This nice photo of the upper portion of Alaska’s 1916 Cape St. Elias Lighthouse was taken between 1967 and 1969 by Leon Stewart. Notice that the 3rd order Fresnel lens in the lantern was covered to protect it from the harmful rays of the sun. The Fresnel lens is no longer in the tower. It was removed and is now on display at the Cordova Museum in Cordova, Alaska.
Strange Post Card
Here’s a strange old post card in our collection that was donated a number of years ago to us by Judi Kearney. It says “Heavy Weather on the Gulf.” But there is no Gulf of Michigan. On the front is says Evanston, Illinois Aug 27, 1906 and on the back it was postmarked in Evanston, Illinois in 1906. It was addressed to Miss L. Toberson, 784 N. Campbell Ave. Chicago, Ill. The name George is written under the image of what appears to be a surfman. The writing on the end of the card appears to say, “Sow would you like to be a Surfman.” Interestingly, at one time there was a United States Life Saving Service life boat station in Evanston that was staffed by surfman. Until the day arrives when someone invents a time machine, we may never know the story behind this old post card.
Historic Lightship Launching
The U.S. Lighthouse Service Fire Island Lightship LV 114 is shown here sliding down the ways at Portland Oregon in 1930 where she was christened by Caroline Hahn, the Portland Rose Queen. This was the first instance in the history of the Lighthouse Service that a ship was built on the west coast for east coast duty. She then traveled the 6,000 mile voyage to be stationed at the entrance to New York Harbor. This was the 3td and final Fire Island Lightship. The previous Fire Island lightships were the LV 58 and the LV 68. The LV 114 Fire Island Lightship was retired from service in 1971 and given to the City of New Bedford, Massachusetts. In 2006 it developed a leak and rolled over on its side. In 2007 its remains were sold for scrap.
This 1935 post card shows one of the last of the great ocean liners, the M.V. Britannic, cruising past the Fire Island Lightship LV 114. Launched on June 28, 1929, the M.V. Britannic was the last ship of the famous White Star ships to bear that name. It was eventually absorbed into the Cunard line. In 1939 it was requisitioned by the British government to transport troops in World War II and in total she transported 180,000 troops some 376,000 miles. In December of 1960 the historic vessel was sold for scrap, which is the same fate that came to the Fire Island Lightship LV 114.
At Machias Seal Island
Shown in a photograph taken on a foggy day on July 10, 1970 are left to right, Purcell Corbett, Jack Russell and a Mr. Seely at Machias Seal Island, a Canadian lighthouse off the coast of Maine. Purcell Corbett, who was the son of Little River Lighthouse long-time keeper Willie W. Corbett, used to give boat tours out to Machias Seal Island Lighthouse for people to see the puffins. Mr. Seely, (or Seeley) shown in this photo to the far right (first name unknown), who was 75 years old at the time of this photo, was the son of Charles Frederick Seely, who was the lighthouse keeper at Machias Seal Island Lighthouse from 1883 to 1901. Jack Russell was a former Canadian lighthouse keeper.
Hanging Out The Laundry
Look closely at this very old undated photo of the Southeast Lighthouse on Block Island, Rhode Island, and you will notice clothes hanging from a line that comes from a second floor window to a pole on the ground. This would indicate that the laundry belonged to the family of the assistant lighthouse keeper who would have lived on the second floor. Notice the old car parked to the right. The people in the photo appear to be tourists.
Greenly Island Fog Signal Building
This original photo taken on April 18, 1928 of the fog signal building at Greenly Island Lighthouse at the western entrance to the Strait of Belle Isle in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near Blanc-Sablon, in Quebec, Canada just came into our possession. Greenly Island entered the annals of aviation history in April 1928 when the Bremen, a German plane, made the first successful east-to-west transatlantic flight, crash-landing on an ice-covered water reservoir on the island after a 36-hour crossing from Ireland. The pilots’ original destination was Mitchell Field on Long Island, but the plane drifted far off course to the north during the night. Greenly Island Lighthouse was the landmark that enabled the pilots to find their way to safety. The 1878 lighthouse was replaced by a skeleton tower in 1949. Another skeleton tower was built in 1983, when the light was automated. The grounds and the other buildings were turned over to the municipality of Blanc-Sablon in 1998. Greenly Island is part of the Baie de Brador Migratory Bird Sanctuary, managed by the Canadian Wildlife Service. You can read the full story of the Breman landing at the lighthouse in the April 2007 edition of Lighthouse Digest which can also be found in our on-line archives.
This story appeared in the
Mar/Apr 2017 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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