Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2015

The Keeper’s Unusual Interests

By Timothy Harrison


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Arthur C. E. Hamblett as he appeared in 1911. ...

Arthur C. E. Hamblett must have had a lot of extra time on his hands while being stationed at some of Florida’s most isolated lighthouses, most of which were surrounded by water. Hamblett had an extensive lighthouse career by the time he went to Cuba in the early 1900s to become keeper at the Windward Point Lighthouse at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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Rebecca Shoal Lighthouse where Arthur C. E. ...

He had previously been stationed at Fowey Rocks Lighthouse, Rebecca Shoals Lighthouse, American Shoals Lighthouse, Sand Key Lighthouse, Pensacola Lighthouse, and the Carysfort Reef Lighthouse.

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The Windward Point Lighthouse where Arthur C.E. ...

In 1911 Mr. Hamblett wrote to Samuel H. Strain of the Lighthouse Literature Mission and told him of his accomplishments. It seems that keeper Hamblett did a lot of mail order studying while at the lighthouses and secured diplomas that authorized him to practice Mechanotherapy and Suggestive Therapeutics, which is the drugless healing art and natural treatment of diseases. He also obtained a mail order diploma as a Physical Culturist. While at Windward Point Lighthouse, one his attainments was in the learning of Esperanto, which is a language introduced in 1887 by Dr. L. L. Zamenhof who proposed Esperanto as a second language that would allow people who speak different native languages to communicate, yet at the same time retain their own languages and cultural identities.

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American Shoal Lighthouse, where Arthur C.E. ...

Hamblett was born in England and immigrated to the United States where he became a U.S. citizen in 1905. Records indicate that his first wife was Beatrice, and she either died or they were later divorced because later records show his wife as Francis. By the time he was 57, he had retired from lighthouse duties and went back to England, but he apparently eventually settled in New York City.

Very little else is known about Mr. Hamblett, but we have to wonder what his fellow keepers thought of his unusual interests, that were surely far from the norm of other lighthouse keepers.

This story appeared in the May/Jun 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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