Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2012

A History Mystery Still Unanswered

By Timothy Harrison


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The U.S. Lighthouse Establishment, and later the ...

Ten years ago we published a short story about the many replica models that were once on display at the offices of the Bureau of Lighthouse in Washington. At that time we asked what happened to those models. We still don’t know and no one has come forward with any clues as to their whereabouts. So, we thought we would write about this again. A small story about these models appeared in the June 1938 Lighthouse Service Bulletin which reads as follows:

Holland Island Bar Lighthouse, which is typical of a number of structures in Chesapeake Bay, stands in 9 feet of water and is supported by a braced wrought iron framework similar to, but smaller than, those used off the Florida coast. This foundation supports a dwelling housing two keepers, from which rises a tower with a fourth order lantern.

A very fine scale model of this structure has been constructed and presented to the Bureau by Lewis R. Carman, now second assistant keeper of Smith Point Light Station. This model will be added to a number of others which are kept on display at the Bureau offices in Washington as a matter of public interest, including such stations as Tillamook Rock, Fowey Rocks etc.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Lighthouse Service (Bureau of Lighthouses) was dissolved one year later and merged into the Coast Guard. So, where are the models? Does the Coast Guard have them? Where they given to the Smithsonian? Were they given to office employees when the Lighthouse Service was dissolved?

If any of our readers can help solve this mystery please e-mail us at editor@lighthousedigest.com or by mail to P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.

This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2012 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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