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From The Archives Of Lighthouse Digest

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Parade Time
This Coast Guard float for a parade in 1946 promoted the Coast Guard Training Station, Aids to Navigation School in Groton, Connecticut. With all of today’s overly strict requirements by the Coast Guard Curator, it is highly unlikely that a lens would be allowed to be displayed on a float. However, this photo is a vital part of Coast Guard and lighthouse history. (Photo part of a series from Edgar M. Whitford who was the keeper of Gull Rock Lighthouse from 1929 to 1942 and then an instructor at the Aids to Navigation School.)

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The Lighthouse Restaurant
A vintage post card showing The Lighthouse Restaurant in Brewer, Maine in the 1950s. We wonder when it disappeared from the Maine scene.

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One of Maine’s Lost Lights
This Cape Cod style structure was the Grindle Point Lighthouse that was built in 1851 at the entrance to Gilkey Harbor on Maine’s Islesboro Island. Its first keeper was Rufus Dunning, who was followed by Francis Grindle, who was the man who sold the land to the government that the lighthouse was built upon. Nelson Gilkey, who served as the keeper from 1856 to 1861, and Avery Gilkey, who served as a keeper from 1869 to 1872, were descendants of John Gilkey, the man who the harbor was named after where the lighthouse stands. However, Avery Gilkey was fired for dereliction of duty. He was replaced in 1872 by Seth H. Higgins who served as the keeper when the lighthouse shown here was replaced in 1874 by the light tower that stands there today.

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In the Movies
Isaac Barr, played by Richard Gere, and Heather Evans, played by Kim Basinger, are shown on the deck of a reportedly old abandoned lighthouse, actually played by California’s Pigeon Point Lighthouse in the 1992 neo-noir Warner Brothers psychological thriller movie Final Analysis. For the sake of the movie, the Pigeon Point Lighthouse was fictionally moved 50 miles so that it could be by the Golden Gate Bridge. And to help make it a bit spookier, a non-existent cemetery was added to the lighthouse grounds. Look closely in this image and you will see the first order Fresnel lens in the lantern behind them. (The lens is no longer in the lantern.) The movie’s dramatic nail-biting ending takes place at the top of the lighthouse.

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Amusement Park Dedication
Shown here on September 8, 1968 are Sidney Villere, Secretary of the Orleans Parish Landmark Society, and Leonard V. Huber, President of the society, on the day that they placed a bronze plaque identifying the Port Ponchartrain Lighthouse in honor of the 40th Anniversary of Port Ponchartrain Beach Amusement Park. Apparently, some of the visitors to the amusement park did not know the name of the lighthouse, or its history. When it was built in 1855, it was over 2,000 feet offshore, but eventually landfill projects left it on dry land, and an amusement park was built around it. The keeper’s quarters and other outbuildings have long ago disappeared. The lighthouse has also been known as the Milneburg Lighthouse. The amusement park, which started in operation in 1928, was demolished in 1983. The lighthouse is now owned by the University of New Orleans. Currently, the structure is in dire need of a major cosmetic overhaul.

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Life at a Lost Washington Light
This 1940s photo of the no longer standing Willapa Bay Lighthouse in North Cove, Washington is from the archives of the Clatsop County Historical Society. Although no people are shown in the photograph, the old car and truck show that there was some activity going on. If we only had a time machine to watch what was happening on that day! Threatened by erosion, the lighthouse, which had been discontinued, met its final demise on the day after Christmas, December 26, 1940 when, what was left of it, collapsed over the bluff.

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 2018 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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