Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2013

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comment from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison



We are saddened to report of the passing of Thomas F. Roberts who worked tirelessly from 1970 to the present to make Long Island New York’s Fire Island Lighthouse the visitors’ destination that it is today. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

North Head Transferred

Washington State’s North Head Lighthouse had its ownership officially transferred at a ceremony at the lighthouse this past June. The transfer of ownership was officially approved back in 1993, but because of complications, it could not happen until now. The 115 year-old lighthouse, now owned by the Washington State Parks, will be cared for in a partnership with the Keepers of North Head Lighthouse.

NLM Gets $105,000 donation

New York City Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis surprised attendees at a fundraiser for the National Lighthouse Museum by making a whopping $105,000 donation to the long-stalled museum. At the beginning of the evening fund raiser, he presented the museum with a donation of $5,000 toward the goal of $350,000 that the museum must reach by the end of the year in order to officially secure a lease on the historic Staten Island building that was once the headquarters of the Staten Island (St.George) Lighthouse Depot. But, as the evening fund raiser was coming to a close he stunned the attendees by promising a second check, this time for $100,000, as a matching grant donation. Interestingly, the mayoral candidate’s father, Andreas Catsimatidis, was the lighthouse keeper of the lighthouse on Kandelioussa Island in Greece from 1931 to 1947.”

Elements Take Their Toll

America’s tallest lighthouse, Cape Hatteras, is looking a little shabby lately. It seems that lighthouses need constant work. We’ve been told that bids are out for the restoration work.

Heceta Head Award

Oregon’s Heceta Head Lighthouse, which reopened this past June after a $1.6 million restoration project that used 100 subcontractors and craftspeople who worked on the restoration project, won the Oregon Heritage Commission’s 2013 Oregon Heritage Excellence Award.

Vandals Strike

The Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club, known around the world for its famous, highly detailed replicas of actual lighthouses on Arizona’s Lake Havasu, has reported that vandals struck its replica of Minnesota’s Split Rock Lighthouse when they spray-painted it with graffiti. Previously, other idiot morons spray-painted the replica of Ohio’s Vermillion Lighthouse.

Graffiti at Illinois Beacon

The headless Waukegan Harbor Lighthouse in Waukegan, Illinois has become a magnet for graffiti vandals. The Coast Guard will only repaint the tower twice a year. The Coast Guard says that the penalty for defacing government property could be up to 20 years in jail. Apparently that’s not enough of a deterrent in a nation where moral decay is becoming more and more evident.

Thieves Target Lorain Light

Ohio’s Lorain Lighthouse, which has been undergoing restoration for years, was broken into by thieves. It was reported that several items were stolen, including a telescope. The value of the stolen items was $2,000.

Sheffield Light Burglarized

The Sheffield Island Lighthouse in Norwich, Connecticut was struck by burglars who damaged a door when they broke in to steal soda, water, and potato chips and strew garbage about.

Remains Found

After three days of searching, members of the National Lighthouse Museum and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) believe that they have found remnants of New York’s Old Orchard Shoal Lighthouse in 17 feet of water in the Raritan Bay. Museum officials will now work with the Harbor School and Diving Club to positively identify the chucks of metal lying in 53 separate debris fields as those of the lighthouse to see what can be salvaged. The long range goal is to rebuild the lighthouse that was destroyed in Super Storm Sandy.

GSA Auctions

At press time, the bidding for four lighthouses was well underway at GSA on-line auctions. Bidding for Graves Lighthouse in Boston Harbor was at $761,088, the Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse in Connecticut was stopped at $340,000 while only one bid of $10,000 had been placed for Orient Point Lighthouse in New York. The bid for Butler Flats Lighthouse in Massachusetts was at $25,000.

Crowds at Irish Beacon

So many people have visited Ireland’s Loophead (Loop Head) Lighthouse that the Clare County Council that manages the lighthouses has extended the hours of operation of the lighthouse. Now in its third season of being open, over 6,500 people visited from the beginning of June to the middle of July alone. The guest book indicates that 25% of those people were from outside of the British Isles.

Cape Arago Gets New Owner

The ownership of the Cape Arago Lighthouse near Charleston, Oregon has finally taken place after the initial federal legislation was passed back in 2008. The Coast Guard and the federal government turned over ownership of the lighthouse to the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw at a ceremony on August 3, 2013. The Transfer of ownership included the entire Gregory’s Point Chief’s Island and the surrounding 24 acres.

Roberts Recollections

Semond Ponsart Roberts, along with Jeremy D’Entremont, have published a book, Everyday Heroes, The True Story of a Lighthouse Family that is about Seamond’s memories of growing up at lighthouses. This is one of the better books to have been published in a number of years that provides first-hand true life memories of life at lighthouses on the edge of civilization. Her memories and emotions, with good humor, a sharp eye for detail, and above all, an appreciation for a nostalgic look at a way of life that can never again be repeated in history shows in the pages of this soft cover, 224 page book with black and white photos. It can be ordered from Lighthouse Digest as item #2131 for $16.99 at www.LighthouseDigest.com.

Little River Lighthouse

The Friends of Little River Lighthouse is looking for volunteer caretakers for the 2014 season. If you are able to handle a small outboard engine boat, are willing to work hard, are good with people, and want to help keep an historic light station shining into the future; apply to be a caretaker.

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 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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