Digest>Archives> June 2000

Rothman’s Report-Harbour Lights


Harbour Lights collectors will be pleasantly surprised with the announcement of the release of Rockland Breakwater, Maine lighthouse rendition. Those not familiar with this charming lighthouse that rests at the end of the breakwater leading into Rockland Harbor, will find it interesting to know that before the establishment of an actual lighthouse around 1880, mariners were guided with a lantern hanging from a pole. I am sure many Captains struggled as they navigated these waters. But within a period of ten years or better Rockland Breakwater, Maine Lighthouse was established, a construction of brick, stone and wood lighthouse that stood in earnest at the end of the breakwater clearly marking the entrance with a 4th-order Fresnel lens. Also a unique first-class Daboll trumpet could be heard as a warning during foggy conditions. This lighthouse station had then become a true navigational aid in assisting many mariners in the years past.

Keepers of the US Lighthouse Service staffed this lighthouse until 1939 when the Coast Guard took over. The Coast Guard de-staffed the station in 1963, and after automation in 1964, the lighthouse unfortunately, as with many throughout the nation, fell into neglect. The Coast Guard determined they were going to destroy and remove this once exquisite sentinel.

As reported in the Lighthouse Digest September 1999 “under the Maine Lights program, the lighthouse was given to the City of Rockland in 1998 by the United States Coast Guard.” The Friends of Rockland Breakwater, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation was formed to lead the way in fund raising and restoration. In the summer of 1999, volunteers diligently scraped and repainted the exterior of the lighthouse and had the great fortune of receiving help from sailors of the visiting United States destroyer USS Stump. How is that for inviting friends over for your next painting project!

It must be noted, also, that local restaurants donated food for volunteers as well as a generous local Sherwin Williams paint store providing 52 gallons of a new high-endurance latex paint.

Harbour Lights’ depiction of Rockland Breakwater, the second in their new restoration series, displays the lighthouse as it appeared during its recent cleaning, with ladders, paint cans, and a wooden tool-box with the contents needed by the workmen. Harbour Lights has announced it will donate $5.00 from each Rockland Breakwater sold with an edition size of 6,500. These proceeds will assist in the restoration of this historical lighthouse. If you would like to contact Friends of Rockland Breakwater or further information, you may do so at P.O. Box 741, Rockland, Maine, 04841.

In preparation for this column, I spoke to Kim Andrews COO of Harbour Lights, who noted her memorable experience visiting this lighthouse on July 4th 1996. Kim and her husband Blair were travelling throughout New England looking for a site for the Harbour Lights reunion, and stayed at the Samoset Resort in Rockland, Maine. Kim remarked how exquisite the view was from the resort overlooking the harbor with all the bobbing lobster buoys, the sunshine glistening on the water, and this marvelous lighthouse in the background. Sounds like a great weekend for any lighthouse enthusiast! Note the edition size of this new release as it may not last long.

Quickly, other Harbour Lights news, Oak Island is officially sold out. Harbour Lights is still looking for a site for the planned reunion in 2001. Could it be your area?

Until next month, enjoy the great spring weather. Get out and visit a lighthouse and always keep the Flame.

Matt Rothman is the owner of the Lighthouse Trading Company, the original and leading source specializing in the secondary market of Harbour Lights. He can be contacted by mail at 112 Elio Circle, Limerick PA 19468 or by calling him at (610)409-9336. Email LHTRADE1@aol.com

This story appeared in the June 2000 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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