Digest>Archives> Mar/Apr 2011

National Model Repository Called For

By Timothy Harrison


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According to the caption published with this photograph in 1937, model-making was popular with employees of the United States Lighthouse Service. To us modern day lighthouse historians, this is not new news. In fact, there are many written accounts of stories telling of keepers making models of one thing or another.

For example, it was widely reported that Daniel Doyle, the keeper at Maine’s Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse from 1915 to 1918, occupied much of his time making ship models. Gus Wilson, who served at a number of Maine lighthouses, made extra money carving wood bird decoys, and some of those today, which are worth tens of thousands of dollars, are held in museums and private collections. Shown here are members of the crew of the Lighthouse Service Lighthouse Tender Iris displaying some of their model-making abilities.

The question now arises; what happened to all the models built by the lighthouse keepers and the crews of lighthouse vessels? Obviously, there must be some on display at museums around the country and others in private collections.

It seems to us that there should be some type of national repository where photographs and information about these models should be kept, and we here at Lighthouse Digest are willing to take the lead on this project.

However, the only way this can be accomplished is with the help of the many lighthouse groups and our subscribers around the world.

All you need to do is send a photo of the item to Editor@LighthouseDigest.com along with information on the item, such as who made it, approximately when it was made, and at what lighthouse or vessel it was made at, along with any other information that might be pertinent.

Photos can also be mailed to us at P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630. We’ve planted the idea; now the rest is up to you. If we get enough photos, we will publish them in a future issue of Lighthouse Digest.

This story appeared in the Mar/Apr 2011 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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