A Regal Name - Vintage post cards of lightships are rare and desirable among collectors. This one is of the regally named Royal Sovereign Lightship that was established in 1875 off the coast of Eastbourne, England. It was discontinued in 1971.
Cleaning the Lens - This 1977 photo shows a young Coast Guardsman cleaning inside the gigantic 1st order Fresnel lens at Florida’s Pensacola Lighthouse. This image shows just how gigantic the lens is. (Photo by Dwight Patton.)
Old Cars - Vintage lighthouse post cards with old automobiles seem to be more prevalent that actual photos of old cars at lighthouses. Can you imagine yourself stepping back in time and driving up to Cape Code’s Highland Lighthouse for a Sunday afternoon family visit? It is doubtful that anyone who visited the lighthouse during the time of these post cards could have imagined that in 1996 the lighthouse would be moved 450 feet back from the eroding cliff.
Rumrunners Warehouse - Shown here is the Lightship LV 20 that was built in 1867. Lightships were floating lighthouses that were stationed at locations where it was not practical to build a lighthouse. In 1868 by a joint resolution of Congress, the LV 20 was assigned to the site where the steamer Scotland sank about three miles off Sandy Hook in New Jersey waters in order to warn mariners of the wreckage just below the water’s edge. The lightship became known as the “Wreck of Scotland Lightship.” Later it served as a Relief Lightship based out of Staten Island, NY. The vessel was discontinued in 1923 and sold into private ownership. During Prohibition, the vessel was owned by rumrunners to store and hide bootleggers’ illegal alcohol. While being moved to Plymouth, Massachusetts it was grounded and subsequently abandoned. It was then burned as part of a 4th of July celebration. (Robert J. Lewis collection, Lighthouse Digest archives.)
Winter 1917/1918 - Shown here from the collection of Judy Wilson’s grandmother, Irene Bishop Root, is the no longer standing Sperry Lighthouse that once stood near New Haven, Connecticut. In the winter of 1917-1918 Long Island Sound froze solid, and Irene Bishop Root, her brother Ed (Isaac Edwin Bishop), her daughter Flora Irene Root, and others walked across the sound to Sperry Light from Prospect Beach in West Haven. The lighthouse was demolished in 1933. (Photo courtesy Judy Wilson.)
View From the Top - This photo from the top of California’s Pigeon Point Lighthouse was taken by noted San Francisco Chronicle photographer Paul E. Glines (1936-2007). It is unclear what part of the top of the tower he took the photo from, but it is quite dramatic.
Survived Bombing - The Lighthouse Methodist Church, which dates from 1893, is located in the suburban Walthamstow area of London, England. Just like a real lighthouse, there is a lantern at the top of the tower, which also contains a spiral staircase. The church was erected because of the generosity of Captain David King of the shipbuilding firm of Bullard King & Co which also ran the Natal Direct Shipping Line that operated ships from London. The lighthouse suffered damage by German bombs during World War II. The entire structure has recently undergone restoration. Today it stands next to a gas station and among other modern buildings as a reminder of days gone by.
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.
All contents copyright © 1995-2024 by Lighthouse Digest®, Inc. No story, photograph, or any other item on this website may be reprinted or reproduced without the express permission of Lighthouse Digest. For contact information, click here.