This busy harbor scene is a vintage image of the Cancale Lighthouse showing many small boats in the harbor used to harvest clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops. Located in Cancale, France, the 1868 lighthouse is also known as the Houle sous Cancale Lighthouse. Although it still stands, it was deactivated in 1937 and replaced by a nearby light on a skeletal tower. Today the old lighthouse is void of its white paint, but remains a popular tourist attraction that needs some tender loving care.
Designed by a Blind Man
The Wyre River Light in Fleetwood, England was one of the first screwpile lighthouses ever built. Amazingly, its designer, Alexander Mitchell, an Irish engineer who by 1820 had become totally blind at the age of 40, was nevertheless able to develop and patent his invention. Alexander Mitchell’s screwpile concept inspired other designs of lighthouses, such as the Maplin Sands and Chapman lighthouses in England, the Dundalk and Spit Bank lighthouses in Ireland, the Walde Lighthouse in France, the Meloria Shoal Lighthouse in Italy, the Moreton Bay Lighthouse in Australia, the Bean Rock and Ponui Passage lighthouses in New Zealand, and then numerous lighthouses in the United States where a large number of screwpile lighthouses were built in the late 19th century. The dwelling part of the Wyre River Lighthouse was removed in 1948, and what remains of the structure is now abandoned.
Rough Night on the Lightship
This image came to us from an old magazine, name and date unknown, but the caption read, “For all its monotony, life on a lightship has its exciting moments, and here is one of them. A howling blizzard is sweeping over the sea and the thick driving snow is threatening to obscure the lantern upon whose light so much depends. The crewman turns out therefore, clad in oil-skins, mounts to the reeling platform, and with a mop keeps the lantern clear and bright, so that its light will show through the storm.”
Lost in the Pages of Time
Sadly, there are still a number of lighthouses that we know very little about, such as the Oyster Bay Lighthouse that once stood off the coast of Berwick, Louisiana. Built in 1904,the lighthouse stood on steel pilings in an area known as Oyster Bayou, and because of this, it was also known as the Oyster Bayou Lighthouse. The lighthouse was automated in 1947, deactivated in 1975, and demolished sometime after that. We would like to locate additional photographs of the lighthouse and memories of the keepers and families who once lived there. If you can help us, please e-mail Editor@LighthouseDigest.com or write us at P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.
At Raspberry Island Lighthouse
Below, (l-r) Lighthouse keeper John Garrity with 1st assistant keeper Herbert “Toots” Winfield and 2nd assistant keeper Tom Hassing at Raspberry Island Lighthouse in the Apostle Islands of Wisconsin. The exact year that this photo was taken is not known. However, John Garrity was the head keeper from 1925 to 1929, Herbert “Toot’s Winfield was the 1st assistant keeper from 1923 to 1930 and Thomas Hassing was the 2nd assistant keeper from 1923 to 1929, so this photo would have been taken between 1925 and 1929. Herbert “Toots” Winfield got in some trouble in 1930 with reports filed against him for intoxication, and he was given first a 30 day suspension and then a 90 day suspension. However, the suspension was then reversed and he was demoted to 2nd assistant keeper; on September 29, 1930 he was transferred to Michigan’s Crisp Point Lighthouse, where, by 1939, he again worked his way back to 1st assistant keeper. However, his health began to fail, and on May 15, 1940 the Coast Guard placed him on disability retirement and he died a couple of months later. In 1933 Thomas Hassing was transferred to Split Rock Lighthouse in Minnesota where he served as the 2nd assistant keeper until 1938 when he was promoted to 1st assistant keeper and served there until his retirement in 1953.
Remembering Gordon S. Russell
Gordon S. Russell (1921-2009) is shown here in 1996 when he was awarded the Beacon of Light Award by the New England Lighthouse Foundation (now the American Lighthouse Foundation) for his leadership in spearheading the movement that saved the Highland Lighthouse on Cape Cod in Turo, Massachusetts, by moving it 450 feet from the eroding cliffs. He was part of the Greatest Generation and served with distinction in World War II with the U.S Navy in the Philippines. On the first day of the move of the Highland Lighthouse in 1996, which is also known as the Cape Cod Lighthouse, he was interviewed live on national TV by Hattie Kauffman on the CBS Early Show. For many years after the move of the lighthouse, he gave talks in the tower, and he even built a working model of the lighthouse to be displayed at the light.Interestingly, in 2012 another Beacon of the Light Award was awarded, this time to the Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc. for their role in saving and maintaining the lighthouse. However, in 2014, the Cape Cod National Seashore ended its relationship with the Highland Museum and Lighthouse, and the National Seashore took over the operation and management of the lighthouse. It is important that we always remember people such as Gordon S. Russell, who are no longer with us, who made such a major impact in saving lighthouses for future generations.
Birth of a Modern Lighthouse
This rendition came from a 1931 magazine in an article titled “Birth of a Modern Lighthouse.” The caption with it read, “Interior plan of a lighthouse. This shows how a modern lighthouse of the stone masonry type is built. Notice how heavy the walls are at the bottom where they have to withstand the heaviest of waves.” Interestingly, very few lighthouses of this magnitude were ever built after this 1931 article.
Photogenic Nova Scotia
Most lighthouse aficionados are aware how photogenic many of the lighthouses in Nova Scotia, Canada are and always have been, even in the days before color photography was common. This is evident by this early 1950s photo taken by A.H. Rognow of the 1901 Victoria Beach Lighthouse in Victoria, Nova Scotia. The photographer did an excellent job of capturing the scene of the trail lined with lobster traps leading up to the lighthouse.
Windmill Point Painting
This 1956 photograph of a painting of Windmill Point Lighthouse in Detroit, Michigan painted by maritime artist Seth A. Whipple (1855-1901) and appeared in the Detroit News in March of 1956. We don’t know why the photo was published, but Seth A. Whipple’s paintings have been known to sell for thousands of dollars. We were unable to locate a color photograph of the painting. The structures shown here no longer stand; the tower was replaced by a new tower in 1933.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2017 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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