Travelling Lake Michigan - If you are one of the many thousands of people who have travelled on the SS Badger between Ludington, Michigan and Wisconsin you might have witnessed a scene like this. This post card was postmarked in 1962 and shows the lighthouses in Ludington. The SS Badger is still in operation, is the only coal-fired steamship in the United States, and is the largest car ferry on Lake Michigan.
Nubble Light - This rare side view of Maine’s Cape Neddick Light Station in York, Maine shows the old fog bell tower and the World War II lookout tower. The fog bell tower and the lookout tower no longer stand. Better known as Nubble Lighthouse, it is one of the most viewed lighthouses in Maine. Every year, tourists by the thousands flock to Sohier Park in York, Maine for a good view of the lighthouse.
Church Service - There may have been some type of church service taking place when this photo was taken between 1921 and 1931 at the no longer standing Cape St. James Lighthouse in British Columbia, Canada. This photograph, courtesy of the United Church Archives of Canada, has an identification listed as Capt. Wm. Oliver, Mrs. Lawrence, wife of the lightkeeper, and Rev. R.C. Scott. We’d like to learn more about the people who served at this remote lighthouse so that we can tell their stories and publish their photos so that they can be saved for future generations.
Lighthouse Keeper Post Card - To the post card collector, at first glance this appears to simply be a great “real photo post card” that features Maine’s Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse, which in itself is highly collectible, especially since it features the old bell tower. Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse, located on Swans Island, and is also known as Hockamock Head Lighthouse. But there is much more to this post card. When turning the card over, we found that the post card was addressed to Mrs. Ernest Mathie at Maine’s Baker Island Lighthouse, where her husband Ernest Mathie served as the lighthouse keeper in the 1950s. We also know that Ernest Mathie was a lighthouse keeper at Maine’s Egg Rock Lighthouse from 1937 to 1946, and at Fort Point Lighthouse from 1952-1957. The fact that this card was addressed to a lighthouse keeper greatly increases its collectability. And, 50 or 100-years from now when someone goes to our files, the excitement at discovering a post card addressed to a lighthouse keeper will be hard to contain.
OIC Envelope - Envelopes stamped from the Officer in Charge of a lighthouse are rare and extremely collectible among lighthouse aficionados, as well as being great items for museum display. This one from Maine’s Marshall Point Lighthouse that is postmarked August 27, 1979 is extremely interesting because by 1980 all Coast Guard personnel were removed from the automated lighthouse.
Tender Washed Ashore/b> - Shown here is the United States Lighthouse Service Lighthouse Tender Tulip after she was washed ashore and sitting high and dry in New London, Connecticut after the famous Great Hurricane of September 1938 that killed nearly 700 people, and injured another 4,500, and destroyed an estimated 75,000 buildings. The vessel was eventually refloated. In 1939 when the Coast Guard took over the Lighthouse Service, the vessel continued its aid to navigation duties. The Tulip was decommissioned in 1945 and given to the government of the Philippines.
Roots of Lighthouse Group - Too many people today seem to be forgetting how many of our successful lighthouse groups around the nation were founded by just a few people who took the helm to lead the way. One such example with the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. In 1981 in a conversation at the Grosse Point Lighthouse in Evanston, Illinois, Donn Werling, Diane Werling, and Betty Moore Rinehart discussed forming a group.
This led to an informal meeting in 1982 attended by 38 people in Saugatuck/Douglas Michigan, which led to the creation of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. In 1984 Donn Werling was elected as the organization’s first president, a position he held until 1985. And the rest is history. Shown here from an original 1986 newspaper photo in our archives is Donn Werling wearing his lightkeeper’s uniform at his home in Dearborn, Michigan.
This story appeared in the
Jul/Aug 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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