Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2015

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comment From the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


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Lighthouse Flipping

The owner who purchased Maine’s Boon Island Lighthouse for $78,000 in the online government auction in October of 2014 has flipped the lighthouse and resold it in February of 2015 for $119,673 to Boon Island LLC, a registered Delaware corporation.

Two Events in One

This year’s 20th annual Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival to be held in Alpena, Michigan on October 8-11, for the first time ever, will be held in conjunction with the Lake Huron Discovery Tour. This should make for an amazing and exciting weekend that you will not want to miss. FMI go to www.US23HeritageRoute.org.

Restoration at Boars Head

Nova Scotia’s Boars Head Lighthouse will receive a $22,000 restoration grant from the Heritage Canada/The National Trust that will include replacing rotting windows, re-shingling the roof, repainting the tower, and replacing soil around the structure that was removed a few years ago as part of a soil reclamation project. To learn more about Boars Head Lighthouse, refer to the May 2010 edition of Lighthouse Digest or view the story in our on-line archives at www.LighthouseDigest.com. (Photo by Tina Gilfilen.)

Taiwan Lighthouses

The island nation of Taiwan, which has discovered the financial impact that lighthouses have with the tourist industry, is opening two additional lighthouses to the public. They announced that the Chimei Yu Lighthouse, which is also known as the Chimeiyu Lighthouse, and the Fukwei Chiao Lighthouse will be open to the public by the end of this year. Taiwan has 35 lighthouses, ten of which are currently open to the public.

Lighthouse Hotels?

It seems that the Port Authority of Balearic Islands, which is an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, wants to privatize six of their lighthouses, including the famous Porto Colom Lighthouse, so that they can be made into hotels. But they have met some resistance from Salvem Portocolom who wants the lighthouse to be maintained in a way that keeps the lighthouse open to the public and not just a select few or to be owned by private corporations.

Lighting Up Smeaton Tower

Plans call for LED lighting to be installed around the Smeaton lighthouse tower in Plymouth, England to light up the tower structure at night. The structure was once the 4th Eddystone Rocks Lighthouse that was moved from its wave-swept location when a new Eddystone Lighthouse was built.

SOS Leader Lost

It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of Charles (Chuck) Brockman, the founder and only person to serve as president of Michigan’s SOS Channel Lights (Save Our South Channel Lights.) Under Chuck Brockman’s leadership, the group undertook what many thought was once impossible - the saving of the St. Clair Flats South Channel Range Front Lighthouse and the St. Clair Flats South Channel Range Rear Lighthouse, something that he proved wrong to the naysayers. In 2000 Chuck Brockman was honored with the Kaplan Award, named after John Kaplan, which was given to recipients who had done the most for the Great Lakes through improvements or preservation of natural, historical, or recreational benefit. Our condolences go out to his many friends and a few surviving family members. In a statement from SOS Channel Lights they stated, “We lost a great man, a role model and a mentor. Rest assured, the light restoration project will continue in his and his families honor.” Donations in his memory can be made at www.soschannellights.org.

Still Headless

It now appears that the Balbriggan Lighthouse on Lighthouse Quay in Balbriggan County Dublin, Ireland will remain headless. The lantern room was removed fifty years ago when it had corroded beyond repair. It was recently thought that money could be raised to restore the lighthouse to its former glory, but the funding did not come through.

150 Years

Spain’s Cabo de Palos Lighthouse recently celebrated its 150th birthday. The 167-foot tall tower overlooks the Mediterranean Sea on the southeast coast of Spain. The lighthouse stands on a site where a temple to the god Ba’al is reported to have stood over 2,000 years ago. It is also at this site that King Felipe ordered a watchtower to be built over 400 years ago.

Big Ohio Event June 6

Ohio’s Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse will celebrate its 90th Birthday with an Open House at the lighthouse that will include full access to all floors of the structure and a red velvet birthday cake. The public is invited. To learn more, go to www.FairportHarborWestLighthouse.com.

Parking Meters at Mukilteo

Washington State’s Mukilteo Lighthouse is installing parking meters that will charge $2 per hour in-season and $1 per hour in the off-season. Apparently this was done to create a higher turn-over of tourists after locals complained that the park at the lighthouse was for them, and that tourists were overrunning the park and locals could never find a place to park.

Bahamian Lifeline Dies

Everett Roberts, who from 1967 to 1973 was the lifeline to the keepers and the families at nine remote off shore Bahama lighthouses, passed away in February at the age of 87. Hired by the British Imperial Lighthouse Service, he was the only person to traverse the waters delivering supplies to the lighthouses, prior to automation. He made his supply calls in a 105-foot former U.S. Navy chaser named Goldfinger and later by a 147-foot former Navy LCI named Anna Patricia. Some of the lighthouses to which he delivered supplies were Great Stirrup Cay in the Berry Islands, the Great Isaac Cay Lighthouse just northwest of the Bimini Islands, the Great Inagua Lighthouse, and the Elbow Reef Lighthouse.

Seul Choix’s Fischer Honored

Congratulations to Marilyn Fischer for being honored with the 2014 Charles Follo Award at the Michigan Historical Society’s annual banquet. For the past 27 years, Marilyn Fischer has been president of the Gulliver Historical Society, which she was instrumental in founding, that has overseen the saving and care of Michigan’s Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse. The award is given to an individual who has made the most outstanding contributions to preserve and promote the history of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award.

A Question of Height

Obviously the Internet has opened up a whole new world of knowledge to many of us and the social media sites are loaded with new information being posted daily. This is good. However, because any individual can post whatever they want on the Internet, the information being posted is not always correct, and in some cases is far from the truth. And, as I am seeing more and more often, this is especially true with lighthouses. One recent example is a story that stated that, at 115-feet tall, California’s Pigeon Point Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in America. It is not, and I’m sure the folks at North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which is approximately 193-feet tall would have a strong argument against it.


Oops, we goofed. On page 5 of the March/April 2015 edition we identified the Coast Guard vessel breaking ice by Michigan’s Round Island Lighthouse as the Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne. This was wrong; the correct name of the Coast Guard cutter is Biscayne Bay. We apologize for this error.

Trapped On Ice

This past March, newspaper reports told of a story about a man who attempted to walk across the ice on Lake St. Clair from Detroit, Michigan to Toronto, Ontario. When the U.S. Coast Guard found the man, he was suffering from hypothermia and they transported him to land and a hospital. The man said he was saved by spending the night in a lighthouse, which kept him out of the wind. Apparently the individual had somewhat planned for the trip because he was carrying a sleeping bag and a small supply of food. The news reports did not indicate the name of the lighthouse that he had spent the night in.

One Expensive Gift

We recently came across a $10,000 sterling silver and enamel lighthouse cocktail shaker from www.Asprey.com. I suppose if you have so much money that cost is no factor, this might be one of the ultimate lighthouse gifts for yourself or a loved one. But instead, I would suggest instead that you make a $10,000 much needed donation to the Maine Lighthouse Museum at P.O. Box 1116, Rockland, ME 04841. They could really use the money to help save the museum. Or go to www.GoFundMe.com/SaveTheMLM

Salty Sam the Lighthouse Man

Based on a children’s book of a few years ago, the Salty Sam Internet blog offers lots of activities for kids, teachers, and home schoolers, as well as parents who are looking for boredom-busting projects. It’s all free. Go to www.christina-sinclair.com.

Keeper John Tregembo Lost

We are saddened to report on the passing this past January of former lighthouse keeper John D. Tregembo. He was 87. Mr. Tregembo joined the Coast Guard in 1946 and retired in 1966. As well as serving at Rock of Ages Lighthouse, Whitefish Point Lighthouse, and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, he served at lifeboat stations and on two different Coast Guard cutters. John and his wife Betty joined the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association (GLLKA) shortly after its formation, and he was the editor of GLLKA’s publication The Beacon from 1987 to 2004. For a number of years he also served on the GLLKA Board of Directors. He is shown here in 1991 with the Rock of Ages Lighthouse in the background. Our sincere condolences go out to his wife Betty, and his family and friends. Many of you may also know John D. Tregembo’s son-in-law, Wayne Sapulski, a well-known lighthouse author and lighthouse historian.

OBX Coast Guard Exhibit

A new exhibit “A Heritage of Heroes: The Coast Guard in North Carolina” has opened at the Outer Banks History Center in Manteo, North Carolina. The exhibit will run through the end of the year.

New Website for Yaquina

The Friends of Yaquina Lighthouses have announced that they have a new website! To view it go to: yaquinalights.org.

Richard Veit Passes

Jan. 28, 1935 - Jan 29, 2015. We are sorry to report on the passing of longtime lighthouse friend Richard F. Veit, Sr. I don’t recall when I first met Rich and his wife Elinor, but it must have been close to 20 years ago, or maybe more, and I quickly learned about their commitment to saving lighthouses and their history, especially the lights in New Jersey. He was a long-time lighthouse volunteer and a former officer of the New Jersey Lighthouse Society. He and his wife were among the early strong supporters of the lighthouse preservation movement. R

Funds for Staffed Lights

Canada’s Campbell River Search and Rescue Station in British Columbia and a number of still staffed lighthouses will receive $1.5 billion in investments toward upgrading the stations. Among the lighthouses included will be Chatham Point, Nootak Island, Quatsino (pictured), Cape Scott, Pulteney Point, Scarlett Point, Egg Island and Addenbroke Island.

Keeper Sidney F. Smith Dies

Sidney “Sid” Franklin Smith, 83, passed away this past March 1st. Sidney Smith spent his childhood years at Canada’s Cape Sable Lighthouse in Nova Scotia, where his father Benjamin Franklin Smith was the lighthouse keeper. Later in life Sidney Smith became the assistant keeper under his father. He eventually met Elizabeth June Richardson, who had grown up at Bon Portage Light Station, and they married. He became head keeper at Cape Sable in 1970. In 1979 with the destaffing of Canadian lighthouses he transferred to the Canadian Coast Guard station in Clarks Harbour. He was well liked by many. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

Bernard Chandler Dies

Bernard Chandler, the last surviving child of lighthouse keeper Roscoe Chandler and his wife Mary, has passed away at the age of 92. Bernard Chandler’s memories of growing up at lighthouses in Maine is told in the May/June 2014 edition of Lighthouse Digest. When we interviewed him for the story he had many fond memories, some that he recounted with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face, but others were of sadness at life gone by. He was a delight to spend time with. Our sincere condolences go out to his family and friends.

Harbor Beach Light Party

Michigan’s Harbor Beach Lighthouse Celebration will take place on July 18th for the 130th birthday of the lighthouse. Guest speakers will include Dennis Hale, sole survivor of the Morrill, Terry Pepper of GLLKA, Lee Murdock in song, and many others. Events start at 11am at James H. Lincoln Beach in Harbor Springs, Michigan. FMI go to www.HarborBeachLighthouse.org.

Port Burwell Turns 175

Canada’s Port Burwell Lighthouse turns 175 years old this year and the community of Port Burwell in Ontario, Canada will hold a celebration on July 1st. The lighthouse is one of the oldest wooden lighthouses in Canada. The community is hoping that lighthouse aficionados from around the world will travel to their community to celebrate with them. There will be a parade, speeches, music, and refreshments will enliven Robinson Street and the beach. Lighthouse aficionados are encouraged to contact the Port Burwell Historical Society, and to drop into the welcome station at the Marine Museum on July 1st so that the community can give visitors a real Port Burwell welcome. For more information you can e-mail the society at cbuchanan@amtelecom.net

St. Marks Lens Unveiling

As part of the Florida Lighthouse celebrations, the newly restored lens of Florida’s St. Marks Lighthouse was unveiled on April 18th at the St. Marks National Wildlife Visitors Center. The lens that had been removed from the tower before restoration started had been shipped to the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse where it was restored free of charge by the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Society.

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.

Ashland’s 100th

The Ashland Historical Society Museum is planning a 100th Birthday celebration for the Ashland Breakwater Lighthouse on Saturday, July 11th in Ashland, Wisconsin. Richard Mitchell, the grandson of Ashland lighthouse keeper Franck Mersey, will portray his grandfather at Krecher Park Beach in half hour intervals from 2pm to 4pm. The Amateur Radio Society will be holding a live broadcast, and the museum will have an Open House art display at its location at 509 W. Maine St. in Ashland. For more information you can call 715-682-4911 or e-mail.

Bob Shanklin’s 90th

Bob Shanklin, known to many as one half of “The Lighthouse People,” will be celebrating his 90th Birthday on July 16. Bob and his wife Sandra have photographed every lighthouse in all 50 of the United States and Puerto Rico. They have also published a number of books such as Lighthouses of Alaska, Lighthouses of Florida and Lighthouses of Hawaii. Their book, List of All Existing U.S. Lighthouses, has been reprinted numerous times. Over the years, many of their photographs have appeared in the pages of Lighthouse Digest. Birthday cards for Bob’s 90th birthday can be sent to Bob Shanklin, 517 Thornhill Rd, Ft. Walton Bch FL 32547-2631.

MLM’s 10th Birthday Party

The Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, Maine will be hosting its 10th Anniversary Celebration on June 25 to 27. Lots of activities are planned for the event and the public is invited and encouraged to attend. Follow their web site at www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.org or their Facebook page for all the details as they become available.

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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