Noted lighthouse historian Frederick Stonehouse has a new book out called Haunted Lake Michigan, Ghosts, Shipwrecks and Scary Mysteries of a Great Lake. Although this book is not all about lighthouses it does make for great reading and does include a full chapter on lighthouse ghosts.
The book is available for $14.95 plus $4.95 shipping from Lake Superior Port Cities, Inc., P.O. Box 16417, Duluth, MN 55816.
That Other Digest
Congratulations to Readers Digest (not affiliated with Lighthouse Digest) for using an image of Maine’s Portland Head Light on the cover of their 2007 appointment calendar that they sent out free to all of their large print version subscribers. It certainly will help promote lighthouses.
We are looking for images of the Charlotte Harbor Lighthouse that once stood in the Gulf of Mexico near Boca Grande, Florida. We are especially interested in photographs of keepers who served there and any stories associated with them. If you can help contact Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630 or email: Editor@LighthouseDigest.com.
Whistle Whispering at Huron Lightship
To appease the complaining neighbors, the volunteers at Michigan’s Huron Lightship have reduced the sound of the ships whistle by 50%. However, the reduction may be too much as it seems the passing ships are not blowing their whistles in response to the Huron Lightships reduced blasts. They apparently don’t hear the reduced blast from the Huron Lightship. Pesky neighbors have been complaining in recent months about the ships whistle, claiming it’s ruining their health and sleep, while others say they have no objection and actually enjoy it. But as usual, the complainers win.
Vying for Stepping Stones
Word has it that five nonprofits have applied for ownership of New York’s Stepping Stones Lighthouse. The lighthouse, which has 1,000 square feet living space on three-quarters of an acre of rock, needs lots of work, since no major repairs have been made to the structure in 129 years. The non-profits that want ownership of the lighthouse under the National Historic lighthouse Preservation Act are competing with the Town of North Hempstead, NY.
Grant for MLM
The Rockland Maine City Council has approved a $51,500 grant to replace the roof over the CWO Kenneth Black Exhibition Hall, to upgrade the heating and air conditioning and finish the lens workshop.
We are saddened to report the death of Conrad Nobili long time friend and supporter of the Nauset Lighthouse Preservation Society and husband of NLPS past president and current board member Pam Nobili. Donations in his memory can be sent to Nauset Lighthouse Preservation Society, P.O. Box 941, Eastham, MA 02642.
Bakers Island Repairs
Thanks to the United States Coast Guard, a new roof has been installed on the keeper’s house as well as other out buildings at Bakers Island Lighthouse in Massachusetts. Most of the supplies were brought to the island by a Coast Guard helicopter.
The DeRaps’ Lighthouse Book
I’ve just finished reading a number of letters about Ernie and Pauline DeRap’s book, Lighthouse Keeping, that was published by us. I must say I am astounded and joyful by the wonderful letters. It would seem that the DeRaps and their stories about their lighthouse life have touched and warmed the hearts of many people. I can tell you that we are proud to have been the publisher of the book and honored with our relationship with the DeRaps family. If you haven’t ordered a copy yet I would certainly encourage you to do so at www.FogHornPublishing.com or call Lighthouse Digest at 1-800-668-7737.
Last Japanese Lighthouse
As of last month, the Meshima Lighthouse on one of Nagasaki Prefecture's Danjyo Islands became the last of Japan's 3,337 lighthouses to become automated. The lighthouse, established in 1927, stands on a cliff on one of the Danjyo Islands. The islands are generally off limits to the public and special permission if required in order to visit them. However, as with other lighthouses around the world, we wonder how long it will be before the elements take their toll on this unmanned lighthouse.
The Elusive Squaw Point
What happened to the photographs of Squaw Point Lighthouse? The lighthouse stood opposite and just one mile south of Gladstone, Michigan on Little Bay de Noc arm of northern Green Bay. It was built in 1897. A fire destroyed the keeper’s house in 1921. The tower was demolished around 1963. There must be photos around, somewhere. If you have a photo that we can use or have a duplicate made of please send to Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630 or email a high-resolution image to Tim@LighthouseDigest.com.
Voters Reject Fee
The voters in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, voted three to one against charging an admission fee to Fort Williams Park, site of the Portland Head Lighthouse, which is one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the world and one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions. Although the vote was non-binding, it is believed city officials will go along with the will of the people.
Lightship on ebay
The City of New Bedford, Massachusetts recently put what is left of the New Bedford Lighthouse for sale on ebay. More than likely it will be sold for scrap. The lightship was originally the Pollock Rip Lightship and ever since the City of New Bedford obtained ownership of the vessel many years ago nothing was ever done to attempt to restore or save it.
California’s Pigeon Point Lighthouse will soon get new tower windows thanks in part to a $54,000 grant. Over the years the windows have steadily deteriorated from the elements.
Michigan Light In Arizona
Lake Havasu, Arizona recently dedicated its 12th lighthouse on the lake since the first one was dedicated in 2002 by a movement started by local resident Bob Keller. A group pf people in a ceremony that included hot dogs, cold drinks, dedicated a replica of Michigan’s Alpena Lighthouse. The lighthouse was funded in part by the Mohave County Board of Directors. Keller explained that the lighthouses on the California side of the lake represent western lighthouses and replicas on the Arizona side of the lake represent lighthouses of the eastern part of the United States.
Depot Gets New Tour Director
Lighthouse Depot has announced that David L Snyder will be joining the firm as Manager of Lighthouse Depot Tours. Dave, who is originally from Michigan, will be relocating from San Francisco where he has been working for a local travel agency since October 2005, organizing and running educational tours. Previously, he had worked for the United States Lighthouse Society having various administrative duties, as well as organizing and leading many domestic and international lighthouse tours. Prior to that he was a historian with the National Park Service in Michigan and Wisconsin.
Wilbur Plumley Info Sought
It was back in 1994 that Tim Harrison purchased an original full size U.S. Lighthouse Service Inspector’s Flag from a descendant of Wilbur Plumley who was born in 1893 at Kenmore, New York. He married Harriett on March 9, 1926 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. That flag has since been donated to the American Lighthouse Foundation. We are trying to find any historical information on Mr. Plumley as well as a photograph of him to be displayed with the flag. We believe he was in the Lighthouse Service and later in the Coast Guard. If any of our readers can help us please write to Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630 or email editor@LighthouseDigest.com.
Robert Milton Freeman, 74, has passed away. Milton was born in Jonesboro, Maine on May 24. 1932 the son of James and Iva Lowe Freeman. At a few days old he was taken to an island off Milbridge, Maine, to the Petit Manan Lighthouse where his father was a lighthouse keeper. He enjoyed telling stories of his family’s life and growing up at several Maine lighthouses. Our condolences go out to his family.
Flamborough Head’s Birthday
The Flamborough Head Lighthouse celebrated its 200th birthday the first weekend of this past December. As part of the celebration there was a special exhibit, a special church service, tours of the lighthouse. Although the current tower was built in 1806 a lighthouse has marked the area since 1669. Located on the east coast of England the Flamborough Head Lighthouse was electrified in 1940 and automated in 1996.
Storhofdi Celebrates 100
The Storhofdi Lighthouse in the Vestmannaeyjar Islands off the coast of Iceland celebrated its 100th birthday this past November. Amazingly the lighthouse still has a lighthouse keeper. Oskar Jakob Sigurdsson is the last lighthouse keeper in Iceland, a position he has held since 1965 when he inherited the position from his father who had been the keeper for 55 years. As well as being the lighthouse keeper Sigurdsson has labeled about 85,000 birds, a world record in bird labeling. Dignitaries attending the birthday celebration honored him for his work. The lighthouse is located in the southernmost inhabited area of Iceland, which is also the windiest.
Kilauea Lighthouse Needs Restoration
Although it is estimated that 500,000 people per year visit the famous Kilauea Lighthouse in Hawaii, most of them don’t realize that the lighthouse needs a million and half dollars in restoration work. The lighthouse, built in 1913 was deactivated in 1976. Although the Fresnel lens is still in the tower it is not lit; a nearby light on a pole serves as the aid to navigation. Located in the Kaua’l National Wildlife Refuge they simply consider it an attraction in a wildlife refuge.
Gibbs Hill Open Again
The world famous Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Bermuda is open again. The lighthouse had been closed for the past ten months to make repairs to damage that was originally caused by Hurricane Fabian.
Black Rock Back
Connecticut’s Black Rock Harbor Lighthouse on Fayerweather Island in Bridgeport, Connecticut is again lit up thanks to the efforts of volunteers. The lighthouse has been subject to vandalism ever since it was deactivated back in 1933. In 2004 vandals smashed the solar panels that were used to light up the structure. This time wire cages have been put over the new solar panels to protect them from vandalism.
Lens Returned to Point Fermin
A rare 4th order lens that was once in California’s Point Fermin Lighthouse has been returned to the lighthouse. Somehow or another the lens wound up in the hands of a private collector after it was removed from the lighthouse over 60 years ago. The owner of the lens donated it back to the lighthouse where it is now on display in the museum.
Maine Lighthouse Sold By Government
The federal government has sold Maine’s Goose Rocks Lighthouse for a paltry $27,000. The lighthouse had been offered up for adoption under the National Historic Lighthouse preservation Act of 2000 but the General Service Administration rejected the application by Historically Significant Structures of Philadelphia for ownership. Instead the lighthouse was put up for sale via a sealed bid. The lighthouse was sold to a newly formed nonprofit called Beacon Preservation, Inc. formed by Casey Jordon of Ansonia, Connecticut. The new owners will be required by historical covenants in the deed to protect its historicity.
Congratulations to Paul Andorn for being as honored as volunteer of the year by the Friends of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse in Rockland, Maine. Andorn was honored for going the extra mile is helping to keep the lighthouse open to the public. The group is a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation.
Lighthouse Eco-Skyscraper To Be Built
A new skyscraper, named the "Phare" or lighthouse, will be built in Paris, France. The structure will stand 984 feet tall and offer 1,300,000 square feet of office space. It will be a gently slopping eco-friendly glass structure complete with wind-turbines on its roof. The structure was designed by California architect Thom Mayne. It will rival the Eiffel Tower in height. As a comparison Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is 210 feet tall.
Guest Program at 40-Mile Point
A new program that will allow guest keepers to camp on the grounds of Michigan’s 40-Mile Point Lighthouse will allow the lighthouse to be open longer for tourist visits. Guest keepers who will camp on the grounds will be able to keep the lighthouse open longer hours and will be required to greet guests, answers questions, staffing the gift shop and cleaning the lighthouse. Sounds like a neat idea.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2007 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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