoise watching from the lighthouse was spectacular, a spectator’s dream. Many years passed, but not without tragedy. John writes of losing his oldest brother Frank at age 53, who fell overboard at night while on a cabin cruiser between Molokai and Lanai and was never found.

You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
Lighthouse keepers' homes at Makapuu Point, Oahu, ...

One highlight worth mentioning is the Coast Guard dedication of a new supply building on Sand Island, Honolulu Harbor, on February 28, 1995, in honor of Manuel Ferreira for bravery and dedication to duty. John mailed a video of the dedication ceremony to me. It was very impressive and Manuel was well deserving of it.

You can see an enlarged version of this picture by clicking here.
>> Click to enlarge <<
John Ferreira with his model lighthouses at home ...

Our monthly alternating phone calls rekindle additional

memories – some old, some current. The three keepers’ homes at Makapuu have been demolished because of constant vandalism. John was able to obtain a stone from one of the houses as a keepsake. We have exchanged pictures of our past as well as memorabilia. John

mailed to me, by way of the Lighthouse Depot, a miniature Diamond Head Lighthouse. One coincidence I want to share: John and I both worked at Pearl Harbor during World War II; he as a timekeeper in Shop 11 Shipfitter Shop and I as a timekeeper in Shop 70 Public Works and Maintenance.

This story appeared in the September 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.

All contents copyright © 1995-2024 by Lighthouse Digest®, Inc. No story, photograph, or any other item on this website may be reprinted or reproduced without the express permission of Lighthouse Digest. For contact information, click here.

to Lighthouse Digest

USLHS Marker Fund

Lighthouse History
Research Institute

Shop Online

Subscribe   Contact Us   About Us   Copyright Foghorn Publishing, 1994- 2024   Lighthouse Facts     Lighthouse History