Tending the Light at Fort Gratiot
This original discarded photo from the Acme Photo Service, now in the archives of Lighthouse Digest, was published in Michigan newspapers on February 22, 1946. It shows lighthouse keeper William A. Wilkinson tending the light at Michigan’s Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. Mr. Wilkinson served at the lighthouse from 1940 to until his death on May 30, 1950.
Promoting the Oregon Coast
In 1953, the Oregon State Highway Commission issued this photo, now in the archives of Lighthouse Digest, to help promote Oregon’s 400-mile coastline for tourism. They stated that the historic Heceta Head Lighthouse on its imposing promontory offers a great photographic opportunity as the white-line of surf continually breaks round the rocks, giving a special emphasis along Oregon’s ocean parkway. Unfortunately, the Heceta Lighthouse is so far away that it is barely visible in the photo.
Naturalist at Grosse Point Lighthouse
Published on October 21, 1980, this discarded photo taken by Chuck Kirman of the Chicago Sun Times, now in the archives of Lighthouse Digest, shows naturalist Ken Wenzel standing on one of the new sand dunes adjacent to the Grosse Point Lighthouse in Evanston, Illinois. At that time, an ambitious $500,000 project was undertaken to restore the natural elegance to the area. Ken Wenzel worked for the Evanston Environmental Association, which, along with the Lighthouse Park District, several agencies, and service clubs, carried out the restoration project. At the time, Wenzel said that visitors to the park would be able to view the dunes without disturbing them after a platform at the bottom of the bluff is extended 20 feet outward toward the water.
Europe’s First Lighted Navigation Buoy (LNB)
Shown here is Europe’s first automatic, lighted navigation buoy (LNB), the $200,000 84-ton Hawker Siddeley Dynamics “Lanby,” when it was handed over to Trinity House at the Royal Albert Dock on December 3, 1969. (Trinity House is the organization that oversees all of the lighthouses in England, Wales, Channel Islands, and Gibraltar.) The main light beacon on this LNB, or “Lanby,” stood 40-feet above water level and had a luminous range of 16 miles. Its fog signal was audible for more than three miles. The LNB replaced the Shambles Lightship that was stationed in the waters off Portland Bill, which is a narrow promontory at the southern end of the Isle of Portland, and the southernmost point of Dorset, England.
Navy Blimp Spots Stranded Sailors
On April 20, 1943, a United States Navy blimp, while on anti-submarine patrol off the coast of Cuba, spotted a sunken sailboat. While circling the area searching for survivors, they located two men on the tower of a beacon light on a ledge that was surrounded by water. The Navy blimp crew dropped food and water to the men, and they then summoned a Navy patrol craft, which eventually rescued the men. If you look closely, you will see one man at the base of the tower and the other at the top of the tower.
The Dean’s Home
This vintage post card shows the home of Arthur Tarbell, who retired to Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the 1930s. Behind the house can be seen the Chatham Lighthouse with its original lantern, which was removed in 1939 and replaced with a larger lantern to accommodate new areobeacons. Arthur Tarbell had worked for the Carnegie Mellon Institute since 1908, finishing his career as Dean of Students. He was the author of Cape Cod Ahoy, I Return to Cape Cod, and A Story of Carnegie Tech. He died on November 11, 1946 at the age of 74 and was buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Boston. The house, shown here and originally built in 1815, was moved to this location in 1927. It collapsed in a wind storm in 2014 when it was undergoing restoration. It was rebuilt using many of the original materials.
Champion of Martha’s Vineyard
Noted author and editor Henry Beetle Hough is shown here with his collie, “Graham,” walking near Martha’s Vineyard 1873 Edgartown Lighthouse in early June of 1979. For 65 years, he was the editor of the Vineyard Gazette, a widely read and respected weekly newspaper on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. In the tradition of the old-time weekly editors, he not only covered the news and wrote editorials, but also gathered advertisements, set the type, ran the presses, and wrapped and lugged the papers to the post office for mailing. At the age of 22 he won a Pulitzer Prize and was the author of the best-selling book Country Editor, as well as 19 other works of fiction and nonfiction. He also wrote for the New York Times, the Saturday Evening Post and Esquire. He was considered the strongest advocate for conservation of the natural resources on the island on Martha’s Vineyard. He died on June 6, 1985 at the age of 88.
USCG Helicopter and Police
This photo of a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, apparently coming in for a landing by a New Orleans, Louisiana police car, was taken on April 30, 1976 by Lionel M. Cottier, Jr. Unfortunately, we don’t know what was going on. Was it a rescue? Was it a training exercise? Because there was with the photo, we may never know what was happening at the time.
After Hurricane Camille
A 45-foot, one-ton tower known as the South Pass Range Light in Louisiana is shown here being put into place via a Coast Guard helicopter on September 9, 1969. It was part of the many projects that were being done to reopen a safe channel in the Mississippi River to complete reconstruction of aids to navigation that had been destroyed by Hurricane Camille.
Lost to the Pages of Time
The South Pass East Jetty Lighthouse on the Mississippi River in Louisiana, shown here, was first lighted on Tax Day, April 15, 1891. It was built to replace the other structure shown in the distance that marked the site from 1878 to 1891 when the new wooden tower was completed. Both structures are long gone.
Rare Image of Chambers Island
A rare photo of Wisconsin’s Chamber’s Island Lighthouse in 1958 when the lantern was removed and a steel skeleton structure with a light atop was installed to give the light higher visibility. This was replaced in 1961 when the Coast Guard erected a 97-foot-high skeletal tower at the site. A thorough history of the Chambers Island Lighthouse and the lighthouse keepers who served there, with numerous historic photos, can be found in the May/June 2015 edition of Lighthouse Digest. (Photo by Larry Hahn.)
Forty-Three Years Ago at New Canal
It appears to have been a foggy day at the New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans, Louisiana when this photo was taken on September 17, 1977 at a time when it was still an active Coast Guard Station. The lighthouse was heavily damaged in August of 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. The structure was subsequently dismantled and rebuilt on stilts and was officially relighted on September 26, 2012.
This story appeared in the
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