West Quoddy Travel Writers Photo
This photograph of Maine’s West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, was taken by noted travel writer and author Horace Sutton (1919-1991) and published on September 8, 1968 in a number of newspapers across the nation. Because Sutton was reported to have traveled 100,000 miles a year during his career, we have no idea when he took the photograph; however, the station wagon to the left of the keeper’s house looks to be a 1962 Pontiac, but the pickup truck parked by the fog signal building appears much older. If you look closely, you will notice the white painted rocks that outline the edges of the driveway and to the left are clothes blowing in the wind on a clothesline. Hanging on the fence, midway between the keeper’s house and the fog signal building, is a life-saving ring. The service building to the right of the pickup truck is no longer there.
200 Gallons of Paint
A crane and its work crew are shown here on August 28, 1984 painting the 1935 Port Washington Breakwater Lighthouse in Port Washington, Wisconsin. The Coast Guard stated that during the two-week project the crew used seven tons of sand-blasting materials and 200 gallons of paint. The lantern was removed from the lighthouse sometime in the 1970s. The structure is now owned by the City of Port Washington and is again in need of being painted.
Proudly Flying the Lighthouse Flag
The U.S. Lighthouse Service tender Thistle is shown here on March 12, 1898 proudly flying the original version of the U.S. Lighthouse Service pennant and the United States Flag. Originally built in 1890 as a tug boat, it was purchased for use in the 5th Lighthouse District out of Baltimore, Maryland. It saw use until 1912 when it was sold into private ownership. This vessel is not to be confused with the Lighthouse Service tender Thistle, that operated on the Great Lakes.
Landing Supplies at Ludlam
This photo taken at the Ludlam Beach Lighthouse in Sea Isle, New Jersey was labeled “Landing Supplies.” However, judging by the large crowd that had gathered to watch, we assume that whatever was being delivered must have been very impressive. On November 21, 1923, the keeper’s pet knocked over a kerosene lamp in the kitchen. The subsequent fire damaged a large portion of the roof which was repaired, but a subsequent storm destroyed the repairs. It was then decided to replace the lighthouse and its keeper with an automated light on a steel pole. The lantern was removed and the structure was then auctioned off and subsequently moved twice and altered significantly. In 2010 it was demolished.
Buick at Old Point Loma
The person who took this photo at Old Point Loma Lighthouse in the summer of 1960 was probably trying to accentuate the family’s Buick automobile that took them on their vacation. Because so many people never wrote information on the backs of their photos, there are entire generations of people who have been lost in time to be forgotten forever.
Moved 1000 Miles
In 1915, the 1880 Schooner Ledge Range Rear Lighthouse on the Delaware River in Essington, Pennsylvania, as shown here, was discontinued and subsequently dismantled. In 1929 the tower was reassembled in the Apostle Islands on Michigan Island, Wisconsin where it stands to this day.
Coming in for a Landing
A Coast Guard helicopter prepares to land on February 2, 1964 at the South Pass Lighthouse Station. Built in 1881 at the mouth of the Mississippi River at Port Eads, Louisiana, the lighthouse was automated in 1971. The first order Fresnel lens that was once in the lantern is now on display at the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans.
Filling In at Christiana Lighthouse
Shown here in this 1897 photograph is the Christiana Lighthouse near Wilmington, Delaware when all the outbuildings, including the barn, were raised about four feet before the site was filled in to prevent flooding of the light station. You’ll notice all the outbuildings were resting on stilts before the fill was brought in.The Christiana Lighthouse was discontinued in 1909 when the new Bellevue Range Lights went into operation; however, the dwelling was still used until as late as 1937 as the living quarters for the keeper of the range lights. Subsequently, in 1939, the old lighthouse was demolished.
New Beam at Louisiana’s Southwest Pass
This photo was published on May 2, 1965 with the following caption: “Today there’s a new Southwest Pass lighthouse. This one is really new. Commissioned yesterday, (May 1), by the U.S. Coast Guard, it has been in operation less than three months. Officially, this $900,000 Coast Guard facility is 'Southwest Pass Entrance Light Station.' But this name is a misnomer; the structure is more than simply a lighthouse station – much more than that. In addition to its lights- a two million candlepower beacon which can be seen 16 miles distant on clear nights and a special thirty million candlepower beam for low-visibility nights – it has a fog signal to inform mariners they are approaching the station, and a radio beacon which mariners can “home in on to bring them within sight of the station.” This is like the radio beams used in air navigation. At night, incoming helmsmen can line up with the station’s beacon and with the lights on the buoys. With these aids, they’re guided to the 800-foot-wide, 40-foot-deep channel. During daylight hours, they use the station’s tower as a guide. The tower is painted red to show it’s on the left side descending bank of the channel. The features of this lighthouse go beyond the usual aids to navigation, although these are extremely important because some 7000 vessels use this pass annually to come to New Orleans and other ports along the Mississippi. The new facility at Southwest Pass has a helipad which can be used for emergency landings by Coast Guard and commercial helicopters.” The Southwest Pass Entrance Lighthouse Station no longer stands. It was demolished in 2007.
At the Relighting of Avery Point
Tim Harrison, editor of Lighthouse Digest, stands next to his friend and mentor Ken Black, (1923-2007) “Mr. Lighthouse,” founder of the Maine Lighthouse Museum. They posed for this photograph just before the relighting on October 15, 2006 of the 1943 Avery Point Lighthouse in Groton, Connecticut. The Avery Point Lighthouse is the only lighthouse in the United States to have been specifically built as a memorial to the lighthouse keepers of yesteryear. Harrison, who was the Master of Ceremonies of the event, said in his opening remarks, as he welcomed the large crowd, that they were about to witness “A defining moment in modern lighthouse history.”
Monster Appears at Lighthouse
This unique photo was taken during the filming of the 1954 movie “The Monster of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse.” The movie is about a grumpy lighthouse keeper, newly widowed and estranged from the townsfolk, who has been leaving food out for the monster for years, unaware of its blood lust. When the monster’s appetite outstrips the keeper’s ability to serve it, trouble starts. Interestingly, the movie was not filmed at California’s Piedras Blancas Lighthouse; it was actually filmed at California’s Point Conception Lighthouse. In later years, Jeanette Miller, who lived in the keeper’s house with her Coast Guard husband, recalled, that for exercise, she used to walk up and down the 180 steps to and from the lighthouse to turn on the light during her husband’s watch. However, after the filming of the movie, she said that it was too creepy to do alone, even though she had her dog with her. To learn more about this movie you can refer back to the story “A Monster of a Lighthouse Movie” that was published in the September 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest. Go to www.LighthouseDigest.com and click on Archives and the type in “Monster” in the Search Box.
Warning of a Rough Bar
On September 15, 1982 new warning lights were put into operation near the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Ilwaco, Washington to advise pleasure boaters of stormy weather or other conditions that may have made the Columbia River Bar more treacherous. U.S. Coast Guard Seaman Matthew Bartlett, shown here demonstrating the new lights, said the flashing amber was to warn boaters who were unfamiliar with the bar. The photo was taken by noted newspaper journalist and photographer Sam Foster.
Tower Gone But Lantern Remains
The 1899 Diamond Head Lighthouse in Hawaii, shown here, stood until 1918 when it was replaced by the tower that stands there today. The lantern, as well as the Fresnel lens from the old tower, were removed and placed atop the new tower, and the Fresnel lens is still in use to this day.
This story appeared in the
Mar/Apr 2020 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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