Digest>Archives> October 2009

Keepers' Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Missing Photo of Clinton River

We are trying to locate photographs of the Clinton River Lighthouse that once stood at the mouth of the Clinton River where it enters Lake St. Clair, Michigan. The lighthouse was still standing as late as 1908 when it was destroyed by a fire.

As we mentioned many photographs of lost lighthouses seem to have been lost in time and are very difficult to find. The same is true with images of many of the lighthouse keepers and families of the lighthouse keepers. This is even more so with other employees who worked for the United States Lighthouse Service, especially those who worked in management positions, crewmen of lighthouse tenders and lightships, blacksmiths, laborers, draftsmen, and others. If you know where some of these old photos might be located, we could use your help. Photographs are vital in helping to preserve the history for future generations.

Another one of the many old photos we are searching for is of Lewis McDaniel Hopkins who retired as head of the Fifth Lighthouse District of the Lighthouse Service on February 2, 1937. At that time the Fifth District was headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, which was previously headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. At one time Hopkins was assistant head of the New York office of the Lighthouse Service. He was 69 years old when he retired.

We do not need the original photos. Duplicates can be easily made and mailed to us or scanned at a high resolution and e-mailed to us. We need your help to continue to save and tell the stories of the people who made a difference.

If any of our readers can help with old photos please contact us at Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630 or by email to Editor@LighthouseDigest.com


Cullen Chambers

For two awards from the American Association for State and Local History for his leadership in the restoration of Georgia's Tybee Island Lighthouse. Cullen certainly earned it.

Hib Casselberry

For the District Commissioner Emeritus award from the Florida Lighthouse Association was presented to Hib at the Sombrero Lighthouse event on October 4. As well as being a cofounder of the Florida Lighthouse Association, Hib has dedicated many of his years to lighthouse preservation nationwide.

Era Closing on Canadian Beacons

In 1998 public pressure stopped the de-staffing of Canadian lighthouses, something that the current worldwide economic conditions may soon change as the Canadian government seeks ways to save money.

The controversial issue of keeping lighthouses manned, especially on the remote islands of British Columbia, is a vital safety issue supporters say. Supporters of manned stations have long contended that lighthouse keepers have saved hundreds of lives that might otherwise have been lost in the remote areas. Also, keeping a lighthouse keeper on premises protects the historic property from decay and vandalism and the future costs of restoring an abandoned station.

However some Canadian government officials state that Canada is the only developed country in the world that still staffs lighthouse and the there is no indication that an empty lighthouse has caused any additional loss of life.

Currently only nine of British Columbia's twenty-seven lighthouses are automated, the rest still have keepers, something that may soon change.

Four British Columbia lighthouses that may soon have their keepers and families removed are: Trial Island Lighthouse off Oak Bay; Entrance Island off the tip of Gabriola Island; Dryad Point near Bella Bella; and the well known and popular Cape Mudge Lighthouse on the south end of Quadra Island.

For the sake of historic preservation we hope that the Canadian government will not de-staff the rest of its staffed lighthouse stations.

This story appeared in the October 2009 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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