Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2023

Recently Acquired Photos

By Timothy Harrison


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Recently Acquired Photos Preserve History
Lighthouse Digest continues to acquire old photographs, something that that we have been doing since 1992, to help preserve the history of lighthouses. Although some photos are donated, most of what we acquire are purchased from private collectors and other sources, primarily from newspaper archives. These are photos that otherwise, more than likely, would have been thrown out and lost forever. Many of these photos have never been published before, or only published once many years ago. Each and every one of them are vital to saving lighthouse history for future generations, as well as telling the story of many different lighthouses. The following are a few of the recently acquired photos and information about them. We hope to publish more in future editions of Lighthouse Digest; but we cannot continue to do this unless we have financial help, which you can do by donating here at: www.LighthouseHistoryResearch.org. Please, won’t you help?

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Eddystone Without the Helipad
We don’t know the story as to why this photograph, taken on August 25, 1961, was published or shown by the TV Times. However, it is a wonderful photo of the lighthouse before its appearance was significantly altered in 1980 when its cupola was sliced off and replaced by a helipad. Located about nine miles south of Rame Head in Cornwall, England, it is the fourth tower to be built at this location. The first tower, named Winstanley’s Lighthouse, was swept away in a storm that killed its architect and five other men. The second Eddystone Lighthouse, referred to as Rudyard’s Lighthouse, stood for fifty years before it burned down. The third tower, referred to as Smeaton’s Lighthouse, built in 1759, was the first wave-swept lighthouse in the world. When the current Eddystone Lighthouse was built in 1882, the upper portions of the old Smeaton’s tower were removed and reconstructed in Plymouth, England where it is now a popular tourist destination; and the bottom part of the old tower still stands today next to the current Eddystone Lighthouse.

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1935 War Warnings
The caption for this pre-World War II photo that was published on September 24, 1935, read: “A view from the top of the Rock of Gibraltar, looking toward Gibraltar’s lighthouse and the coast of Africa. Town’s people of the historic rock have been warned to prepare for a defense from possible air attacks, should war come.” As we all know, war did come. But, by the time it did, the civilian population was evacuated, mainly to London, but also to parts of Morocco. The actual name of the lighthouse is the Europa Point Lighthouse and it was the only light built and operated by Trinity House, the lighthouse authority of England, outside of the British Isles. Completed in 1841, over 10,000 people witnessed the first lighting of its lantern. The lighthouse still stands to this day.

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Painting of the Painting of Eastern Point
On May 27, 1973, the Houston Chronicle published this photo of a painting of Eastern Point Lighthouse, by Don Stone, as one of the many paintings that were on display as part of a new exhibit at the Henkle Gallery in Houston. Don Stone (1929-2015) was a noted American artist who lived on Cape Cod, but maintained a studio on Maine’s Monhegan Island where many artists live part of each year. Although Mr. Stone created a wonderful image of the 1890 Eastern Point Lighthouse in Gloucester, Massachusetts, one can only speculate as to why he did this painting showing a bosun’s platform used by the lighthouse keepers to paint the tower. Perhaps he simply thought it was a neat idea to do a painting of the lighthouse during a time that it was actually being painted. Or he may have done this painting as a homage to assistant keeper Frank Parsons who, with another man, were hoisting themselves and the staging to the top of the tower in September of 1922 when Parsons lost his grip, causing his end of the staging to drop, and he fell to his death on the rocks below. Unfortunately, we may never know the answer.

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 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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