Digest>Archives> Nov/Dec 2017

Book Reviews

By Timothy Harrison

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Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse

Author Ron Burkhard pays tribute to a local landmark in his new book titled The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse: A Comprehensive History Written by a Native Son.

The 438-page, hardcover keepsake makes the perfect coffee table book and contains almost 400 photographs and images. The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse covers the history of the lighthouse tower, buildings, and equipment as well as the keepers, assistants, and their families, along with highlighting their hardships and courageous acts. Burkhard portrays the personal side of history at the lighthouse reservation – and even makes mention of a ghost.

Burkhard’s firsthand research includes actual accounts written by the keepers; he also utilized local and government records to correct previously accepted erroneous facts about this lighthouse and its personnel. In addition, the author reportedly provides proof that this lighthouse was built in the wrong location in 1847. Evidence and pictures from an on-site, professional archeological dig are used to disprove information and document new discoveries.

Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse was home to Catherine Shook, Michigan’s first woman lighthouse keeper; Catherine’s husband, Peter, went down in history as the first keeper in Michigan to die while on duty. In 1880, Keeper Andrew Shaw rescued sole survivor Captain Jerome Kiah and mourned the horrific loss of six surf men from the lifesaving station. This shore-based lighthouse survived two terrible forest fires in 1871 and 1881 that swept Michigan’s Thumb area, only to be nearly destroyed by a careless caretaker smoking in bed.

Burkhard closely examines the lives of the men and women who lived here and shares extensive biographies about them. Through caring research, Burkhard located and photographed many of their gravesites.

If you would like to order your signed copy by mail of The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse: A Comprehensive History Written by a Native Son, you may send a check for $40 to Nautical Images, LLC, Attn: Capt. Ron Burkhard, 9132 S. West Bay Shore Drive, Traverse City, MI 49684. For more information, you can email Ron Burkhard at rburkhard@charter.net.

Marblehead Light – The Story of a New England Icon

With informative text and a wonderful selection of modern and historic images, author Bill Conley has masterfully put together the history of the Marblehead Lighthouse, the only spindly legged tower in Massachusetts as well as all of the New England states.

It is obvious that the author spent some time to thoroughly researching the history of the lighthouse and the area around it. This book is exquisitely designed to give each page a rich appearance that makes it easy to read and follow as you learn the history of this magnificent tower and the people who built it, lived at and around it, and now take care of it. Loaded with historic and color images in its 76 pages this book 8”x10” book is a “must have” for anyone interested in New England’s lighthouses.

Marblehead Light, The Story of a New England Icon, is available from Lighthouse Digest as item #2200 for $19.95 at www.LighthouseDigest.com or by calling (207)259-2121.

The Lighthouse Ghost of Yaquina Bay

Although this soft cover novel by Alexandria Mason about lighthouse ghost Muriel Trevenard is entirely fictional, it makes you believe it is real. The story begins when Hal Allen and his daughter, Amelia, meet Muriel, one of their distant ancestors who materializes before them at the lighthouse. The father and daughter then set out to release her from her ghostly prison and along the way they learn facts about the area’s local history including the Eureka Pioneer Cemetery, which will become their ghostly ancestor’s final resting place. If you like a good and exciting ghost story, you will absolutely love this book. The book is suitable for both adult and young adult readers. The 160 page book is available from Lighthouse Digest as item #2201 for $15.00 by calling (207)259-2121 or www.LighthouseDigest.com.

Lights at the Portage - A History of the Port Clinton Light Station

Most people probably would not think that a small minor lighthouse would ever have enough interesting history to have an entire book written about it. But, such is not the case of Ohio’s Port Clinton Lighthouse. Not only does it have an interesting history, the recounting of its restoration and relocation is a story in itself, one that proves that tenacity can prevail. My kudos to author Richard J. Norgard for making sure that this book is one of the best designed small lighthouse books that I’ve seen in a long time. Throughout its sixty-some high gloss pages, you will find an easy-to-read text with great vintage images and modern color photos. This soft cover book is available for $10.00 plus $2.50 for shipping from the Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy, P.O. Box 389, Port Clinton, OH 43452.

Southern Lights – The Scottish Contribution to New Zealand’s Lighthouses

Most people would never think of Scotland when referring to or talking about the lighthouses of New Zealand. But this book through its whopping 280 pages, will give you a new awakening to an amazing journey as you follow the Scottish Lighthouse Trail to New Zealand and discover a wealth of information about the contributions made by Scottish lighthouse technology when New Zealand’s government built 38 major lighthouses from 1859 to 1941, 30 of which were constructed in the period of 1865 to 1897. To make matters more interesting, Scotland also supplied trained professionals who manned the lights that were designed and administered by them. The author, Guinevere Nalder, probably goes into too much detail for some readers, but on the other hand, this is what makes this book so comprehensive. Missing from the book are photographs of keepers who served at the lights, but its glossy pages do include a large number of historic and color photos. The book is not available from Lighthouse Digest, but it can be ordered from www.whittlespublishing.com or from a number of on-line book sellers.

This story appeared in the Nov/Dec 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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