Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2023

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments From the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


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Saving Sanibel Lighthouse

A work crew is shown here after installing a temporary support leg to the base of Florida’s Sanibel Island Lighthouse after the 1884 lighthouse tower was damaged by Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022. The original broken support leg was found under three feet of sand. The keeper’s home and other outbuildings at the light station were all destroyed in the hurricane.

Weather Harshness in Illinois

The harsh weather and floods along the Ohio River have been hard on the Hope Light in Metropolis, Illinois. Also known as the Metropolis Lighthouse, it has now been painted for the third time since 2014.

PEI Lights in Danger

According to officials on Prince Edward Island in Canada, 17 of the island’s 63 lighthouses are in danger due to increased coastal erosion. The recent hurricane also caused additional erosion after this announcement was made. Shown here is the 140-year-old Souris East Lighthouse where several areas of the cliff have broken away and the breakwater built to defend the wharf has been damaged in several places.

Bendel Lighthouse Rededicated

The Bendel Lighthouse, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, named after the community’s former mayor Joe Bendel (1931-2003), was rededicated this past September. The facsimile structure resembles the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina. Shown here are family and friends in front of the tower at the rededication service.

Charlotte-Genesee Celebrates 200 Years

A celebration was held last August on the grounds of the 1822 Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse in Rochester, New York for the 200th birthday of the historic light station. After the lighthouse was abandoned in 1844, its lantern was removed. However, in 1984, local students built a new lantern for the tower, and the Coast Guard loaned a 4th order Fresnel lens so that the lighthouse could be relit as an active aid to navigation. That lens was later replaced by a replica 4th order Fresnel lens made by Dan Spinella of Artworks Florida. The museum at the site is now operated by the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society.

USLHS Visits Little River Lighthouse

This past October 13, a U.S. Lighthouse Society tour group paid a visit to Maine’s Little River Light Station, the easternmost island lighthouse on the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Established in 1847, the current tower dates from 1876. After being dark for 26 years, on October 2, 2001, the lighthouse was relit as a “Beacon of Freedom to the World,” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The restored lighthouse is now available for overnight stays. U.S. Lighthouse Society Tours are a great way to visit lighthouses all over the world.

Cape Lookout Repairs Go Over $8 Million

The National Park Service, which has $8 million budgeted to restore North Carolina’s Cape Lookout Light Station, now says it will most likely need a lot more money for the massive undertaking. They believe it won’t be until 2025 when the lighthouse can again open to the public. When the lighthouse was built in 1859, it was unpainted. It wasn’t until 1873 that the black and white, diamond-pattern was painted on the 169-foot-tall tower, so that it could also act as a daymark.

DAR Donates to Barcelona Light

This past October, the Benjamin Prescott Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented a check for $3,533.06 to the Allegany Region State Park Commission to benefit the restoration of the 1829 Barcelona Lighthouse in Barcelona, New York. In 1831, the Barcelona Lighthouse was the first lighthouse in the United States to use natural gas. Members of the DAR chapter are shown here with two others in front of the Barcelona Lighthouse, which will turn 200 years old in 2029.

Princess Visits NLM

England’s Princess Anne paid a visit this past October to the National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island, New York. Her visit to Staten Island came nearly 65 years to the day that her late parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh toured the area. She is shown here speaking with well-wishers.

Restoration at Fond du Lac

The 1933 Fond du Lac Lighthouse on Lake Winnebago in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin has undergone restoration. Work on the 56-foot-tall wooden tower included masonry work, new exterior siding, and some structural renovation and repair work.

Buttoning Up Harbor of Refuge

More than 20 volunteers from the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation made an end-of-season trip last October, out to that state’s Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse to button it up for the winter season. As well as closing up the tower, the group did some painting and made various repairs. It was obviously a chilly day and most of the volunteers were dressed with jackets and sweatshirts.

Old Stonington Still Raising Dollars

The Stonington Historical Society is trying to raise $600,000 as the final phase of its $2.75 million renovation and upgrading of the Stonington Harbor Lighthouse in Stonington, Connecticut. This includes adding a 500-square-foot addition to the back of the building to house a handicap-accessible bathroom, ticketing area, and gift shop. Phase one of the project, started in 2019, included installing a HVAC system to create a climate-controlled environment to preserve their artifacts, repairing structural damage, installing new electrical wiring, and replacing the floors, as well as other projects. The lighthouse was deactivated way back in 1889 and became the property of the historical society in 1925.

PEI Beacon Gets Heritage Status

The 1864 Seacow Head Lighthouse on the southwestern coast of Prince Edward Island, Canada, has been designated as a heritage lighthouse under Canada’s Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. The 60-foot tower, that was moved back from an eroding bluff in 1979, is one of the oldest wooden towers in the Canadian Maritimes. It was automated in 1959 and, at that time, the former keepers house was sold and moved from the site.

Lighthouse Leader Dies

We are saddened to report on the passing of Marcus “Marc” W. Kamp, 78, who for many years was the leader of the Tinicum Rear Range Lighthouse Society in Billingsport, New Jersey. He was instrumental in opening the 1880 lighthouse to the public. Our condolences go out to his friends and family.

Dunkirk Looks for Help

The folks who run New York’s 1875 Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veterans Museum at the west entrance to Dunkirk Harbor are asking local government officials to look for and obtain some grants to help protect the grounds to defend the lighthouse area from further erosion. A letter to Dunkirk officials read, “Over the past several years the storms on Lake Erie have been increasingly worse, causing the shoreline to erode at a faster pace. With each storm the shoreline is getting closer to the road through the park and the lighthouse tower, causing concern.”

Turkey Point Building Bell Tower

Members of Maryland’s Turkey Point Light Station, Inc. recently held a groundbreaking ceremony to announce their plans to build a replica of the fog bell tower that was constructed at the station in 1888 and demolished sometime after automation. The group is now looking for a bell for the tower. Shown here is Fannie Salter, who was the keeper from 1925 to 1947, demonstrating the manual ringing of the fog bell at Turkey Point Lighthouse. One time, when the automatic striker stopped working, she was forced to ring the bell by hand every 15 seconds for nearly an hour to help guide a steamer in heavy fog. While she was busy ringing the bell and absent from the dwelling, she missed her son-in-law’s call announcing the birth of a granddaughter.

New Disney Pin

In recent months, Disney has released a limited-edition series of 3D poster pins celebrating attractions at Disneyland in California. The Storybookland pin features the old lighthouse ticket booth prominently, which sits at the entrance to the ride and is painted with the West Quoddy Head Light daymark of alternating red and white bands. For more information on why Disney chose to replicate this particular lighthouse, please see the “Fantasyland Faux” article in the January/February 2022 edition of Lighthouse Digest in our online archives at www.LighthouseDigest.com.

American Lighthouse Foundation Gives Up Another Lighthouse

Ownership of Maine’s 1857 Browns Head Lighthouse has been transferred from the American Lighthouse Foundation to a newly formed nonprofit group headed by Nick Korstad, who also owns Big Bay Point Lighthouse in Michigan and previously owned and restored the Borden Flats Lighthouse in Massachusetts. The American Lighthouse Foundation had owned the lighthouse since 2015 when it was given to them, free of charge, by the Town of Vinalhaven, who had previously owned the light station since 1998. Ownership of Browns Head Lighthouse, which needs a new heating system and possibly new plumbing, was transferred at no cost from the American Lighthouse Foundation to the Friends of Browns Head Lighthouse. The lighthouse was automated in 1987.

A Long Walk to West Quoddy

Utah resident Isaiah Glen Shields recently completed an 8,400-mile walk from his home in Utah to Washington State and then across America ending up at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine, the easternmost lighthouse on the Atlantic Coast of the United States. He started his walk in April of 2021 and ended at West Quoddy Head Light in the early morning hours of November 13, 2022, where he was greeted by a small group of well-wishers. (Photos by Marty Saccone courtesy of the West Quoddy Head Light Visitor Center and Museum)

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This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2023 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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