Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2004

Keeper’s Korner

Tid-bits from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


A Lighthouse Wedding

Although people get married every day, not all of them have a lighthouse theme as was the case with Benjamin & Jessica Faltinowski who were married this past fall at the First Christian Reformed Church in Grand Haven, Michigan. Lighthouses were a big part of the wedding theme from the invitations to the centerpieces, the programs, songs and even the groom’s vows. The 30-pound wedding cake was even made to look like a lighthouse.

Prior to their marriage the couple visited every lighthouse in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and their next plans are to visit all those in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Lighthouse Digest can help

All over this nation there are lighthouse groups and volunteers working to restore and save lighthouses and their history. Unfortunately, many of those groups never send anything to Lighthouse Digest to promote their good deeds or requests for help in promoting their events or fund-raisers. If you belong to a lighthouse group and want to tell the world what you’re doing, promote an event, make pleas for donations for a particular project, let us know about it. With our ever-growing subscription base, we’re sure there are many readers out there that would like to know what’s going on at your lighthouse. But be sure to send us complete information. When sending photographs, make sure they are crisp and clear and include captions. Lighthouse Digest can help, but we can’t be everywhere, so we depend on you. Remember, just because you know about a restoration or an event doesn’t mean the rest of the world does. Lighthouse Digest can help, but only with your help.

How bright is Cape Lookout?

No, we’re not talking about intelligence. It seems the Coast Guard wants to know if the power of the beacon at North Carolina’s Cape Lookout Lighthouse should be changed. Specifically, they want to know if the light should be brighter. They are also asking specific questions of mariners, such as; Is the nighttime signal at Cape Lookout used for navigation? If so, which body of water does your vessel operate from? For ocean navigation, at what distance from the shoreline do you require the light to be seen? What other means of navigation do you use beside visual? Hopefully, these questions will not mean the light will be removed from the tower. Those wishing to comment can contact CWO Chris Humphrey at chumphrey@gruftmacon.uscg.mil.

Missing lighthouse lens

No one seems to know what happened to the second order lens removed from New Hampshire’s Isles of Shoals (White Island) Lighthouse in the late 1980s. If you know contact me at Timh@lhdigest.com or write to Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.

Hugh Morton’s camera

Many of us in lighthouse circles know Hugh Morton as the man who led the battle to stop Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina from being moved, a battle which he thankfully lost to the lighthouse preservation movement. However, he is also known as the man who led the battle that he won, to bring the Battleship North Carolina to Wilmington, NC and his battle to keep a road from being cut across the top of Grandfather Mountain that led to the creation of the Blue Ridge Parkway viaduct that clings to the side of the mountain. But he is also widely known for his photography as is now distinguished in the book, Hugh Morton’s North Carolina which is seeing brisk sales. The various people who write book reviews have all given the book high marks. The book is available or can be ordered through most bookstores.

Semans gets OBLS award

Sandy Semans, Managing Editor of the Outer Banks Sentinel newspaper in Nags Head, North Carolina was recently honored by the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society, which voted unanimously to giver her the award. Bruce Roberts, cofounder of the group said the Outer Banks Lighthouses Society’s Presidents Award was bestowed on Semans for her efforts toward saving the lighthouses of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Semans stories and editorials kept the Currituck Lighthouse controversy in the local spotlight and she was one of the first to report the plight and possible loss of the lens in the tower at Bodie Island Lighthouse. This writer can tell you for a fact that I spent a lot of time on the phone with her during the entire Currituck battle, which I’m sure would not have been won without her fair investigative reporting.

Celia’s first letter discovered

Poet Celia Laighton Thaxter is best remembered for her writings from the Isles of Shoals Lighthouse, which is 10 miles out to sea from Portsmouth, NH. Until now her earliest writing known was from 1851. That was until David Jaret from Pennsylvania found a letter of hers for sale on E-Bay dated Dec. 16, 1847. Jaret, who won the auction, sent the letter to Seacoastnh.com and asked them to donate it to the appropriate local historical society.

NJLHS Nova Scotia lighthouse trip

The New Jersey Lighthouse Society is planning an 8-day lighthouse trip from August 21-28, 2004, to view many of the lighthouses of Nova Scotia, Canada. The tour will include 46 lighthouses, Halifax city tour, Mahone Bay and Lunenberg, Seal Island Lighthouse Museum, Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Fort Anne National Historic Site, Halifax Citadel and Ovens National Park and a day cruise on the Scotia Prince. The fee is $1.430.00 per person, double occupancy and includes, roundtrip motor coach transportation, tour manager, 7 nights of lodging including an overnight cruise on the Scotia Prince, 7 breakfasts, and 7 dinners. Deposit is $430.00 per person due on or before March 20 with final payment of $1,000 due by June 20. FMI contact Carole DiNapoli, 1150 Kearney Dr., North Brunswick, NJ 08902.

Italy’s Lighthouses now on CD

If you have an interest in Italian Lighthouses, Samatha Paglioli has produced a new CD in English that’s for you. The CD is easy to install on your computer and takes you on a photographic journey with historical information of many of Italy’s historic and beautiful lighthouses. She has also included many fantastic photos of the various lenses and lantern rooms, photographs of keepers and directions to the lighthouses. To order a CD you can e-mail her at Liviopag@tin.it

Pressed Ceiling tiles

For those of you that are involved in lighthouse restoration projects the old pressed-tin ceiling tiles are still available through the Chelsea Decorative Metal Company. They come n 2’ x 4’ sheets, with either 3”, 6” 12” or 24” repeat patterns. Catalogs are available for $1.00 from the company by writing to them at 8212 Braewick Dr., Houston, TX 77096 or by calling them at 713-721-9200. You can also visit their web site at www.thetinman.com

Magical moment cancelled

The annual Christmas Lighting of Maine’s Nubble (Cape Neddick) Lighthouse in York was canceled due to high winds. Generally the annual Christmas lighting, held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, draws about 5,000 people who are treated to hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies, caroling and Santa and of course the countdown to the relighting. The high winds made attempts to reach the island to turn on the holiday lights too dangerous. Also, it became impossible to set up the tents used to serve the public.

Lighthouse gone - but for how long?

Alabama’s 1873 Mobile Point Light, on display for a number of years outside Fort Morgan at the entrance of Mobile Bay, was disassembled and removed from the fort this past summer. Officials say the cast iron tower had deteriorated so badly that they had no choice. They currently have no funds for its repair, but a master plan is now in development for the fort and all its structures, including the lighthouse. The tower will be returned to the site once restoration is complete. The 30-foot cast iron skeletal tower was deactivated in its original site on top of the fort in 1966.

This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2004 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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