Digest>Archives> November 2004

Keeper’s Korner

Tidbits from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Crossed the Bar

Bob Baisley, a true friend of lighthouses, passed away recently. He was 77. Bob's ashes were cast into the waters of the Hudson River last July 30, there hopefully to mingle with the foundations of some of his beloved lighthouses. Bob's goal was to photograph every lighthouse in the United States and he came close to succeeding. Before his death, he was working on a book about his photographs of the lighthouses of New York.

Pierhead Light Celebration

Indiana's Michigan City East Pierhead Lighthouse recently celebrated its 100th birthday at a part held by the Michigan City Historical Society in the old Michigan City Lighthouse.

Lens to Stay at Bodie

Concerns about the fate of the first order Fresnel lens at North Carolina's Bodie Island Lighthouse appear to have been resolved. Plans now call for the lens along with the actual lighthouse to be transferred to the National Park Service who in partnership with the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society would assure the restoration and care of the lens. Plans call for a future total restoration of the lighthouse, which is on the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List of Endangered lighthouses.

Only One Applicant

The only applicant applying for ownership of Michigan's Harbor Beach Lighthouse under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act is the City of Harbor Beach. The Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society withdrew their application opting to work with the city to preserve the lighthouse.

New Sign in Grand Haven

There is a new 600-pound sign at the pier, which leads to Michigan's Grand Haven Pier Lights, warning visitors of the dangers. The Grand Haven, Michigan, Eagles Club donated the $5,000 for the sign and Advanced Signs of Ferrysburg, Michigan donated their time to build it. The sign installed just before the south pierhead shows color photographs of two young boys who were washed off the pier last year and drowned. The sign warns visitors that walking the pier to the lighthouse can be dangerous. Other supporters of the sign were the Army Corps of Engineers, Michigan State Police, Ottawa County Sheriffs Dept. as well as family members of the young men whose lives were lost.

Surfboat Being Restored

Mike Labre, owner of Baywood Industries in Escanaba, Michigan has been contracted by the Delta County Historical Society to restore a surfboat that was donated to the society. The boat had been lying upside down for over 40 years and totally exposed to the elements. In fact some people thought the boat not be able to be restored. But Labre is well on his way into the restoration. Once completed the boat will go on display at the restored boathouse by the Sand Point Lighthouse in Escanaba, MI.

My Favorite Lighthouse

It's been a long time since we did the “My Favorite Lighthouse” column and many readers have asked us to bring it back. So, back it will be, but only with your help. Send us a letter or email about your favorite lighthouse and as space permits we'll publish some of the stories we receive. Why is a particular lighthouse your favorite? What makes it so special, is it the setting, is it something spiritual, does it bring back childhood memories, or memories of past family outings. Do you like it because of its architecture, or perhaps because of the people you've met there. Have you fallen in love at a lighthouse, gotten engaged at a lighthouse, or been married at a lighthouse. There must be lots of reasons why an individual lighthouse is your favorite. Send us your story and if you have photos to go with your story that's even better, especially if they are photos of yourself, an event or other people at a lighthouse. We want to hear from you! Letters can be sent to Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630 or emailed to Editor@LighthouseDigest.com. If sending photos by email, they must be of a high resolution of 300dpi or better attached as a separate JPEG file or we can't use them. So, why haven't we heard from you yet?

Lighthouse Patches

Our thanks go out to Doris Griffiths of Asbury Park, New Jersey for sending us recently a slew of lighthouse patches for the patch display at the Museum of Lighthouse History. Don't forget we are always looking for more and from time to time we'll publish images of the patches before they go on display.

The Lighthouse People Step Forward

Most of us know by now Bob & Sandra Shanklin, “The Lighthouse People” who have photographed every lighthouse in the United States including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Bob & Sandra have also published a number of books and CDs about lighthouses. They have now stepped forward to support the American Lighthouse Foundation in its efforts to save Americans lighthouses and their history. From now through the end of the year, for every copy of Lighthouses of the Hawaiian Islands or Lighthouses of Alaska that is sold through their website or from this announcement, they will donate $4.00 from each book sold to the American Lighthouse Foundation. The Alaska book sells for $12.95 plus $3.00 shipping and the Hawaii lighthouse book sells for $10.95 plus $3.00 shipping. Order both books and only pay a total of $5.00 for shipping. Books can be ordered on line at www.Thelighthousepeople.com or to Bob & Sandra Shanklin, 517 Thornhill Rd., Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547.

Wanted: Lighthouse People Stories

We are interested in doing stories about today's lighthouse people, those who are truly making a difference. If you have a story to tell about a person who is making a difference, we want to hear from you. This person could be volunteering at or for a lighthouse or lighthouse group or even a paid staff employee. Send us the story and a photograph of that person and we will consider publishing it if space and time permit. We also reserve the right to edit the story. Photos and stories can be emailed and photos MUST be attached separately as JPEG file 300dpi or better. Send to Editor at Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630 or Editor@LighthouseDigest.com

Whitfield Lighthouse Exhibit Open Till Year-end

In June 2002, the Bicentennial Beacon: Faulkner's Island Lighthouse exhibit opened at the Henry Whitfield Museum at 248 Old Whitfield Street in Guilford, Connecticut. Shortly thereafter, due to state budget cuts the museum was closed for most of 2003. It is now open again and the impressive lighthouse exhibit can again be viewed Wednesday through Sunday from 10AM to 4:30PM. But, don't wait too long, the exhibit will close forever on December 12, 2004. FMI call (203) 453-2457.

Lightship Bell Recovered

The undersea recovery crew of Capt. Eric J. Takakjian of Quest Marine Services in Fairhaven, Massachusetts recovered the 1,200-pound fog bell from the doomed Lightship Nantucket 117 that sank in 1935. The lightship sunk on May 14, 1935 when the RMS Olympic, the twin ship of the Titanic, struck it. Five crewmembers of the Nantucket lost their lives. Quest Marine is now in the process of restoring the fog bell.

Lighthouses of Puerto Rico

Bob and Sandra Shanklin are close to completing the first ever book on the lighthouses of Puerto Rico. Watch for its release date soon.

Greetings for Point Fermin 150th

The Point Fermin Lighthouse in San Pedro, California will be celebrating its official 130th birthday on December 15, 2004. They are hoping to obtain birthday greetings form lighthouses and lighthouse groups across the world that can be displayed at the lighthouse. So, if you work or volunteer at a lighthouse or belong to a lighthouse group, get the folks in your organization moving to create a birthday card showing your lighthouse and perhaps get people to sign the card. Cards and unique greetings can be sent to The Point Fermin Lighthouse Society, P.O. Box 742, San Pedro, CA 90733.

New Dungeness Book

Washington state's New Dungeness Light Station Association has a great 96-page book by James Isom that details the history of the lighthouse. It gives a comprehensive history with maps, photographs and drawings from old blueprints as well as the stories of some of its keepers. Send $20.00 plus $4.00 shipping to New Dungeness Light Station Association, P. O. Box 1283, Sequim, WA 98382-1283.

Old Film Acquired

The American Lighthouse Foundation has acquired the original Columbia Broadcasting film of the 1968 movie The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter that starred Bridgette Bardot. While the Foundation is attempting to obtain permission from Columbia Pictures to transfer the film to DVD, we have been trying to locate a copy on VHS format as well as information on the movie. Although it's a bit of an unusual lighthouse related item, it's still part of lighthouse history that the American Lighthouse Foundation is trying to save in its Museum of Lighthouse History. If any of our readers can help locate a copy on VHS or historical information on the movie, we would love to hear from you at editor@LighthouseDigest.com.

New New Jersey & Delaware CD Lighthouse Book

Bon and Sandra Shanklin, “The Lighthouse People,” have recently come out with their latest FlipBook for the lighthouses of New Jersey and Delaware. It's the best one they've done to date. A FlipBook is a lighthouse book that you read on your computer. If you are interested this one sells for $12.95 plus $4.00 postage. They also have a 2-CD set of Lighthouses of Massachusetts CD book, which sells for $25.95 plus $4.00 shipping. They can be ordered from The Lighthouse People, 517 Thornhill Rd., Fort Walton Beach. FL 32547. To learn more, visit their web site at www.TheLighthousePeople.com or for questions email them at TheLighthousePeople@thelighthousepeople.com or call (850) 862-4069.

USCG Needs Help – You Can Own Part of It

The United States Coast Guard Cutter Taney, the last surviving warship from the attack on Pearl Harbor, served our country for 50 years. Throughout those years, one of the Taney's most outstanding features was its beautiful wooden decking. However, time and wear have taken their toll. The wood has deteriorated beyond repair and must be replaced. To help raise money for the restoration project, you can now own an authentic piece of the Taney's deck, beautifully mounted, individually numbered with an engraved brass plaque that comes with a certificate of authenticity. This would make a great gift, too. Cost of the mounted block is $100. Order from the Baltimore Maritime Museum, 802 South Caroline Street, Baltimore, MD 21231 or FMI call (410) 396-3453.

Legislatures Visit Harbor of Refuge

The Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation recently had the honor of escorting U. S. Senator Tom Carper out to Delaware Breakwater East End and Harbor of Refuge Lights. One of his concerns was to view first hand the deterioration of the National Harbor of Refuge Breakwater wall. His office is attempting to secure federal funds to have the Army Corps of Engineers repair the wall, which presently endangers the Harbor of Refuge Light. This was an important visit as now the lighthouse group has been able to escort both members of Delaware's General Assembly and federal legislators in an attempt to show them first hand why securing long-term funding for lighthouse preservation and education is important.

Robert Stone Dies

Robert W. Stone, of the Lighthouse Inn in West Dennis, MA has died at the age of 86. In 1938 he began a life long career in the motel business when he and his parents opened the Lighthouse Inn in the former Bass River Lighthouse in West Dennis, MA. Over the years many lighthouse aficionados have stayed at the Lighthouse Inn and toured the lantern room. The Stone family always welcomes lighthouse buffs with a warm welcome.

Boston Keeper Dies

Joseph F. LaVigne the 33rd keeper of Boston Lighthouse, the oldest light station in the United States died at the age of 79. His daughter, Mary Ellen Stone said upon his death, "Like so many of his generation, he did his duty to the best of his ability and he did it without complaining." During WWII he served in the Coast Guard and was on the USS Menges in 1944 when the ship was hit by a torpedo while on convoy duty in the Mediterranean. Thirty-one of his shipmates die. After the war he remained in the Coast Guard and also served on lightships and was an engine man on the buoy tender White Heath. This past August he returned for a visit to Boston Lighthouse where he was proud to have served as one of its keepers.

Semiahmoo Lighthouse info

We are looking for historical information and photographs of keepers of the Semiahmoo Harbor Lighthouse, which was located near Blaine Washington. It was sometimes referred to as Blaine Harbor Light. The lighthouse, built in 1905 was deactivated in 1944 and later destroyed. If any of our readers can help us out for a story, please contact Editor@LighthouseDigest.com or mail Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.

This story appeared in the November 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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