Digest>Archives> Mar/Apr 2015

Keeper’s Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Passing of Polly DeRaps

We are saddened to report on the passing of our dear friend Pauline “Polly” DeRaps, 82, wife of Ernest “Ernie” DeRaps (USCG Ret.). Polly and Ernie coauthored the bestselling double book, “Lighthouse Keeping and Light Housekeeping” that was published by Lighthouse Digest and Foghorn Publishing. The book, loaded with photos, is the story about their family’s life at three Penobscot Bay Maine lighthouses - Monhegan Island, Brown’s Head, and Fort Point - and Ernie’s life at an isolated stag lighthouse off the Coast of Vinalhaven, Maine. She was one of the last of her kind. Polly was a sweet wonderful woman who will be missed by so many. Our condolences go out to Ernie, her family, and her friends.

Forever Fund Grows

The Lighthouse Forever Fund has raised over $1.25 million toward its $2 million goal for saving and preserving Michigan’s St. Joseph’s inner and outer pier lighthouses. Amazing!

Gig Harbor Transferred

Under the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Marine Transportation Act of 2014, which passed Congress on December 11, ownership of the Gig Harbor Lighthouse has been transferred to the City of Gig Harbor, Washington. The City would like to place a park at the site, but the park would only be accessible by water.

Lens Back to Two Harbors

The National Museum of the Great Lakes has agreed to return the original fourth order Fresnel lens that was once in the lantern room of Minnesota’s Two Harbors Lighthouse to the Lake County Historical Society, which operates the historic lighthouse. The lens will go on display in the keeper’s quarters of the lighthouse.

Funds for Isle au Haut

The town of Isle au Haut, Maine is trying to raise $130,000 to restore the Isle au Haut Lighthouse. So far they have raised about $15,000. The repairs to the tower will include repointing the granite foundation, repairing the crumbling brick tower, and replace steel girders. They would also like to add a 1,200 pound fog bell. The original fog bell was removed from the lighthouse in 1934 and probably sold for scrap.

MLM needs help!

The Maine Lighthouse Museum is appealing for financial help after a broken water heating pipe in the ceiling has caused severe damage to a number of rooms in the museum. Parts of the ceiling collapsed and water flooded sections of some rooms. The early 4:00 am discovery of the burst pipe by the Police Department, which occupies the lower section of the building, prevented what could have been a major catastrophe. While insurance will cover some of the damage, it will not cover it all.  Fortunately, no artifacts were damaged; but damage to the building is substantial. Plus, the 1960s boiler will need to be replaced. All of this is devastating to the already financially strapped museum.

We all know how important the Maine Lighthouse Museum is to the lighthouse cause in the United States and they need your help now. Lighthouse Digest is appealing to its readers to step up to the plate and make an urgently needed donation now. Donations can be made online at www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.org or you can mail your donation to Maine Lighthouse Museum

P.O. Box 1116, Rockland ME 04841.

Lake Havasu Gets New Replica

The Lighthouse Club of Lake Havasu, Arizona recently dedicated a replica of New York State’s Point Gratiot Lighthouse, which is more commonly known as the Dunkirk Lighthouse. The 24-foot tall lighthouse is the latest of 24 lighthouse replicas that have been built around the lake. However, after 15 years of operation, five of the Lighthouse Club’s lighthouses have recently gone dark. It seems that, as membership of the small nonprofit dwindles, so do its funds to maintain the structures.

Golden Buys 2nd Lightship

Bill Golden, who owns the Nantucket Lightship 612 has now purchased the Nantucket Lightship 613. Golden and his wife plan to transform the Nantucket Lightship 613 into a floating restaurant in New York City.

Mobile Point To Go Back Up

The Alabama Historical Commission has announced that they plan to reinstall the Mobile Point Rear Range Lighthouse at Fort Morgan. The disassembled lighthouse has been sitting in storage for years. The Alabama Historical Commission has stated that the project will cost $400,000. You can read the history of this lighthouse as written by historian David Smithweck in his booklet, Mobile Point Lighthouse, Fort Morgan, Alabama, available from Lighthouse Digest as item #2151 for $5.95. www.LighthouseDigest.com (207)259-2121.

Vandals Strike in Ohio

For the second time in 17 months, Ohio’s Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse has been struck by vandals. This time damage was done to the big metal outer door, and glass was broken in the inside door. The lighthouse is now owned by Shelia Consaul, who is in the process of restoring the lighthouse, and much has recently been accomplished. We will never understand the mentality of vandals.

An Unexpected Surprise

We were recently surprised and honored when we received a letter and Certificate of Appreciation from the Metropolis Hope Light Project in recognition of our publishing many excellent articles to keep the Project alive in the lighthouse community, and for our enduring support of the project. We sincerely thank them for the honor. However, we were just doing our small part in helping to promote their Cancer awareness project. To learn more, you can go to www.HopeLightProject.com.

New Folks for Cuckolds

Three people were chosen from 200 applications for coveted positions at Maine’s Cuckolds Lighthouse. Mark Zinkiewicz and Heather Graham will be the caretaker keepers for the 2015 season, and Ruth Reighley will assume the newly added position of Lighthouse Captain and Director, Maritime Operations, which will be based at the Cuckolds Welcome Center in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. We wish them the best of success.

Marquette Gets Funds

The Marquette Maritime Museum has received a $20,000 operational grant that they plan to use to pay guides to give tours of the 1866 Marquette Harbor Lighthouse located on Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan.

Maritime Aquarium Winner

Shown here is the first place winning lighthouse design of the annual Norwalk, Connecticut’s Maritime Aquarium’s “Festival of Lighthouses Contest.” The winning design was done by Pedro Davila who took home the $1,500 prize. This is the fourth time that Mr. Davila has won in the contest.

Highland Light Repairs

Cape Cod’s Highland Lighthouse in Truro is undergoing repairs to solve a moisture problem in the walls, a corroded support beam, and the repair of a ventilation system at the top of the tower.

This story appeared in the Mar/Apr 2015 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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