Digest>Archives> Jul/Aug 2016

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments From The Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Congratulations to Jim Walker

Congratulations to Jim Walker who recently celebrated his 80th birthday. Jim Walker was the driving force who spearheaded the restoration of the once endangered 1876 Race Point Lighthouse that sits on the tip of Cape Cod near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Jim took over the helm of the Cape Cod Chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation since the chapter was founded in 1995. Additionally, Jim Walker has been involved in a number of other lighthouse restoration projects. Not only is he one of the more level-headed lighthouse preservationists, he is an all-around nice guy. Jim is shown here with his wife Sylvia.

Money for Split Rock

Minnesota’s famous Split Rock Lighthouse recently received a $68,000 grant that will be used toward a $136,000 cultural landscape report. That will provide guidance on potential activities and serve for long-term management of the historic site. Located in Two Harbors, Minnesota, the light station has been restored by the Minnesota Historical Society to the way it looked before 1924. Interpretive staff at the site portray the lives of 1920s keepers and their families.

Gay Head Reopens

After its historic move to save it from toppling over the eroding bluff, the Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts re-opened to the public this past Memorial Day weekend.

Volunteer Honored

Congratulations to Terry Rowden, a dedicated volunteer at Maine’s Little River Lighthouse, for being honored with the President’s Award from the American Lighthouse Foundation. Terry is also a former Coast Guard keeper of the lighthouse and is extremely dedicated to preserving the historic island light station.

New Owner for Marquette

Ownership of the 1866 Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, in Marquette, Michigan has been transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the City of Marquette. The actual signing of the deed is expected to take place on July 30. Since 2002 the Coast Guard has leased the lighthouse to the Marquette Maritime Museum, which will continue to operate the lighthouse.

Reprieve at Sturgeon Bay

Based on public outcry, the U.S. Coast Guard recently informed Wisconsin’s United States Senator Ron Johnson that the Coast Guard’s plan to demolish the keeper’s house at the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Lighthouse in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, has been suspended. However, the Coast Guard never stated this outcome in a press release or in any e-mail replies to the many who wrote to object to the proposed plans to tear down the keeper’s house. Additionally, we are very leery about the Coast Guard using the word “suspend.” Lighthouse preservationists everywhere should keep a close watch on this matter well into the future.

USLHS Person Passes

William W. Muessel, one of the last of the employees of the old U.S. Lighthouse Service, passed away at the age of 97 this past April 15, 2016. Bill Muessel joined the U.S. Lighthouse Service on April 1, 1939 and was assigned to the U.S. Lighthouse Service Lighthouse Tender Amaranth that sailed the waters of Lake Superior. He was later a lighthouse keeper at Outer Island Lighthouse in Wisconsin and later served as the Officer in Charge for five years of the Rock Ages Lighthouse in Lake Superior. He became a Warrant Office while stationed on the buoy tender Bittersweet in Alaska and later served in Michigan on the buoy tender Mesquite. He later was the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard vessel Naugatuck and finally as the Group Commander of the Coast Guard Group Newport and Castle Hill, Rhode Island. He retired from the Coast Guard in 1973 and began a career with the City of Newport where he worked for 36 years as Harbor Coordinator and Assistant Harbor Master. He had a long and illustrious career. Our sincere condolences go out to his family and friends.

End of an Era

Mary Louise Packard Stone, the nurturing Matriarch of the Lighthouse Inn in West Dennis, Massachusetts who ran the business for over 70 years along with her husband Bob, passed away this past April 18, 2016. She was predeceased by Bob who died in 2004. The Lighthouse Inn was originally the West Dennis Lighthouse that was also known as the Bass River Lighthouse, which was discontinued in 1914 and sold into private hands. The Stone family opened it as the Lighthouse Inn in 1938. It looks much different today than it did when it was an operating lighthouse, and today it has 61 rooms and cottages. The Stone family relighted the beacon as a private aid to navigation in 1989. Over the years the Stone family was also very supportive of lighthouse causes, and in 1994 they hosted the first lighthouse event of the newly formed New England Lighthouse Foundation. Our sincere condolences go out to the Stone family and friends

Port Clinton Ready

Ownership of the 1800s Port Clinton Lighthouse in Port Clinton, Ohio has been officially transferred from Brand Marina to the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy. The ownership paved the way for the former pierhead lighthouse, now fully restored, to be moved by barge to its new home on the shore at Water Works Park.

New Home for Old Lens

The 4th order Fresnel that was once in Oregon’s Cape Arago Lighthouse has been delivered to the Coos History Museum in Coos Bay, Oregon where it will now be on permanent display.

Steamed at Smokestack

It seems that a large number of people are steamed that as part of the restoration of Michigan’s St. Joseph Inner Pierhead Lighthouse, a replica of the old smokestack was installed on the roof of the fog signal building. Although this is part of a historic restoration of the light station, I have to agree with most people’s sentiments. The smokestack should not have been reinstalled.

Terence Bay Gets New Owner

The Terence Bay Lighthouse in Terence Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada is now owned by the Terence Bay Lighthouse Committee. The pyramid style lighthouse dates back to 1855. In 2015, Parks Canada officially granted heritage status to the lighthouse.

$5M for Canadian Restoration

It seems that the Canadian government plans to spend $5 million to restore two of its aging historic lighthouses: the 1760 Sambro Island Lighthouse, which is the oldest operating lighthouse in North America, and the 1924 Cape Sable Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in Nova Scotia.

Maine’s Favorite Lighthouse

Yankee Magazine has named Cape Neddick Lighthouse, more commonly known as Nubble Lighthouse, in York, Maine as Maine’s Favorite Lighthouse. Although the headline with their story stated Maine’s Favorite Lighthouse, in their caption they said, “This southernmost light in Maine may well be the one we love the most.” One thing is for certain, because of its proximity of easy travel from the population base of the rest of New England and New York, it is truly the most viewed and visited lighthouse site in Maine and perhaps all of New England. However, last year Yankee Magazine rated West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine as the “Best Lighthouse in New England to Visit.”

GLLF Lights Book

Windows and Doors of the Lighthouses of the “Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival” is now available from Amazon. Debby Lee Jagerman-Dungan, who actually got a married at lighthouse, was so inspired by the lighthouses of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival that she published a most unique book that she hopes in some way will honor the history of the 20 years of the festival and the lighthouses it helped to draw attention to. It is truly one of the most unique lighthouse books that I’ve seen in a long time. If you love lighthouse photography, in my humble opinion, you’ll love this book. Its layout and design is spectacular and the photos are outstanding.

Statue Wanted

James Hyland of the Lighthouse Preservation Society has appealed to the Newburyport, Massachusetts Community Preservation Committee for a $60,000 grant to erect a statue honoring the Coast Guard on the riverfront. The proposed statue would be made by noted sculptor Daniel Altshuler of Gloucester and would depict three men working together in the ocean surf to perform a rescue at sea and would honor the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, the U.S. Lighthouse Service, and the U.S. Life Saving Service, which are three of the organizations that all became the Coast Guard.

Queensland Light Gets Money

The North Head Islet Lighthouse in Bowen, Queensland, Australia is getting $100,000 in restoration money just in time for its 150th Anniversary of the current tower to be celebrated in November of this year. It is one of only two Queensland lighthouses to remain intact at its original location.

Money for Stepping Stones

Even though the Federal Government threatened to take back the ownership of the Stepping Stones Lighthouse from the town of North Hempstead, New York because they weren’t taking care of it, they have now awarded a National Park Service National Maritime Heritage Grant in the amount of $165,000. However, the grant comes with the stipulation that the town raise a matching $165,000. The lighthouse has sat empty and deteriorating for years. Hopefully this will be the turnaround needed to save the 1877 structure that is located at Kings Point in western Long Island Sound.

Museum Gets Eviction Notice

After being at the same location for the past 40 years, The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes located at the 1882 Kingston Dry Dock in Kingston, Ontario, Canada has received an eviction notice. It seems that the new owner, Mr. Jay Patry, who purchased the property from the Canadian government, has other plans for the property.

Thomas Point Vandalized

It seems that some morons have nothing better to do with their time than take a boat out to a lighthouse and vandalize it. Such was the case recently at Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse that stands in the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, Maryland. The lighthouse, a National Historic Landmark, was built in 1875 and is the only screwpile cottage-type lighthouse remaining at its original site in the Chesapeake Bay. It is cared for by a consortium of organizations, including the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Anniversary at Twin Lights

The 123rd Anniversary of the Pledge of Allegiance was celebrated at the Navesink Twin Lighthouse in Highlands, New Jersey this past April 25th. It was at that lighthouse in 1893 that the first public reading of the Pledge of Allegiance took place. The Color Guard for the ceremony was provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Station – Sandy Hook.

This story appeared in the Jul/Aug 2016 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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