Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2011

Keeper's Korner

By Timothy Harrison


Ida Lewis Case Dies at 99

Ida Lewis (Jansen) Case, who was the daughter of Edward Jansen, the last lighthouse keeper at Rhode Island’s Lime Rock Lighthouse from 1911 to 1927, has passed away at the age of 99. Born on December 7, 1911, Ida Lewis Case was the last person to have been born at the Lime Rock Lighthouse. She was name after Ida Lewis who was the famous lighthouse keeper of the Lime Rock Lighthouse from 1879 to 1911. Prior to that, her father, Hosea Lewis, was the lighthouse keeper at Lime rock Lighthouse from 1854 to 1872 and her mother was the keeper from 1872 to 1879. However, during many of those years Ida Lewis performed the lighthouse keeping duties of her parents until she was officially appointed as the lighthouse keeper. Ida Lewis’s acts of heroism have been well documented and written about. In 1924 the name of the Lime Rock Lighthouse was changed in honor of Ida Lewis to the Ida Lewis Rock Lighthouse. Today the lighthouse is the home to the Ida Lewis Yacht Club..

Movie in the Works

Authors Casey Sherman and Michael Tougias would like to see a movie made about their book, “The Finest Hours,” that details the Coast Guard’s heroic rescue of 70 sailors off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts in a winter storm in 1952. Leading the rescue was the good friend to lighthouses, the late Bernie Webber. The 36-foot rescue boat, now restored is on display at the Orleans Historical Society in Orleans, Massachusetts. From whet we hear, the chances of this movie being made are pretty good.

Vandals Destroy Lighthouse Exhibit

Vandals destroyed the outdoor art exhibit at the Fraserburg’s Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. Museum officials said the vandalism will now prevent them from having future outdoor exhibits.

Nauset Light Activist Dies

Pam Nobili who served as a past president and past treasurer of the Nauset Light Preservation Society on Cape Cod, Massachusetts has passed away. It was nearly 20 years ago that Pam and her husband Conrad started to get involved in saving Nauset Lighthouse from toppling over the bluff. They and others formed the Nauset Light Preservation Society that helped raise money to move the lighthouse, the keeper’s house and the oil house to a new location, a process that took two years to complete in 1996 to 1998. Our condolences go out to her family and friends.

New Dungeness Gets Artifacts

Washington’s New Dungeness Light Station recently received some unique artifact donations. Gene Hasson donated an old fog horn that that he saved from the trash at the lighthouse in 1952 and Bill Byrd, who was OIC at the lighthouse in the 1970s, donated a “New Dungeness L/S” branding iron that was once used at the lighthouse.

Little River Gets Artifact

Delia Farris, whose great grandfather, Roscoe Johnson and her grandfather, Willie W. Corbett, were both lighthouse keepers at Maine’s Little River Lighthouse, recently donated a U.S. Lighthouse Establishment oil measuring can to the lighthouse. The rare artifact dates to the 1870s or earlier.

Trips Offered to Thacher Island’s Light

Every Wednesday, until September 10, (weather permitting) you will have a chance to visit the historic twin lighthouses at Thacher Island, Massachusetts. Trips depart at 9 AM and return at 1 PM from the Rockport, Massachusetts town dock next to the Sandy Bay Yacht Club. Only 12 people can go on each trip and reservations are required by calling 617-599-2590.

Overfalls Lightship Designated

The Overfalls Lightship has now been awarded National Historic Landmark status. This is in addition to it being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lightship is now a museum in Lewes, Delaware.

Pittaway Honored

Louis Pittaway was recently honored at the Sentinels of the Sound event in New London, Connecticut for her 35 years of dedication to the maritime community and as curator of the Old Stonington Lighthouse. We congratulate her and thank her for her years of dedication.

Cracks at Marblehead Lighthouse

Ohio’s Marblehead Lighthouse was closed briefly when cracks were discovered in the tower. However, engineers who were called in to examine the cracks said they were superficial and would only require cosmetic fixing. They deemed the lighthouse totally safe saying it would be standing for another 100 years.

Visitors Center Wanted

Doug and Sue Hilton who own the Sutton Bridge East Lighthouse in England want to turn the site into a visitor’s center and museum. Although it is called a lighthouse, the structure, along with the Sutton Bridge West Lighthouse, both built in 1831, never functioned as real lighthouses. Although they both look like lighthouses they were built as day-marks to guide ships into the cut by the mouth of the River Nene.

Lighthouse For Sale

New York State’s Crossover Island Lighthouse. Located in the 1000 Islands region the restored lighthouse station was listed on E-Bay for $599,000. The contact phone # listed for more information was Cathy Garlock at 315-462-6000.

Fort Gratiot to be Restored

The Port Huron City Council has approved $373,000 toward the restoration of Michigan’s Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. Other money raised by St. Clair County and the Friends of Fort Gratiot Light will go toward replacing the roof of the fog signal building and an out-building.

Historic Bramble For Sale

The former United States Coast Guard Cutter Bramble, one of only three Coast Guard cutters to successfully navigate a northwest passage (east to west) through the Arctic Ocean, is now being put up for sale. The asking price is currently $300,000. Since decommissioning in 2003, the 180-foot Bramble has been owned by the Port Huron Museum in Port Huron, Michigan. The museum says it can no longer afford to keep the historic vessel.

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This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 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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