During its heyday the United States Lighthouse Service had an immense infrastructure to support its activities of maintaining lighthouse stations, lightships, lighthouse tenders, and its many different sizes and shapes of various types of aid to navigation, including its Airways Division. There were a number of Lighthouses Depots established across the nation. Some were extremely large and played a vital role, and others were small and in some cases almost insignifigant.
As well as the traditional lighthouse keeper, lamp lighter, and lamp attendants, there were employees with just about every job description you can think of, which would include, but is not limited to, the following: vessel captains and crews, inspectors, superintendents, machinists, blacksmiths, clerks, draftsmen, accountants, laborers, masons, carpenters, electricians, security guards, architects, librarians, and even secretaries.
From 1910 to 1939 when the U. S. Bureau of Lighthouses was dissolved, only two men, George Putnam and Harold King, served as the Commissioner of Lighthouses. Records indicate that during this time there were salaries allocated for two chauffeurs, who we assume would have been assigned to the Lighthouse Commissioner. Written records also seem to indicate that there were brass lighthouses affixed to the doors of Commissioner’s car.
In the 25 years that we have been researching lighthouses, we have never come across a photograph of the Commissioner’s car or a photograph of any person who was a chauffeur for the Commissioner. Perhaps such photos, if there ever were any, have been thrown out, never taken, or are still waiting to be rediscovered. Perhaps one of our lighthouse sleuths will discover them. In the meantime, we are sharing with you a few of photos of vehicles of the United States Lighthouse Service.
If any of our readers can help us locate additional photos of any vehicles with the name of the U.S. Lighthouse Service on them or the brass lighthouses affixed to any type of vehicles, we would appreciate hearing from you. Photos can be emailed to Editor@LighthouseDigest.com or duplicates can be mailed to Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.
This story appeared in the
May/Jun 2013 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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