Digest>Archives> February 2000

Crossed the Bar


George Downton, keeper/caretaker of Scituate Lighthouse in Massachusetts has died.

George and his wife Ruth became occupants of the Keepers House at Scituate Lighthouse almost 20 years ago. They played an active role in the maintenance and restoration of the old Scituate Lighthouse to the point where George became known locally as "The Lighthouse Keeper."

George put a lot of pride into the daily chores of operating the lighthouse, whether it was painting, carpentry or talking with tourists. George was at Scituate Light in the "No Name Storm of 1991" which heavily damaged many parts of New England. During that great storm, he was credited with saving the historic lighthouse from being destroyed.

In 1994, the Scituate Lighthouse was relit 134 years after having been placed into darkness by the lighting of nearby Minot's Ledge Lighthouse. It was partially through his efforts that the lighthouse was relit.

He was there during Scituate Heritage Days, always on hand to greet the hundreds of visitors and ready to answer questions and tell tourists stories of life at the lighthouse.

George was active member and volunteer for the Scituate Historic Societies Irish Mossing and Marine Museum. He played an active role in the restoration of the 18th Century building which houses the Museum. Some of his handmade models of sailing vessels are on display there.

Cards of condolence can be sent to Ruth Downton, 100 Lighthouse Rd, Scituate, MA 02066.

George Downton kept a good light. He will be missed but not forgotten.

This story appeared in the February 2000 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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