Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2012

Keeper’s Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Old Cape Henry Open

Virginia’s 1798 Old Cape Henry Lighthouse opened after structural engineers said the tower was safe. The lighthouse closed after the August earthquake when cracks in the tower were discovered.

Scouts Help Sheffield Island

Last summer Boy Scouts from Troop 19 of Norwalk and Troop 5 of Stamford, Connecticut installed foundations and a deck for solar panels at that state’s Sheffield Island Lighthouse. The scouts got to experience what is what like for a real lighthouse keeper in the days of yesteryear. In what was described as terrifying weather, they were forced to spend the night in the lighthouse rather than camping on the grounds.

Clark’s Point in Danger Again

It is reported that Clark’s Point Lighthouse in New Bedford, Massachusetts is again in danger. The lighthouse, once on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List was restored and relit in an elaborate and magnificent ceremony on June 15, 2001. The ceremony was attended by over 3,000 people. I clearly remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was there and addressed the crowd. But, since then, New Bedford officials have been unable to prevent vandalism at Fort Taber where the lighthouse is located. The door has been ripped off its hinges and the lantern room is in desperate need of restoration. To think that all the efforts made to save this lighthouse a few short years ago seems to have been in vain.

Lighthouse Service Announcement

The February, 1913 issue of the Lighthouse Service Bulletin (No. 14) issued by the Bureau of Lighthouses announced that “Thomas P. Brown has been reinstated as Superintendant of the Eighth Lighthouse District.” But that’s all it said. We wonder what the circumstances were that led up to this point. Was he put on leave, and if so why? If any of our readers have the information, we’d love to know more. We’d also like to learn about Thomas P. Brown and locate a photograph of him. He obviously played a signifigant role in lighthouse history.

Big Turn Out for NJ Challenge

Although we don’t have a count on how many people attended the October 2011 New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge, the turn was large. It was reported that an amazing 860 people registered at Cape May Lighthouse and approximately 400 of those climbed the 157-foot tall tower. In all there were 11 lighthouses and two life-saving stations that took place in the two-day event.

Photo Credits

Oops! In the last issue of Lighthouse Digest we forgot to give photo credits to Bob Trapani, Jr. for the photographs of the restoration work at Maine’s Wood Island Lighthouse. Bob is the Executive Director of the American Lighthouse Foundation which is headquartered in Rockland, Maine.

Trinity House Lighthouse For Sale

Trinity House, the organization that manages England’s lighthouses is selling the Hartland Point Lighthouse in Devon. The asking price is $798,000. The lighthouse was once manned by four lighthouse keepers who lived there with their families. The keeper’s homes were demolished to make room for a helipad, but there are three bedrooms in the living quarters of the lighthouse. The 16-acre site offers a gated entrance on a cliff with a spectacular coastline. However, it is reported that the access road is sometimes blocked by falling rocks, hence the reason for the helipad.

Larger Digs at Nubble

The Nubble Light Gift Shop by Maine’s famous Nubble Lighthouse (Cape Neddick Light Station) in York may be growing in size. The tiny gift shop, which also serves as the Welcome Center would all be enlarged as would the public washrooms at the facility. The tiny gift shop has two full time employees and 45 volunteers. Sohier Park by the lighthouse is visited by thousands of people each year, being one of the most viewed lighthouses in New England.

Group Leaves Squirrel Point

The Chewonki Foundation, which had been managing Maine’s Squirrel Point Lighthouse, has returned their license to the picturesque lighthouse back to the Coast Guard. The lighthouse has seen is share of trouble over the years. Hopefully the Citizens of Squirrel Point will step forward to ensure the future protection and care of the historic light-station.

St. Lawrence Light Reactivated

The privately owned Ogdensburg Harbor Lighthouse in Ogdensburg, New York has been re-activated as an aid to navigation. The lighthouse, which is not open to the public, can be easily seen from Ogdensburg Harbor boat dock.

LA Harbor Restoration

California’s Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse is undergoing a nearly $2 million restoration. The work includes re-metalizing its base and repairing holes in its stucco tower as well as repainting it.

Russian Lighthouse Identified

The lighthouse that appears on the Russian currency, which appeared on page seven in the last edition of Lighthouse Digest has been identified as the Cape Bryusa Lighthouse in the Khasan District on the Pacific Coast of the Russian Federation. The structure has also been referred to as Bryusa Lighthouse and the Cape Bruce Lighthouse. Our thanks go out to Bob Gryszka for being the first to contact us with identifying the lighthouse.

Lighthouse Plate Gone

Mississippi’s lighthouse automobile license plate is going into the pages of time. It seems that the state is required by law to replace the design of its license plates every five years and the lighthouse license plate will be replaced by one showing a guitar. The old plate showing the Biloxi Lighthouse, with a sunrise behind it, was meant to represent the recovery of the coastal areas from Hurricane Katrina. The new plate with the guitar is to honor Mississippi as the “Birthplace of America’s Music.”

Penfield Saga Continues

In now appears that the plan by a local group to raise money to buy Penfield Reef Lighthouse on behalf of the town of Fairfield, Connecticut is stalled. The group could only raise $20,000 toward the auction and other bidders have deeper pockets. However, the question of who owns the bottomlands is still an issue, which is the reason Beacon Preservation, the group that originally won the lighthouse at auction, backed out of the deal.

What Were They Advertising?

Believe it or not the cartoon advertisement shown in this issue was for an airline. The caption for the lighthouse keeper who was yelling from the tower to the man in the dory was, “American Airlines, Inc., carries more passengers than any other airline in the world.” This proves over and over again how the popularity of lighthouses have been used to sell or promote just about anything.

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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