Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2010

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Millions More for Apostle Island Beacons

Congress recently allocated $5 million to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, in Wisconsin. But, that apparently wasn't enough. So, Congress allocated another $2 million to help with the restoration of the eight historic Apostle Islands lighthouses. However, it is estimated that the lighthouses could still use another $7 million if the restoration work is to be totally completed. Officials state that the Lake Superior lighthouses suffer the full wrath of Mother Nature on a year round basis and each restoration project requires different methods, because each lighthouse station is significantly different than the other. If you have never visited these lighthouses, the trip would be well worth it. One good time to go would be during the annual Apostle Islands Lighthouse Celebration.

Passage Island Lighthouse Lenses

On page 27 of the November issue of Lighthouse Digest we showed a photograph of the lens from Passage Island Lighthouse with a caption that indicated that this is the original lens. Mark Morningstar of Lenshunter.googlepages.com/ wrote to point out our error in the choice of words. Although the lens pictured, is an original lens from the Passage Island Lighthouse that is now on display at the Portage Coast Guard Station in Michigan, it is not the first lens that was in Passage Island Lighthouse. It is actually the third lens that was in the lighthouse.

The first lens that was in Passage Island Lighthouse was removed from Passage Island and transferred to Sherwood Point Lighthouse in Wisconsin. After it was removed from Sherwood Point Lighthouse it was given to the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where it is now on display.

The second lens to be placed in Passage Island Lighthouse was removed in 1929 and is now on display at the Dossin Great Lakes Maritime Museum on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan.

Fire Dept. Visits Harbor of Refuge Light

In a practice run, in case they are ever needed, at Delaware's Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse, the Lewes, Delaware Fire Dept. took its Fire & Rescue Boat out to the lighthouse. They soon realized just how difficult it could be to get rescue people on the lighthouse. The rough water prevented them from docking, but they were able to drop people off. It was a good learning experience for the fire and rescue crew.

Jupiter Inlet 150th Celebration Underway

This past November, Florida's Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse kicked off the celebration for the 150th Birthday of the lighthouse. Special events were held in November, December and January 9. Other events will take place Jan 23, Feb. 14, March 20, April 15, and May 29 with the grand finale to be held on July 10, 2010.


Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will be retiring this year. After serving as president for 17 years he felt it was time for change for himself and to allow the organization an opportunity for a generational change in leadership to take the organization to new levels.

Light Keeper's Daughter Leaves Millions

Mona Webster, a lighthouse keeper's daughter, who died last year at the age of 97, in Edinburgh, Scotland, has left over $16 million to charity. A large portion of that money, an estimated $7 million was left to New York's Metropolitan Opera, although 40% of that will be taken for British tax. It is stated that she and her late husband, Ted Webster, who died in 1981, made their millions by wise investments. She was the last surviving child of John Laurence, who was the lighthouse keeper at Douglas Head Lighthouse on the Isle of Man, which is located between England and Ireland.

F. Ross Holland Collection Safe

In our story, "National Lighthouse Museum Items Thrown in Trash," that appeared in our October 2009 issue we wrote that we wondered what happened to the F. Ross Holland lighthouse research material that was donated to the museum. We have since learned that in 1998 the Calvert Marine Museum and

Dr. Ralph Eschelman, at that time, president of the National Lighthouse Steering Committee entered into a Memorandum of Understanding under which the Calvert Marine Museum took temporary custody of the collection until such time as the National Lighthouse Museum was in a position to take custody of those items. At some point, in the near future, the Calvert Marine Museum has indicated they will enter into discussions with Ralph Eschelmen and other interested parties to find a suitable home for the collection. One good place for the collection would be the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine.

NLM Board Disbands

The Board of the National Lighthouse Museum has now disbanded officially ending the National Lighthouse Museum that was to be established at the historic 10-acre Lighthouse Depot site on Staten Island, NY. The Board said its assets will be turned over to the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee. Although I believe they should probably be turned over to an established museum such as the Maine Lighthouse Museum.

Bottom Lands Agreement Reached

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance have announced a major breakthrough with the Bottomlands Use Agreement for Offshore Lighthouses. The agreement will now allow for the transfer of ownership of the Harbor Beach Lighthouse and the DeTour Reef Lighthouse as well as other lighthouses that might be excessed by the United States Coast Guard in Michigan.

ALF Volunteer Awards

As part of its recent 15th anniversary celebration, the American Lighthouse Foundation honored the following chapter volunteers with the Len Hadley Volunteerism Awards:

Ron Foster for Avery Point Lighthouse, CT; Todd and Marcia Gipstein from the New London Ledge Lighthouse, CT; Caren Clark from Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, ME; Nicki Nunes from Race Point Lighthouse, MA; Mary Manning from Sandy Neck Lighthouse; Rodger and Linda Van Tatenhove from Little River Lighthouse, ME; Ginger Allison from Owls Head Lighthouse, ME; Florence Quigley from Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, RI; Ted Panayotoff from Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, ME; Mal Stallings from Wood Island Lighthouse, ME; Walt Mills from New England Lighthouse Lovers (NELL); Capt. Neil Odams from Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, NH; and Laura Davis from the American Lighthouse Foundation. Its highest award, "Keeper of the Light" was awarded to Raymond "Skip" Empey. Congratulations to all of them.

Wanted - Keepers of Superior Entry - Wisconsin Point

We are looking for photographs of the lighthouse keepers and lighthouse life at Wisconsin Point Lighthouse in Superior, Wisconsin. The lighthouse is also known as Superior Entry Light and Superior Harbor Entry South Breakwater Lighthouse. If you can help please e-mail editor@LighthouseDigest.com.

Taiwan's Lighthouses Change Hands

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications of Taiwan will be taking over the management of the country's thirty-four lighthouses. Although the lighthouses will continue to be operated as aids to navigation under a new management plan, they also have realized the immense potential the lighthouses offer as tourist sites.

Isle of Haut Price Dropped

The asking price for Maine's Isle of Haut Lighthouse Station has been dropped from $2.5 million to $1.9 million. Since the late 1980s, Jeff and Judi Burke, who purchased the site in 1986, which is also known as Robinson Point Lighthouse, operated it for overnight stays as a first class bed and breakfast. They beautifully restored the station, but retired a few years ago.

New Scottish Book

A new book, "Keeper of the Light," by Malcolm MacPherson, is now available. The author has captured 33 of Scotland's 200 lighthouses in watercolor for this first volume of his paintings. Each painting is accompanied by a brief description of

the lighthouse which includes history and other information. The book is available from Brown, Son & Ferguson, Ltd. in Glasgow, Scotland. For more information on ordering you can visit their web site at www.skipper.co.uk

Bodie Island on Schedule

Ten volunteers from the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society recently assisted Carolina Lens Works and National Park Service volunteers cleaning the prisms from the Bodie Island Lighthouse lens before they were crated and packed and put into storage until the restoration work at the lighthouse can be completed in 2011.

Florida Challenge Gets Boost

The Florida Lighthouse Association has matched a $2,000 grant from the Franklin County Tourist Development Council for the first ever Forgotten Coast Mini-Challenge to be held April 23 and 24 to coincide with Florida Lighthouse Day which is April 24. The event will give participants the opportunity to climb four Florida lighthouses - Cape St. George, Crooked River, St. Marks and Cape San Blas. This will be the first Lighthouse Challenge ever offered in Florida.

Winter Nights at Grand Traverse

You can now experience what it was like to spend the night in winter at a lighthouse thanks to a new program sponsored by Michigan's Grand Traverse Lighthouse. You can spend one night or more, but you will also be asked to greet visitors, such as the cross country skiers or those on snow shoes who stop by to visit. Sounds like fun! More information is available on their web site at www.GrandTraverseLighthouse.com

This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2010 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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