Digest>Archives> Mar/Apr 2013

Keeper’s Korner

By Timothy Harrison


Japanese Lighthouse Rebuilt

The lighthouse on the islet of Horaijima in the town of Otsuchi, Japan that was destroyed in the March 2011 tsunami has been rebuilt. The Japanese Coast Guard now says that eighteen of the 50 lighthouses that were heavily damaged in the disaster have now been restored.

Diamond Shoals Sold

The Diamond Shoals Lighthouse, a “Texas Tower,” off the coast of Buxton, North Carolina has been sold by the federal government at auction for $20,000 to Dave Schneider, a Minnesota businessman. His initial plans call for the tower to be restored and then turned into a research station for ZAP, which manufactures eco-friendly cleaning solutions from salt water.

Profit in Lighthouses

In 2005, when no nonprofit or government entity wanted Virginia’s Wolf Trap Lighthouse for free, the General Services Administration auctioned the lighthouse to the highest bidder for $75,000. In 2006 the lighthouse was sold to another person for $115,000. It’s now for sale again. The asking price this time is $288,000, and, according to news reports, it still needs restoration. Apparently there is a nice profit in buying and selling lighthouses. And here we are at Lighthouse Digest working six or seven days a week trying to save lighthouse history one subscription at a time. It makes me wonder.

No Move for Charlevoix

The Charlevoix South Pierhead Lighthouse in Charlevoix, Michigan will not be moved as part of a $2.5 million project to re-configure the pier. The Army Corps of Engineers says that about 240 feet of existing pier between the lighthouse and the shore will be removed. However, the lighthouse and the lake-ward portion of the pier will remain.

Taiwan Promotes Its Beacons

The government of Taiwan is undertaking an ambitious plan to promote its lighthouses as tourist attractions. Rather than abandon obsolete lighthouses like other countries have, they want them all to be well maintained and open to the public. Five lighthouses are now open to the public: Sandiaojiao, Kaohsiung, Yuweng Tao, and Tungyin Tao, the latter three of which are on Taiwan’s outlying islands. More lighthouses will be open in the future.

Moose Peak Lighthouse Sold

After the federal government rejected the application of a legitimate nonprofit for ownership of Maine’s Moose Peak Lighthouse, they auctioned it off to the highest bidder. The lighthouse was purchased by Donald J. Vaccaro of South Glastonbury, Connecticut for $93,500 who will now be responsible for its restoration and long-term care. However, the Moose Peak Lighthouse keeper’s house no longer stands have been blown up by the military.

Dick Moehl Retires

Dick Moehl, president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA), has retired – again. Since his retirement from the business world in 1988, Moehl went right back to work and devoted 100% of his time to the efforts of GLLKA, which is one of the largest and most successful nonprofit lighthouse preservation organizations in the world. The entire lighthouse community owes Dick Moehl a gigantic debt of gratitude for his amazing leadership of GLLKA and all the other national lighthouse preservation accomplishments that were made under his leadership. Dick said that, at age 82, it was time for new leadership. We can all be thankful and honored by the legacy he built at GLLKA and the fact that he left the organization in excellent financial shape. A book could probably be written about his accomplishments. Thank you Dick, you have helped to make the world a better place.

New Owner at Keeper’s House Inn

The Keeper’s House Inn on Isle au Haut, Maine, adjoining the Point Robinson Lighthouse, has been purchased by Dr. Marshall Chapman, a professor of geology. For many years it was operated as a bed and breakfast by Jeff and Judi Burke who retired and put the property up for sale for $2.5 million in 2007. Chapman will again open the property as a B&B. To learn more you can visit their web site at www.Keepershouse.com or call Sue MacDonald at 207-335-2990.

Lighthouse Heritage Conference to be Held

The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities and the Hellenic Navy Lighthouse Service will be hosting a seminar on the “PRESERVATION OF LIGHTHOUSE HERITAGE” in Piraeus, Greece from June 3 to 7, 2013. For those who are interested, or want to register for the conference, you can e-mail Contact@IALA-AISM.org or visit their web site at www.iala-aism.org.

Cape San Blas Ownership Awarded

The National Park Service has approved the application for ownership of Florida’s Cap San Blas Lighthouse to the city of Port St. Joe. This paves the way for the endangered lighthouse to be moved away from an eroding shoreline to an area now called BayPark. However, there is still a substantial amount of money that needs to be raised to move the lighthouse. The lighthouse is currently on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List of Endangered Lighthouses. Donations can be sent to St. Joseph Historical Society, Cape San Blas Lighthouse, P.O. Box 231, Port Joe, FL 32457.

New Owner for Race Rock

The General Services Administration is expected to announce this summer who will be the new owner of the Race Rock Lighthouse. Under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, two applicants applied for ownership, one of them being the New London Maritime Society.

Endangered Gay Head

The endangered Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard needs to be moved soon if it is to be saved. To help speed that process, Congressman William Keating appealed to the Coast Guard to immediately declare the lighthouse as excess property so that the town of Aquinnah or the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, or both of them in a partnership, can proceed to fund and make plans to move the lighthouse before it is too late to save it.

Grosse Point Makeover

The Grosse Point Lighthouse on the shores of Lake Michigan in Evanston, Illinois is getting a major makeover which will include remodeling the front steps, the keeper’s house, and the windows of the tower and towers doors as well as the roof and masonry for the exterior and front stairs and more. The lighthouse will be closed during renovations, but it is expected to reopen again this summer.

Casselberry Honored

Hib Casselberry, President Emeritus of Florida’s Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society, was honored last year by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution with their Historic Preservation Medal in recognition of his lifetime involvement in historic preservation. Congratulations Hib, you earned it. (Photo by Dennis Stemac.)

Grant for Beavertail

Rhode Island’s Beavertail Lighthouse Association has been awarded a $112,000 grant for the lighthouse. The grant, which came from The Van Buren Charitable Foundation, will be used to expand the museum, enhance exhibits, complete interior tower brickwork, spiral staircase repair, and the reopening of the doorway between the tower base and the keeper’s house in order to facilitate direct visitor access to the tower. The Beavertail Lighthouse is located within the grounds of Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, RI. It was established in 1759 and the current tower was built in 1856.

More problems for NLM

The proposed National Lighthouse Museum at the site of the former Lighthouse Depot on Staten Island, New York has suffered more setbacks over the years than can be reported in an entire issue of this magazine. According to the New York City Economic Corporation, Building 11, the future home of the museum, suffered over $200,000 in damage from Hurricane Sandy. However, this is not deterring the backers of the museum from moving ahead to raise $450,000 required for planned exhibits and displays developed by renowned architect Skolnick and Associates. Details of the museum design can be viewed at the NLM website at www.lighthousemuseum.org.

Bricks for Cape Canaveral

Florida’s Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation is currently reconstructing the original brick walkways at the lighthouse and you can purchase a memorial brick in memory of someone or to honor someone and to promote your organization or business. You can view the details on their web-site at www.CanaveralLight.org. Proceeds from the sale of the bricks will help rebuild exact replicas of the keeper’s quarters at the lighthouse. Only with your help can they make a difference.

A Noble Effort

The Noble Maritime Collection, the organization that owns the Robbins Reef Lighthouse, needs to raise $20,000 for repairs to the lighthouse caused by Hurricane Sandy. It was reported that the back door of the lighthouse was blown in and the doorframe and moldings were lost. Several feet of seawater washed into the structure’s first floor. Also railings were bent and the heavy granite piling stones were shifted. Donations can be sent to The Noble Maritime Collection, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Building D, Staten Island, NY 10301.

This story appeared in the Mar/Apr 2013 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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