Digest>Archives> December 2008

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Lens Saved

The 19th century lens from Ship Island Lighthouse that was shattered into 100 pieces when Hurricane Katrina knocked over a wall at the at the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi, MS has been repaired, as best it could. Joseph Cocking of the Lighthouse Lamp Shop, who used a special type of resin to put the fourth-order Fresnel lens back together, undertook the challenging task.

Lighthouses For Charity

The auction for the 28 six-foot lighthouse models that were part of the "A Light in the Harbor," held in Sandusky, Ohio raised $30,000 for three charities. One of the lighthouses went to a man who was going to put it in his office and another called the "Star Spangled Banner Lighthouse" is being donated for display at the Veterans Memorial Park in Sandusky, Ohio.

Lighthouses And Baseball

Congratulations to Lighthouse Digest subscribers Tom and Judi Kearney of Pennsylvania who were featured on Philadelphia TV for their five generations of being Philadelphia Phillies fans. They’ve been on the big screen at the ballpark and now on TV. Over the years the Kearneys have donated many lighthouse artifacts that are now in the collection of the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine and to Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, Maine. This past year they were also volunteers at the First International Lighthouse Challenge, "Lights Across the Border."

Flip That Lighthouse

Recently a number of stories have appeared in newspapers across the nation about the government’s annual auction of unwanted lighthouses. What all of these articles fail to mention is that what will happened to these lighthouses 25 or 50 years from now. Supposedly there are provisions in place to protect the historic integrity of the lighthouses. But, when a private individual buys a lighthouse for close to nothing, puts a little money into it and then sells it down the road, the potential gigantic profits are quite good. Too bad that some of the nonprofits don’t see this as an advantage to raise money for the more desirable lighthouses that they want to keep open to the public.

Where The Heck Is This Lighthouse?

Has anyone noticed the Travelocity commercial on television that shows a lighthouse with "Travel Wish # 50 - A Cape Cod Vacation." The commercial is really neat, except that it shows Portland Head Lighthouse located in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, while promoting a Cape Cod vacation. You would have thought the advertising company that made the commercial could have used one of Cape Cod’s picturesque lighthouses to promote Cape Cod. We also wonder why Maine tourism officials aren’t jumping all over this by saying, "You won’t find the beautiful and historic Portland Head Lighthouse on Cape Cod. If you really want to visit the lighthouse you will need to come to Maine - The Lighthouse State." It just goes to prove, you can not believe everything to see on TV!

New Canal Is The Winner

Louisiana’s New Canal Lighthouse is the winner of the JELD-WEN Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative and was selected from a field of 12 finalist lighthouses and a half a million votes. JELD-WEN said in a press release, "New Canal Lighthouse had the most compelling need for restoration." It was of course referring to the destruction of the lighthouse by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The lighthouse, using some of the original materials, is scheduled to be rebuilt in 2009 and over a third of the money needed for the rebuilding has already been raised.


We are saddened to report the passing of Donald L. "Ollie" Kohr of Germantown, Ohio. Born in 1933, Don spent most of his life living in the Germantown area. In his retirement years Don and his wife Nancy spent much of their time traveling the coastline in search of lighthouses and their forgotten history. Over the years Don wrote several stories for Lighthouse Digest and shared many photographs with us. Our condolences go out to Nancy. Don will be missed by many and our thoughts and prayer are with his family.

Federal Money For Lighthouses

Two United States Senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both from Michigan, have introduced legislation to create a competitive grant program that will help pay for the preservation and rehabilitation of historic lighthouses. This will help fill in a void, left by the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act that allowed other government agencies and nonprofits to obtain ownership of lighthouses, but provided no money to help them out. If this legislation passes, it might make those nonprofits and communities who decided not to apply for a lighthouse because of a fear of raising funds, look a little foolish, especially if their local lighthouse was sold at auction to a private owner. The proposed pilot program would distribute $20 million a year for three years.

This story appeared in the December 2008 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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