Although the endangered Buck Island Lighthouse in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands is no longer an active aid to navigation, a nondescript erector set style tower standing next to it is. But it’s simply not the same.
I always get flack when I write something like this, but it has always amazed me how the Coast Guard ignored simple on-going maintenance that over the years would have preserved a lighthouse like this, but instead they would spend the money to build another structure to act as the aid to navigation. Unfortunately for the lighthouse, in recent years, its ownership was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Buck Island Lighthouse was built by the government of Denmark in 1913 when the islands were part of the Danish West Indies, until they were purchased by the United States in 1919 and have since been known as the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Located on an island two miles southwest of St. Thomas, the Buck Island Lighthouse will eventually be lost forever unless steps are taken to save it. The lighthouse sits on an island that is under the control of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which manages the island under the Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge, which apparently has no interest in saving historic structures. This in itself is not only a shame to historians and preservationists, but is somewhat of a dishonor to our nation’s friendship with the people of Denmark. Shame on us.
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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