Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2022

From the Lighthouse Service Bulletin

By Jack Graham


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At 162-feet in height, the Navassa Island ...

This column continues to provide excerpts from the Lighthouse Service Bulletin, a monthly publication of the Bureau of Lighthouses, U.S. Department of Commerce. The first was issued in January 1912, and it continued throughout the existence of the Bureau. Unedited quotes from Issue No. 71, dated November 1, 1917, follow. The Bulletin had as its object “supplying information that will be immediately useful in maintaining or improving the standards of the Lighthouse Service, and of keeping the personnel advised of the progress of work and matters of general interest in the service and in lighthouse work in general.”

Exhibit At the Southern Commercial Congress - At the recent Southern Commercial Congress which was held at the Hotel Astor, New York City, from October 13 to 18, 1917, the activities of the various branches of the Department of Commerce were presented in the form of an exhibit, the following features of interest being displayed by the Lighthouse Service: A universal flashing lens and lantern; five-day lens lantern; eight-day post lantern; set of graphic diagrams showing growth of the Lighthouse Service; general map of the lighthouse districts; set of charts of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts showing principal lights; drawing showing various types of buoys; electric lamp substituting device; model boards of lighthouse Tenders Sequoia and light vessel No. 94; and a set of photographs of lighthouse depots, etc.

Executive Orders - On October 13, 1917, the President signed an Executive Order transferring about 1.22 acres of land on Sand Island, Oahu, Hawaii, from the War Department to the Department of Commerce for lighthouse depot purposes. On October 18, 1917, the President, by Executive Order, reserved Huckleberry Island, in Padilla Bay, Wash., containing 11.74 acres of land, for lighthouse purposes. This is in pursuance of Executive Order of December 28, 1914, temporarily reserving the island.

Spruce Spar Buoys - In the spring of 1916 the inspector of the second lighthouse district placed two first-class spruce spar buoys in the comparatively warm water of Vineyard Sound, at Half-Moon Shoal and Tarpaulin Cove, for observation of the action of the teredo for a season. After a year in the water these buoys do not appear to be water soaked more than cedar buoys, give no indication of being worm-eaten, and so far have given good results.

Navassa Island Light Station - The new light station on Navassa Island, West Indies, has been completed and the light was placed in commission on October 21, 1917. This light is 395 feet above water on a cylindrical concrete tower and shows group flashing white, two flashes every 30 seconds of 47,000 candlepower, visible 27 miles; flash 0.7 seconds; eclipse 6.8 seconds; flash 0.7 seconds; eclipse 21.8 seconds. The only report received to date as to the distance at which this light can be seen states that the flash of the light was visible at 26 miles, and the reflection in the sky was lost at a distance of 31-1/2 miles. This report further states that rain squalls occurred on this night. A description of this station is contained in the Lighthouse Service Bulletin dated July 1915.

Storm Damage - Milwaukee Pierhead Light Station, Wis., was severely damaged by storm on October 23, 1917, necessitating immediate temporary repairs costing about $2500, and permanent repairs, to be undertaken as soon as funds may be made available, amounting to about $9500. The main damage was sustained to the stone-filled timber crib supporting the dwelling and to the fog signal building.

On October 24, damage was also done by storm to the following-named lights in the third lighthouse district: Penfield Reef Light Station; Saybrook (Lynde Point) Light Station; Housatonic River Breakwater Light; Milford Harbor Light; Duck Island Breakwater Lights; Bridgeport Breakwater Light; Southwest Ledge Light Station; and Lawrence Point Ledge Light. This includes the destruction of several post lights and general damage at several light stations.

At 6:30 p.m., October 24, 1917, during an 80-mile gale, Cross Rip Light Vessel No. 6, Mass., was blown from her station. After dragging a short distance, the anchor chain broke, losing about 75 fathoms of 2-inch chain and a mushroom anchor, and the vessel drifted about 2-1/2 miles due west from station before she was able to anchor again. The tender Azalea immediately of receipt of advice that the light vessel was off station, went to her assistance and anchored her on station at 9:15 p.m., October 25.

Your Worst Enemy - As reprinted from a Menu card of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railway. [Editor’s note: Remember, this was war time.]

I am more powerful than the combined armies of the world.

I have destroyed more men than all the wars of the world.

I am more deadly than bullets, and I have wrecked more homes than the mightiest of siege guns.

I steal in the United States alone, more than $300,000,000 each year.

I spare no one, and I find my victims among the rich and poor alike, the young and the old, the strong and the weak;

widows and orphans know me.

I bring sickness, degradation, and death, and yet few seek to avoid me.

I destroy, crush, or maim, I give nothing, take all.

I am your worst enemy.


That’s another sampling “From the Bulletin” Watch this space in each issue of Lighthouse Digest for more.

This story appeared in the May/Jun 2022 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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