Digest>Archives> September 1997



The Rensselaer Beacon Newspaper of Rensselaer, NY uses, you guessed it, a lighthouse in their logo.

Speaking of lighthouses in logos, the Commodore Restaurant in Beverly uses a lighthouse in all their newspaper ads.

Thanks to the Cape Codder Newspaper on Cape Cod, Mass. Their July 18 edition featured a full three page article on the restoration of Race Point Light in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The lighthouse is being restored by the New England Lighthouse Foundation. To help with the donations, send your check to the Race Point Committee, P.O. Box 1690, Wells, Maine 04090.

The New England Lighthouse Foundation thanks Bev Schrieber for her recent donation. As you may or may not know Bev has a series of wonderful lighthouse prints and her ever popular lighthouse checks. If you don't have her lighthouse checks for your bank account and would like an order form, please call us toll free at 1-800-758-1444.

Eight Michigan lighthouses have been declared excess property by the Coast Guard, among them the famous Big Sable Light near Ludington. Under the plan the lighthouses will first be offered to other government agencies before being offered to historical societies.

The captain of the inbound ship Aegeo has been blamed for hitting the Ambrose Light tower off the New Jersey coast last October. According to the Board of Inquiry, the captain misjudged the distance between his vessel, the Ambrose Light Tower and a southbound container ship. (How he could have misjudged the distance of a 12 story lighthouse is anybody's guess.) The 30 year old tower, which stands 15 miles south of the harbor entrance, now needs $295,000 in repairs. If the repairs make the structure stable, $100,000 in new electronics will still have to be installed. If the repairs are not successful in stabilizing the tower, and it has to be torn down, it will cost the government $2 million to build a replacement.

Lighthouse Digest has classified Michigan's Crisp Point Lighthouse as the most endangered lighthouse in America. If you would like to visit their web site you can reach them at-http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Trails/7468

A coalition of Canadian mariners, pilots and communities whose residents depend on lightstation weather data are hounding the Canadian Government to stop the destaffing of its lighthouses. However, their efforts may be in vain, since the Canadian Coast Guard has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing the sites for destaffing. If the lights are destaffed, the local communities should step in at once and take over the stations before they meet with decay from the elements and vandalism. The stations can be money makers for local communities. Let's see what happens.

The State Legislature of Delaware has given $75,000 to the Fenwick Island Lighthouse for restoration work. Congratulations. Perhaps the Maine State Legislature could learn something from Delaware.

Plymouth Light in Massachusetts will be moved this fall. The light also known as Gurnet Light sits on an eroding cliff and was one of the original 13 colonial lights in America. Thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard, it will be saved.

Maine's famous Nubble Light (Cape Neddick Light Station) now has a Friends of Nubble Light organization. If you would like to join, write to them for a membership application at: Friends of Nubble Light, P.O. Box 9, York, Maine 03909. Dues of $25.00 per year help maintain the historic lighthouse and the Sohier Park by the lighthouse.

As of this writing, the Island Heritage Trust is the only group that has filed an interest in ownership of Maine's Deer Island Thorofare Lighthouse. The title to the lighthouse falls under the jurisdiction of the Maine Lights Program.

The new Commander of the First Coast Guard District which still oversees some of the most historic lighthouses in America, is Rear Admiral Richard Larrabee. He will live in the spacious lighthouse quarters at Hospital Point Lighthouse in Massachusetts.

We are trying to compile a list of countries that have issue coins with lighthouses. If you know of any please write to us. We know of the following . . Barbados-5 cents from 1973-91; Barbados-5 cents in 1976; Canada-25 cents in 1992; Jersey-25 cents in 1992 and Cuba-5 pesos in 1984.

Maine, known for its clean air, had some problems this summer. The air-quality monitors at Marshall Point Lighthouse reached unhealthy levels three times during the month of June. The highest concentration of ozone was recorded at the Port Clyde Station on the afternoon of June 21, when the level reached 104 parts of ozone per billion parts of air.

Pooles Island Light in Maryland has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. Too many times we think that all the lighthouses are on the National Register, but many were never nominated. Is your local lighthouse on the National Register?

Yaquina Head Light in Oregon will now be undergoing some restoration. The work consists of exterior painting, including caulking and glazing the windows.

Maine's new Outdoor Heritage scratch lottery tickets feature a beautiful artist rendition of West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. Maximum prize on the instant ticket is $3000. If nothing else, they make a neat collector's item.

The Friends of Nash Island say they want the little lighthouse that the government plans to give up under the Maine Lights Program. If anyone is interested in donating money to help them in their cause to restore what is left of the station, write to the group at: Friends of Nash Island Light, RR 1, Box 331, Addison, Maine 04606.

Manuel Soares Macedo died this past July at age 88. Born in Newport, RI, he was the first U.S. Coast Guard Keeper at Rhode Island's Castle Hill Lighthouse. He served with the United States Coast Guard for 25 years, retiring as a chief warrant officer in 1954. He was a witness to the sinking of the vessel Black Point in 1945 from the Castle Hill Lighthouse. The ship was torpedoed by a German U-Boat, which was later sunk by American depth charges off Block Island, Rhode Island.

A new rose bush and plaque have been installed at the Sohier Park Welcome Center by Maine's Nubble Lighthouse in memory of local police officer, Charlie Brown. The young police officer died last year of a heart attack. Bill Thomson, author of the book Nubble Light and a close friend of Brown, compared Brown to Nubble Light, when he said, "He was a light that never failed. He was York's community policing officer before community policing took effect."

Vandalism now seems to be on ongoing problem at Canada's Head Harbor Lighthouse on Campobello Island. The station, also referred to as East Quoddy Lighthouse, has been hit hard this year. Picnic tables have been dumped over the cliffs, the flag was stolen from the flagpole, the donation box broken into, etc. One time the donation box was smashed for only a quarter. One picnic table, found floating in the ocean was recovered by volunteers, but the others were all lost. Will vandalism ever stop?

Some of the locals in Lubec, Maine have offered a proposal to turn West Quoddy Light into a hostel. We think that would be an excellent choice. Many lighthouses around the country are now operated as hostels. It is a good alternative and an inexpensive way for many people to spend the night at a lighthouse.

The old Avery Point Light on the University of Connecticut's campus is in bad shape. The light, built in 1943, is deteriorating rapidly and school officials claim the light is a safety hazard. We will keep you posted.

A lighthouse to draw tourists to Long Beach California's downtown waterfront is an idea being presented by some members of the town's city council. A lighthouse has always been considered for the Queensway Bay tourism and retail project by the Long Beach Aquarium, but wasn't included in the original designs. That may now change. Some believe that with the popularity of lighthouses on the increase, the lighthouse would be a mecca for lighthouse buffs. We agree.

The Barnegat Historical Society is going ahead with the restoration of the old butcher shop that was heavily damaged by fire and once housed their museum. The old butcher shop was built in 1910 from wood salvaged from the Barnegat (NJ) Lighthouse Keepers Quarters which was originally built decades earlier. Prior to being a butcher shop, it had been a barber shop.

Boston Light has a new keeper. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Dean Stanton took over the duties from Petty Officer Reed Hair. By federal law, Boston Light is the only manned lighthouse in the nation. The law was passed to keep the tradition alive at America's first light station.

The folks at Colorful Images have just come out with new really neat lighthouse return address labels. To get their current catalog call 1-800-458-7999 or write to Colorful Images, 1401 South Sunset Street, Longmont, CO 80501.

The beautiful photo of Oregon's Cape Mears Lighthouse that appears on the cover of the Early Fall '97 Lighthouse Depot catalog was taken by Rick Sturgill. Nice job Rick!

Karen McDonell at Michigan's White River Lighthouse is trying to get the lighthouse totally restored by the year 2000. That's when she wants to have the biggest birthday party of all for the lighthouse, when it turns 125 years old. Can she do it? Plan on attending the birthday party and you'll find out.

The Lighthouse Park District and Donald J. Terras have recently been honored for achievements in the preservation of Illinois's Grosse Point Lighthouse. They received the Margery Perkins Award which is the highest award granted by the City of Evanston's Preservation Commission, and the Richard H. Driehaus Award, which is the highest award available from the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois. Congratulations. By the way, Donald's book on the Grosse Point Lighthouse is still available from Lighthouse Depot at 1-800-758-1444. If you don't have a copy, not many are left. It's item #91723 and costs $35.00.

It now seems that even the local newspaper in Holland, Mich, has finally taken a stand in favor of access to its famous Holland Harbor Lighthouse. The lighthouse tours were cancelled this year due to safety concerns, which, in effect, was a lame excuse. However, the Holland Evening Sentinel in their July 10th edition stated, "The situation seems to pit lakefront residents against the greater community. Rather than engage in confrontation, we encourage people concerned about the lighthouse to work with the property owners and the Lighthouse Commission. Lighthouse fans can work with the commission to raise funds to help make Big Red safe enough for public tours and can negotiate with property owners on greater access to the breakwater. Big Red (lighthouse) is second only to the tulip as a symbol of Holland. We hope a solution can be found to make it accessible as possible."

However, in an editorial in the Grand Rapids Press, that appeared on July 25, this newspaper took a much stronger and commendable stand, saying that the lighthouse now has a strong ally in U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra who now wants a deal negotiated between land owners and lighthouse buffs to allow access to the lighthouse. The newspaper went on to say, "Mr. Hoekstra can play several cards without trampling on cottagers' property rights: The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is the most obvious starting point. The Corps regularly dredges the Lake Macatawa channel and dumps the sand on shore just south of the pier, helping replenish private beaches. That's a favor; not a necessity, and one that the public subsidizes. The sand just as easily could be used to beef up public beaches. In exchange for sand on private beaches, the Corps should require public access to Big Red (lighthouse). The Corp also holds a lease for about one quarter acre of land that Mr. Van Andel uses for his deck. (referring to one of the founders of Amway who has led the battle to keep public access from Big Red). He pays several thousand dollars per year for that privilege. The Army doesn't have to rent the property - at any price. Mr. Van Andel should be gracious enough to give the public access to the lighthouse." The newspaper also went on to say that the Lighthouse Commission should have their lease revoked since most of the members are private property owners who are stopping public access to the lighthouse, using liability insurance as an excuse. We agree.

Wow! Leave it up to New Jersey to do it again. The state of New Jersey wants its residents to show everyone how proud they are of their state by wearing state designed caps and shirts. They even have a special lighthouse series of promotional items honoring the state's historic beacons. (Maine and other states could do well to learn from the folks in New Jersey.) The items are available through the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism. For a free travel guide you can call them at 1-800-Jersey-7, ext 7014.

Although we haven't seen a picture of it, we hear that the Boy Scouts from Troop 118 from Port Huron Michigan built a 45 foot tall lighthouse for the National Boy Scout Jamboree. We hear that after the Jamboree, it will be on display at its new permanent home at the Silver Trials Campground in Jeddo. Hopefully, someone will send us a photograph of it.

The momentum to get behind a move for Cape Hatteras Lighthouse continues to build. The Daily Courier Newspaper of Forest City, NC issued an editorial in support of the move. The article, in part, said, "It makes no sense for the U.S. Government to spend any more money trying to save the tallest lighthouse in America at its current site . . . Moving the lighthouse is the only feasible option."

Another newspaper has also come out in support of the move. In an editorial by Eric Carlson in the Brunswick Beacon he said, "The candle burning at both ends of the political spectrum is none other than our own candy-striped Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest of its kind in the United States . . . If something isn't done soon, it is going to be the tallest, most widely recognized landmark ever to fall into the Atlantic Ocean."

These newspapers of course are coming out now in support of the move. Key members of the House of Representatives have agreed to allocate $2 million for the move. The problem is, the move will cost $12 million. The $2 million the House is allocating is the cost to planning the move and clearing the move site. A team of geologist has concluded that the lighthouse can withstand a move. And the clock keeps ticking. I'll bet if the lighthouse falls over all those politicians that are still against spending money to move the lighthouse will suddenly say they were in support of the move.

It's official! Ownership of Michigan's Crisp Point Lighthouse has been transferred from the Federal Government to Luce County. We have listed Crisp Point as the most endangered lighthouse in America.

It's underway. The ground-breaking ceremony was held for the Tuckerton Seaport reconstruction. The New Jersey Lighthouse Society, represented by Al & Betty Smith and Harry & Debbie Megonigal, were on hand for the ceremony. The New Jersey lighthouse group has donated $1000 to date toward the reconstruction of the Tuckers Island Lighthouse which was toppled by a storm in 1927.

Open house tour dates for weekends at Sandy Hook Lighthouse for the fall months are available by calling the Gateway National Area at 908-872-5959. The tours are being conducted by members of the New Jersey Lighthouse Society.

This story appeared in the September 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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