America’s national lighthouse organizations marked National Lighthouse Day on August 7, 2020 by awarding lifetime achievement honors to recipients in North Carolina, Massachusetts and Arizona who have made major contributions to preserving this nation’s lighthouses and their historic legacy.
Only 13 individuals have been honored previously since the F. Ross Holland Award was instituted 20 years ago. The award is considered the lighthouse preservation community’s highest honor, and is presented by the United States Lighthouse Society and the American Lighthouse Council.
Honored this year were lighthouse historians and authors Cheryl Shelton-Roberts and Bruce Roberts, co-founders of the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society; lampist and Fresnel lens expert, James “Woody” Woodward; and long-time Thacher Island Association president, Paul St. Germain.
Authors of several lighthouse books covering America’s East, West, Great Lakes and Gulf Coasts, the Roberts live in Morehead City, North Carolina, and have been active for years in Outer Banks lighthouse preservation. One of their most popular books is Lighthouse Families. They played instrumental roles in the moving of North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and Cheryl organized reunions of the descendants of keepers of the Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island lighthouses.
James Woodward became a leading Coast Guard lampist – a technician who repairs and maintains the classic and elaborate Fresnel lighthouse lenses that are not only in lighthouses, but in museums. He has continued his mastery of that vanishing craft into retirement, still working on lenses and volunteering his expertise and guidance on lens preservation projects from Bermuda to Hawaii.
Paul St. Germain is retiring from his 20-year stint as president of the Thacher Island Association, but remains active as president emeritus and as a volunteer. Through his leadership, the Association preserves not only the twin light towers on Thacher Island, off Cape Ann near the entrance to Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, but also the amazing and challenging restoration of the nearby Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse. Paul St. Germain is also the author of the excellent book, Twin Lights of Thacher Island, Cape Ann.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no public presentation of this year’s awards. The United States Lighthouse Society is a nonprofit historical and educational organization and the American Lighthouse Council is the lighthouse preservation movement’s leadership forum and council.
F. Ross Holland (August 24, 1927 – September 16, 2005) is considered by many as the Dean of Lighthouse History who authored such books as, American Lighthouses, an Illustrated History (1988), Great American Lighthouses (1995) and Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake (1997). Few people have left a more lasting mark on present-day National Park Service cultural resources programs than Holland. He received the Department of the Interior’s Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to historic preservation. In addition, in 1983, he received the Interior Department’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Award, for “outstanding contributions to the National Park Service in the field of cultural resources.”
People who have been past recipients of the F. Ross Holland Award have been: the late Ken Black, founder of the Maine Lighthouse Museum; Wayne Wheeler, founder of the U.S. Lighthouse Society; the late Terry Pepper, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association; the late Cullen Chambers of the Tybee Island Historical Society; the late Richard Moehl, past president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper’s Association; Michael Vogel of the Buffalo Lighthouse Association and current president of the United States Lighthouse Society; the late J. Candace Clifford, lighthouse researcher and author; Thomas Tag, lighthouse researcher and author; Timothy Harrison, lighthouse book author and editor of Lighthouse Digest; Anne Webster-Wallace, the founder of the Friends of Seguin Island; Lee Radzak, former Executive Director of Split Rock Lighthouse; Donald Terras, Director of Grosse Point Lighthouse; and Ralph Eshelman of the National Maritime Preservation Task Force of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
This story appeared in the
Sep/Oct 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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