Digest>Archives> Jul/Aug 2020

The Coast Guard’s First National Lighthouse Day August 7, 1939

By Timothy Harrison


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Four unidentified women admire the large buoys at ...

From the time that the Reorganization Act of 1939 was being debated in Congress, right up to the day on July 7, 1939 when the Lighthouse Service ceased to exist and became part of the U.S. Coast Guard, there had been, and continued to be, grumblings and distrust among many of the old-time Lighthouse Service employees. In an effort to quell the unrest, the Coast Guard invited the public to visit lighthouses during the week of August 7, 1939 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the federalization of the country’s lighthouses which had occurred on that date in 1789.

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The poster that the Coast Guard issued inviting ...

The Coast Guard felt that by inviting the public to the lighthouse installations, they would convince the lighthouse personnel, as well as the general public, that it would be business as usual and, other than who was in charge, nothing would really change. In most circumstances, nothing could have been further from the truth.

To learn more, we suggest reading the story “The Last Days of the Last Commissioner of Lighthouses” that appeared in the January/February 2012 edition of Lighthouse Digest. If you don’t have that back issue available, you can read the story in the online archives of Lighthouse Digest at www.LighthouseDigest.com.

This story appeared in the Jul/Aug 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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