Digest>Archives> July 2006

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Changes at Museum of Lighthouse History

The American Lighthouse Foundation’s Museum of Lighthouse History in Wells, Maine has undergone some major changes with additional exhibits and some expanded space. The museum is loaded with lighthouse artifacts, which is an educational experience for the entire family. The museum is now open daily, 10am-4pm, until Columbus Day. For more information visit www.LighthouseFoundation.org or call (207) 646-0245.

Smithsonian Lighthouse Postcards

Our thanks to S. J. Wolfe for telling us about the Smithsonian’s lighthouse postcard collection that can be found in the Internet at www.Americanhistory.si.edu/collections/lighthouses.

New Exhibit at Door County Maritime Museum

The Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, welcomes the general public to the official opening celebration of its latest art exhibit entitled “On Location — The Great Lakes” by Grayslake, IL native Jim Brooksher. As a U.S. Coast Guard artist, Jim has traveled to over 134 “lights” and painted over 30 of his favorites (some of them several times). According to exhibit curator, June Larson, “the exhibit will feature paintings of Great Lakes lighthouses and other maritime scenes.” Larson continued, “Jim has explored several media including oil painting, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, ceramics, and graphite as well as pen and ink studies, but he is currently working in transparent watercolor and oil.

The exhibit opened to the public on Saturday, May 6 and will run through Saturday, September 16, 2006.The Door County Maritime Museum was founded in 1969 and preserves the rich maritime heritage of Door County, Wisconsin and the Great Lakes. Headquartered in Sturgeon Bay, WI, the Museum operates seasonal facilities at the Cana Island Lighthouse and in Gills Rock, offering visitors a comprehensive view to the County’s local maritime legacy. Museum information can be obtained by email at info@dcmm.org or by accessing the web site at www.dcmm.org.

New Boat Standards For Overweight Americans

It seems that all those reports you see on TV about American’s being overweight is really true. The U.S. Coast Guard has now recommended that boat operators be aware of the changes for boats under 65 feet and should assume the average passenger weight is 185 pounds, up from the 140-160 pound average of the old weight standard that was in effect for decades. This could be vital news worth understanding for small boaters. An overweight boat can more easily capsize or even sink. So the next time you’re visiting a remote offshore or island lighthouse in a small boat, make sure you’re not over the weight capacity.

Cuckolds Light Gets New Owner

Maine’s Cuckolds Lighthouse in Boothbay Harbor, Maine is being transferred from government ownership to the community. The two-year long process was started by Philip Yasinski and Janet Reingold in August 2004. The application drew in the help of a many others who will now start the planning process to restore and maintain the historic lighthouse.

New Command at 7th District

Admiral David Kunkel recently took over command of the Coast Guard’s 7th District. Headquartered out of Miami. He now oversees all Coast Guard operations in all of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and the Caribbean. Admiral Kunkel is also the oldest and longest serving aviator in the United States Coast Guard.

Icebreaker Mackinaw Ends Long Career

The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, the ship known by so many on the Great Lakes has now been decommissioned. The 62-year-old vessel, when launched in 1944 it was the most powerful and advanced ice-breaking vessel on the Great Lakes. A new cutter of the same name is replacing the old Mackinaw. Many hope that the vessel will remain in its homeport of Cheboygan, Michigan as a floating museum, but so far the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum is well short of the $700,000 required to get ownership of the vessel. Donations can be sent to them at P.O. Box 8, Cheboygan, MI, 49721. To learn more you can visit their web site at www.icebreakermackinawmuseum.org.

Live In The Real Downeast Maine

If you’ve ever thought of retiring or moving to Maine to

help care for the remote Little River Lighthouse this could be your chance. The housing at the former Cutler Navy Base in Cutler is now being sold as town-house style condos. Starting price is $99,000. Now known as Beachwood Bay Estates, they are being offered for sale by Prudential Prime Properties at 1-888-PRU-5611.

Engineer Hired For Oak Orchard Lighthouse

The committee in charge of building a replica of New York’s Oak Orchard Lighthouse has hired Chatfield Engineers to design and assist with the construction of a replica of the lighthouse that no longer stands. The original lighthouse built in Westport, New York in 1871 was deactivated in 1905 and destroyed in 1916.

Former Ludlam Lighthouse In Imminent Danger

What was once the Ludlam Beach Lighthouse in Sea Isle City, NJ, is now in danger of being destroyed. Built in 1885, the lighthouse was deactivated in 1924. After the lantern room, which protruded from the roof, was removed, the remaining structure was sold as a private residence. The old structure now sits on land that is much more valuable than the house. The owners, ABCO Company wants to build condos on the site.

A group of local volunteers have formed the Friends of Ludlam Lighthouse Association to try to raise money for a piece of land and to cover the cost of moving the old structure. Anyone interested in helping can call Bob Urhmann at (609) 390-9238 or email him at yourpalbob@msn.com.

Lighthouse Group Asks For Old Postcards

The American Lighthouse Foundation has issued a call for old vintage lighthouse, lightship, lifesaving, and other maritime related postcards to be donated for their archives. If you have old postcards in drawers, shoe boxes or stashed away in the attic and would like to donate them they can be sent to Lighthouse Digest, PO Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.

Maine Fogbell In Florida?

According to a story in Maine’s York County Coast Star newspaper, a fog bell once used at Goat Island Lighthouse in Kennebunk, Maine, is now on the grounds of the Lakeland High School in Lakeland, Florida. It is rung every time the school’s Dreadnaughts football team has a victory. The story goes that the bell was obtained through the efforts of Florida Senator Lawson Chiles in 1978 for the school, provided they paid for the shipping charges to Florida, which they did. However in 1974, the United States Coast Guard donated a fogbell from Goat Island to the Kennebunkport Historical Society in Kennebunkport, Maine. One can only assume there must have been two different fog bells at the lighthouse.

Sturgeon Point Lighthouse

If you guessed that the photo shown with the Sturgeon Point replica story is the real Sturgeon Point Lighthouse, you were right. But, you have to admit; Garry Hammond’s replica sure looks like the real thing. He must be congratulated for a job well done.

North Light Lens Restored

The lens of Block Island, Rhode Island’s North Light has been restored, thanks to the efforts of Joe Cocking of Lighthouse Lamp Shop of Orange Park, Florida and Nick Johnston of Carolina Lighthouse Lens Works of China Grove, North Carolina. The pair of lighthouse lens experts repaired a cracked prism and reset prisms and sealed the original putty. Also, local officials have given their approval to apply for North Light to become a private aid to navigation, which is called PATON. The North Light Foundation will pay for the insurance for the beacon to become a PATON.

Coast Guard City Recognition

In listing the names of the communities around the nation that had been designated with the name Coast Guard City, we made a mistake when we listed Newport, RI as one of those cities. The segment in the Keeper’s Korner was to have said, Newport, Oregon, which is a Coast Guard City and proud of it; something we found out after a number of calls from people in Newport, Oregon. So we apologize to the people of Newport Oregon, Coast Guard City USA.

Cape Cod CG Museum Gets Curator

Douglas Bingham is the new curator at the Coast Guard Heritage Museum at the Trasyer in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Congratulations to Mr. Bingham who is well versed and knowledgeable. He was a cofounder and long-time volunteer of the American Lighthouse Foundation and a foremost historian on lightship history.

Coast Guard Honors Katrina Heroes

In one of the largest awards ceremonies in Coast Guard history 95 Coast Guard people received medals for the heroic efforts in rescuing people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The highest award, the “Legion of Merit” was given to four members. They are all to be congratulated for these well-deserved awards. Unfortunately, while most people saw the Coast Guard in action during the Katrina event, few American’s realize the major role the Coast Guard plays in our day-to-day lives in protecting our nation in many various ways.

Golden Jubilee Lighthouse

Thailand’s Golden Jubilee Lighthouse, built in 1996 is listed by the nation’s tourism authority as one of the country’s top 20 tourist destinations to visit during the 60th Anniversary of His Royal Majesty, King Phumiphon’s Accession to the Throne in 1946.

A unified Thai Kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy.

Tawas Interior Restoration

Restoration of the interior of the keeper’s house at Michigan’s Tawas Point Lighthouse is expected to be complete by the end of August. Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources and a handful of volunteers are doing the work from the Friends of Tawas Point State Park.

Ocracoke CG Station Restoration

Restoration of the old Coast Guard Station in Ocracoke, North Carolina is underway and the building has been gutted. When restored, it will serve as a second campus for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teachers.

Congress Out of Touch for CG Needs

As of press time, the United States Congress is still out of touch with the realities needed to provide additional funding for the United States Coast Guard in speeding up modernization to enhance Homeland Security. Only you can make a difference by sending letters to your Representative or Senator in Washington, D.C. Tell your legislators that you are concerned about Homeland Security and that you want increased additional funding for the United States Coast Guard.

Washington Lights Getting New Owners

Washington State’s Burrows Island Lighthouse has been excessed, allowing for any other government entity or nonprofit to apply for ownership of the lighthouse under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. Also, New Dungeness and Point Wilson lighthouses have been relinquished to the Bureau of Land Management.

Cobb Island Coast Guard Station For Sale

Virginia’s former Cobb Island Coast Guard Station, now owned by the Nature Conservancy has been put up for sale for $5 million. Originally built in 1936 on Cobb Island, the station was decommissioned in 1964 and sold to the Nature Conservancy in 1973. Along with the station’s 90-ton boathouse, the Nature Conservancy moved the old Coast Guard Station by barge seven miles to property it owns near the village of Oyster, Virginia. The Nature Conservancy wants to raise money to use for other projects.

Fresnel Descendant Marries at Lighthouse

Britta Fresnel Rogers, a direct descendant of Augustine Fresnel, the man who invented the Fresnel lens that was once used in all American lighthouses was recently married at the top of Florida’s Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. She married Vincent Young.

Founder of Seguin Lighthouse Group Passes

Sereno Sewall Webster, Jr., the founder of Maine’s, Friends of Seguin Island, recently passed away. The group is now under the direction of his daughter Anne Webster Wallace, who was also the Director of the Maine Lights Program that was the predecessor of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. He was active until the time of his death and even in his 80s could be seen rowing his boat from his home across the treacherous waters to Seguin Island Lighthouse. As well as being involved heavily in local affairs and shortly before his death had written a book on the area he lived in. Donations in his memory can be sent to Friends of Seguin Island, Webster Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 866, Bath, ME 04530.

Puerto Rico Lighthouse to be Excessed

The Cabo San Juan Lighthouse and LORAN Station in the municipality of Fajardo, Puerto Rico has been declared excess property to be given to a qualified nonprofit or other government entity under the National Historic lighthouse Preservation Act. Letters of interest can be sent to the General Services Administration, Property Disposal Division, 10 Causeway Street, Room 925, Boston, MA 02222 and a copy of your letter of interest must also be sent to the State Historic Preservation Office, P.O. Box 9066581, San Juan Puerto Rico 00906-6581.

New Beacon on Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu, Arizona, now has its eleventh lighthouse. The latest replica to be dedicated is a replica of California’s Table Bluff Lighthouse. It’s located at the entrance to Havasu Landing Marina on the California side of the lake.

This story appeared in the July 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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