Digest>Archives> April 2006

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


North Point to Get Repairs

Milwaukee, Wisconsin's North Point Lighthouse keeper’s house will undergo a $1.23 million restoration this year to recreate the site to its 1915 appearance. The house will be renovated to house a museum, offices and conference room.

Man Makes Unauthorized Lighthouse Climb

Frank Feldmann, 35, spent the night in jail after breaking into Florida's St. Augustine Lighthouse and while dressed in a tiger suit, climbed to the top outside of the cupola and tied himself to the lightening rod. He claimed he did it as a publicity stunt to draw attention to child pornography. However, newspaper reports said he has done some other things in the past to draw attention to himself and his children's book. A few years ago, he rode a carousel for 51 hours and another time, he left thousands of seashells on doorsteps with a note inside offering a free copy of his children's book.

Tribe Has Interest in Lighthouse

The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians are interested in Oregon's Cape Arago Lighthouse that was decommissioned a few months ago by the Coast Guard when they turned off the light. It is believed that the tribes are not so much interested in the lighthouse as they are in the 140 acres of land that comes with the lighthouse.

Lighthouse Vandals Now Face Jail

Australia is cracking down on vandals who strike at lighthouses. The government says vandalism at remote lighthouse has ranged from graffiti to more serious crimes such as the theft of solar panels and breaking into lighthouses and damaging equipment and lens. The old law gave a maximum penalty of $220. The new law allows for ten years in jail for damage to lighthouses or other aids to navigation.

We can only hope that other countries will follow the lead of the Australians.

Saving Ludington Coast Guard Station

Todd Reed, a retired Coast Guard chief, is leading the way to try and turn the old Ludington Michigan Coast Guard Station into a cultural tourist attraction. As ways to save the historic structure, he is suggesting a bed-and-breakfast or a maritime museum. He has the support of Michigan's Department of History, Arts and Libraries, which states that cultural tourism is important to Michigan's future. Now, if we get some of the other states to think like that, maybe more historic sites would be saved.

Efforts Still Underway at Dana Point

California's Dana Point Lighthouse Society is still trying to get a lighthouse built in Dana Point Harbor. Their latest effort over the past two years has been included in the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Project. Recently, the Orange County Board of Supervisors gave final approval to the Environmental Impact Report for the harbor revitalization plan. The next step will be an EIR Project hearing with the California Coastal Commission, hopefully in the second half of this year. The goal of the society, when the lighthouse is built will include an educational center and maritime museum.

Swap for Point Lookout

The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved the exchange of two parcels of land: Point Lookout State Park between the U.S. Navy and the State of Maryland. Under the agreement, 4.5 acres of land will be given to the Navy in exchange for the 4.8 acre Point Lighthouse Complex, which is currently managed by the Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The state will now manage the Point Lookout Lighthouse.

Will Goddard Mansion Be Saved?

Town officials in Cape Elizabeth, Maine are debating if they should spend $400,000 to preserve the old Goddard Mansion at Fort Williams State Park by Maine's famous Portland Head Light. In 1981, plans to tear down the mansion met with immense resistance so the town burned the interior and poured cement into the basement. This left nothing but a stone shell. We believe it’s time that an effort should now be made to save what is left of the old mansion and eventually restore it to its original grandeur. Plus, the town of Cape Elizabeth could easily raise the money.

Seguin Hires Director

Anne Webster Wallace has been hired as the first Executive Director of Maine's Friends of Seguin Island. The nonprofit was actually founded under Webster's leadership 20 years ago to preserve the historic Seguin Island Lighthouse at the mouth of the Kennebec River near Bath, Maine. Webster has served in various volunteer positions with the Friends group since its founding. She was also the director of the Maine Lights Program, which was the forerunner to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. Under the Maine Lights Program, ownership of over 30 lighthouses in Maine were transferred to nonprofits and communities. Anne will be the first paid employee of the group, a decision that was made to insure that the protection of the lighthouse and its amazing first order Fresnel lens be preserved well into the future.

Lighthouse Design to Promote Clinton, Iowa

A promotional design painted on a 48-foot trailer delivery truck for the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division to promote the town of Clinton, Iowa will feature a soaring eagle and a lighthouse with the words

"Visit Clinton." Liesl Mensinger, of HomeGrown Graphics in Camanche, Iowa, the designer of the logo said, "In using the eagle and the lighthouse, those are two very recognizable parts of Clinton, those are the two things people think about when they think of Clinton."

Lighthouse Postcard Exchange

Klaus Kern would like to exchange lighthouse postcards. If you send him 15 different lighthouse or lightship postcards, he will send you 12 different European lighthouse postcards plus three other types of postcards. He is also willing to swap lighthouse patches, labels, coasters, etc. You can send to him at Klaus Kern, PestalozzistraBe 28, D-65428 Russelsheim, Germany.

Group Gets Nonprofit Status for South Fox Island

John C. McKinney and Sandra Bradshaw who founded the Fox Island Lighthouse Association have announced that the group has now officially received its nonprofit status as approved by the IRS. The group, working under the guidance of the Michigan's Department of Natural Resources, wants to save this beautiful abandoned light station on the western approach to the Straits of Mackinac on Lake Michigan. Last fall, they received a temporary Land Use Permit through DNR and they are now seeking a one-year Land Use Permit to do an initial assessment on the condition of the lighthouse, the assistant keeper's house and other on-site structures. This beautiful old light station, built in 1868 and deactivated in 1934, has been neglected way too long and we wish the group the best of success in their efforts to save the lighthouse. We’d like to do an in-depth story on this light station in a future issue. If any of our readers can supply us with any type of historical photos, memories of keepers and photos of them as well as family members of the two lighthouses at this site, we would appreciate hearing from you so we can help draw attention to the old endangered South Fox Island Lighthouse.

New Captain

The new captain of the new Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw is Commander John Little, a native of Tennessee. The 48-year-old Commander will become the third captain of the new 90-million dollar ship. The previous captain was replaced after the 240-foot ship rammed a breakwater in Grand Haven, Michigan last December, only a month after the new cutter had been delivered from the shipyard where it was built.

Royal Lighthouse Stamp

The Beachy Head Lighthouse and its famous "candy stick" lighthouse that replaced it are featured on a new postal stamp issued in the British Isles. Beachy Head is the highest coastal chalk cliff in the United Kingdom. In 1902, a red and white lighthouse was built below the cliffs to replace the lighthouse on the top of the cliff.

Lighthouse for Sale

The historic 121-foot tall Barns Ness Lighthouse, built by famous lighthouse engineer, David A. Stevenson, has been put up for sale by the Northern Lighthouse Board. Located near Dunbar on the east coast of Scotland, the lighthouse was built in 1901 and deactivated last October.

Marblehead Lighthouse Tours

Marblehead Lighthouse, on Lake Erie’s Marblehead Peninsula on Sandusky Bay, Ohio, has announced its 2006 Season Tour schedule. The lighthouse will host tours from 1 pm to 4:45 pm, Mondays through Fridays from May 30 to Sept. 1. Additional tours will take place from 10 am to 3 pm on May 13 during the Lakeside Daisy Festival and on Oct. 14 during the Lighthouse Festival. For more info, you can call the East Harbor State Park at (419) 734-4424.

Point Bonita Old Photos

We are looking for a photograph of the first Point Bonita Lighthouse without its lantern room, and a photograph of the cannon that was used at the lighthouse as a fog signal. We don’t need original photos, just good quality duplicates. If any of our readers can help

us, please contact Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 68, Wells, ME 04090 or email editor@LighthouseDigest.com.

Light to Light Walk/Run

On Maine Lighthouse Week, the Friends of Rockland Breakwater will be hosting their annual Light To Light Walk/Run on June 18. The event starts at 8 am in Rockland, Maine. If you’d like to participate or find out more, go to www.rocklandlighthouse.com or email brkwater@midcoast.com.

This story appeared in the April 2006 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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