Digest>Archives> September 2003

Keeper’s Korner

By Tid-bits from the Tower


Breakwater makes national list

Maine’s Rockland Breakwater has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The breakwater is a 4,346-foot long granite structure that extends out into Rockland Harbor from an area near the Samoset Resort. The U. S. Army Corp of Engineers built the breakwater between 1881 and 1900 to protect maritime industries on the coast and to provide a harbor of safe refuge for coastal traveling vessels. After the breakwater was completed the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse was built on the end. The lighthouse is now being restored by the Friends of Rockland Breakwater Light, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation.

Cuckolds added to register

Maine’s Cuckolds Lighthouse has also been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Built originally as a fog signal station in 1892, the lighthouse was added in 1907. In February 1978, a storm destroyed the keeper’s house.

Support still strong by seafarers for lighthouses

From Bud Warren came this email saying that in its July issue of Maritime Trade Press, member Schiff & Hafen wrote about a survey among seafarers regarding lighthouses. From more than 91 ships (ocean going vessels), 155 nautical officers of 21 nationalities, the following survey revealed—63% of all navigators regard lighthouses essential for safe navigation and not a single one of them found them (lighthouses) totally unnecessary; 22% think some lighthouses are superfluous, thereby showing that they have given the subject consideration; and a minority of no less than 9% want even more lighthouses to help them navigate; practically nobody trusts GPS completely. The report went on to say, “These findings are particularly interesting as the survey has not been conducted among experts on shore—ship owners or manufacturers of electronic navigation equipment—but among navigators on board their vessels, i.e., those who actually use lighthouses. Does anyone claim to know better than these “drivers in the seat?”

Repairs at Old Cape Henry

It seems that the cement laid 30 years ago at Virginia’s Old Cape Henry Lighthouse to stop the erosion, has now actually caused further erosion at the old beacon. Today, about 8 feet of the sandstone base, once buried beneath the hill, is visible. Over the years additional stairs have been installed to reach the lighthouse. A new restoration study, funded to the tune of $25,000, hopefully will come up with a way to solve the problem. $160,000 from a Federal Intermodel Service Transportation Efficiency grant will fund the work once the study determines how to solve it.

Plum Beach restoration underway

In 1999, the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse, RI, received $500,000 under the Transportation Act for the 21st Century, known as TEA-21. A contract was awarded to the Abcore Restoration Company of Naragansett, RI, and work began in late June of this year. The exterior of the lighthouse will be stabilized and painted. The deck will be repaired, doors and windows will be installed, and some repairs will be made to the lantern. Guano will be removed from the interior, and the stone riprap around the base will be reinforced. It’s hoped that the interior can be fully restored in the future.

Stoddard Island For Sale

Stoddard Island, a 224-acre island southeast of Nova Scotia, Canada is for sale. Located 5 minutes off the coast from Shag Harbor, the island includes a lighthouse. It is the southernmost privately owned island in Canada. Being close to Maine, its climate is similar to downeast Maine. The island was inhabited in the 18th and 19th century. Asking price is $963,000; for more information go to www.stoddard-Island.com.

Fog Horns to remain

The Coast Guard was discontinuing the foghorns at New York’s Eatons Neck and Huntington Harbor Lighthouses. However, New York State senators and assemblymen were quick to draw protests from their constituents, and the foghorns will remain. “I’m pleased that Admiral Crea has rescinded the proposal of the discontinued foghorn service,” said Assemblyman James Conte.

Lease approved for Dyce’s Head

The selectmen from the town of Castine approved a lease on the keeper’s house for another three years to the tenant who lives in it now with a yearly increase in rent. The town will also be planting additional shrubs to help restrain pedestrian traffic from entering the property near the house. This move also relieves the town from seeking historic certification to install a fence to serve that purpose.

Renovations at Land Light

Work has begun on a $400,000 restoration project to restore Erie (PA) Land Lighthouse. Work will include installing a new lantern room roof, and weathering proofing and repairing the stone structure. The lighthouse will be relit when restoration is completed.

Looking for postcards

Robert Andrews writes that he is trying to collect lighthouse postcards from around the world and if anyone can help him, he appreciates hearing from them. You can contact him at Robert Andrews, P.O. Box 6782, Providence, RI 02940-6782 USA.

New Book

A new soft cover 150-page book on the history of Michigan’s Grand Traverse Lighthouse, with over 50 historic photos, is now available from the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum. The book is a complete comprehensive history of the lighthouse and also includes blueprints, drawings, letters, history interviews and more. It is available for $24.95 plus $4.00 shipping from the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum, P.O. Box 43, Northport, MI 49670 or by calling 231-386-7195.

Lighthouse to be Transferred

Speaking of Grand Traverse Lighthouse, on Monday, Sept. 22 ownership of the lighthouse will be transferred from the Coast Guard to the Michigan Department of Parks and Recreation Bureau. It will then be leased to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum. The ceremony is open to the public.

Charity Island restoration

Michigan’s Charity Island Lighthouse may be saved if things work out under a plan developed by the Arenac County Historical Society, U. S. Senators Carl Levin, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy and Bob Wiltse who owns much of the island where the lighthouse is located. This lighthouse has been on the Doomsday List for many years and this is encouraging news.

Vermont lighthouses being rebuilt

It’s often been said that we need to save what lighthouses we have left because the government isn’t building them any more. Well. Thanks to Vermont’s Senator Patrick Leahay that statement isn’t true anymore. The senator was able to secure the necessary federal funds to build replicas of the two Burlington, Vermont lighthouses on Lake Champlain that were destroyed many years ago. Atlantic Mechanical, A construction company out of Maine, a state known for its historic lighthouses, is building the lighthouses under government contract. The lighthouses were built on shore and will then be moved to the sites where the former original 1857 lighthouses once stood. A ceremony honoring the completion of the new lighthouses is scheduled for Sept. 10. More on this will be in the next issue of Lighthouse Digest.

Will the real owner please step forward

Cheboygan, Michigan’s lighthouse, which is used to represent nearly all things Cheboygan, sits on city land, and has been from time to time painted by volunteers, was thought by city officials to be owned by the city. However, the city found out that it did not own the lighthouse when the General Service Administration sent them a letter telling them that the Coast Guard was declaring it excess property. The city will probably apply for ownership of the lighthouse.

This story appeared in the September 2003 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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