Digest>Archives> Nov/Dec 2020

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comment From the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


New Windows for Burnt Coat Harbor

A Maine-based philanthropic organization has awarded the Friends of Swans Island Light a grant of $5,000 that was then matched by the Town Lighthouse Committee members to replace the three glass-block windows in the Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse. The current windows will be replaced with historically accurate 6-over-6 pane wooden double-hung windows with interior screens. This will return the tower to its 1930s period architectural style and will eliminate the moisture buildup issue in the tower that has been a constant problem since the installation of the glass block windows post-1930s. Also, opening the windows in summertime will allow full ventilation and make the tower more comfortable for tower guides and guests.

Ocracoke Mourns Thurston the Cat

Thurston, the gray and white lighthouse cat who greeted thousands of residents and visitors for the past 20 years at North Carolina’s Ocracoke Lighthouse, has died. His steady gaze as people approached the walkway was telling visitors to come and enjoy the lighthouse and be sure to “pet me on the way.”

Prudence Island Declared Excess

The Federal Government has declared Rhode Island’s Prudence Island Lighthouse as excess property under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. This means that any qualified nonprofit or government entity can apply for free ownership of the lighthouse. It is currently licensed to the Prudence Island Conservancy, whose license is set to expire in March of 2021. In 1851, the structure was moved from being the Goat Island Light in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island to become the Prudence Island Lighthouse. It is assumed that the Prudence Island Conservancy will apply for ownership of the lighthouse.

Funding for West Point

The Canadian government has announced a $1.5 million shoreline protection project for the Cedar Dunes Provincial Park which includes the West Point Lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. It is hoped that this will help save the West Point Lighthouse which is threatened by erosion.

Plum Island Gets USLHS Grant

The Friends of Plum Island Light have received a $1,000 grant from the U.S. Lighthouse Society for various repairs to the 1898 Newburyport Harbor Lighthouse, more commonly known as the Plum Island Lighthouse, in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

High Water at Tawas Point

The main road leading to Michigan’s 1876 Tawas Point Lighthouse was closed this past summer due to high water levels and flooding, a situation that is occurring at numerous lakefront state parks and harbors in Michigan.

Hambrooks Bar Light Now Daymark

Maryland’s Hambrooks Bar Lighthouse, which we wrote extensively about in the July/August 2020 edition of Lighthouse Digest, has had its beacon removed and is now listed by the Coast Guard as a daymark. Also, Congressman Andy Harris’s office has stated that the demolition money for Hambrooks Bar Light has now been allocated for another project. So, for now, the old beacon still stands.

High Water Threatens Round Island Light

Michigan’s famous Round Island Lighthouse, near Mackinac Island, is now endangered by high water. Matt McMullen, president of the Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, said that they need to raise at least $250,000 for boulders to protect the lighthouse so they don’t see a repeat of the 1972 incident which famously took out a large chuck of the structure’s side. So far, they have only raised about 10% of the money needed. The Hiawatha National Forest, which owns the lighthouse, stated that they do not have any money to protect or save the structure. The lighthouse group is currently placing sand bags around the base of the lighthouse, but that is only a temporary stopgap.

Sea Gull Shop Destroyed

The Sea Gull Shop, the popular restaurant and gift shop next door to Maine’s Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, was totally destroyed in a fire on September 9, 2020. The midnight fire was fought by fire departments from five communities. It is past 83 years, tens of thousands of people from around the world have eaten at its restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the lighthouse. Back in 1992, when we started Lighthouse Digest, the Sea Gull Shop was the first place to distribute and help promote our magazine. The owners have vowed to rebuild.

President Visits Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

This past September, President Donald Trump visited Jupiter, Florida to give a speech on extending a moratorium on offshore oil drilling. According to the folks at Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, this was the first time in 131 years since a sitting president has visited the lighthouse. However, apparently there were no photos taken of the President with the lighthouse in them, which would have been historic, regardless of which side of the political fence you are on. Kathleen Glover, Director of Marketing and Community Affairs, in an email to us, stated, “We do not have photos as this was an event conducted directly by the White House and did not involve our organization. It was an invite only. The lighthouse itself is part of and sits on federal public lands. If we come across any, we will let you know.”

Jupiter Turns 160

Florida’s Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, designed by Lt. George Meade, who later was the general in command of Union forces at Gettysburg, turned 160 years old this year. The lighthouse is now featured on a Florida State specialty license plate.

Maine Light in the Saturday Evening Post

The September/October 2020 edition of The Saturday Evening Post featured a segment titled, “Best Road Trips in Every State.” For the Maine section of the story, they featured a photo of Little River Lighthouse, but, leaving their readers high and dry, they failed to mention the name of the lighthouse or where it was located. And to make matters worse, they failed to mention that this lighthouse is actually on an island off the coast of the community of Cutler and cannot be seen from the road. We wonder how many of their readers asked themselves what the name of the lighthouse was or where it was located? And those who did follow their directions and drove the 125-mile Bold Coast Scenic Highway must have wondered how they could have missed the lighthouse.

Fallon Visits West Quoddy

This past September, while visiting and staying with friends in Maine, Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC-TV’s Tonight Show, stopped by for an early morning visit to watch the sunrise at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, the easternmost lighthouse on the mainland of the Atlantic coast of the United States. He posted on Instagram that it was “#LoveAtFirstLight.”

Muskegon Gets Repairs

Michigan’s 1903 Muskegon South Pierhead Light has received about $40,000 in repairs, thanks to the efforts of the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy.

30 Years for NJLHS

Congratulations to the New Jersey Lighthouse Society for their 30th Anniversary. To follow them, go to www.facebook.com/njlhs or visit their web site at www.njlhs.org.

Light House Packaging Found

Janet Lynn recently discovered this beat-up old box which would have held individual containers of Light House Extract of Lemon that was bound for shelves at stores owned by the National Grocer Company of Grand Rapids and Detroit, Michigan. In the past, we have seen packaging for Light House products such as coffee, mustard, rolled oats, extract of vanilla and peanut butter, but this is the first Extract of Lemon that we have come across. National Grocer Company went out of business in the 1930s during the Great Depression

Ocracoke Vandalized

This past October, vandals struck North Carolina’s Ocracoke Lighthouse. They ripped off a screen door and damaged windows and screens on the keeper’s house, tower, and outbuildings. Hopefully, these criminals will be caught and properly punished.

Margaritaville Comes to Thomas Point

Jimmy Buffett, the famous song writer and musician, recently visited Maryland’s Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse to record two songs at the lighthouse for his new video. The song selection is under wraps until the video is released. The lighthouse sits in the Chesapeake Bay offshore from Annapolis.

This story appeared in the Nov/Dec 2020 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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