Cow and Horse at West Quoddy
This rare image of Maine’s West Quoddy Head Lighthouse shows a cow roaming freely on the lighthouse grounds. To the left of the cow can be seen a horse-drawn buggy. The buildings to the left and right of the keeper’s house are no longer standing. Unfortunately, we don’t know the year when the photograph was taken. However, old photos like this, especially compared to others, help to construe the history of lighthouses. If you have old photos of lighthouses, we would encourage you to share them with us so that we may publish them and continue to save them in our archives for future generations.
When Milwaukee Breakwater Light was Red
Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Breakwater Lighthouse is shown here from a photograph taken on June 30, 1927 a few months after it was first lighted on February 26, 1927. At that time, the structure was painted red with a black lantern until ten years later when the lighthouse was changed to a “black lantern on a buff structure,” as reported in the Light List of March 1, 1938. Twenty years later, the color of the lighthouse was reported in the March 1, 1958 Light List as having a “black lantern on a white structure,” the color that remains to this day.
Sand Island’s Steel Tower
On April 23, 1921, the 1881 Sand Island Lighthouse became the first lighthouse in Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands to be automated. In 1933, as shown here, the light was removed from the tower and replaced with a light mounted on top of a 48-foot steel tower that was erected near the original lighthouse. Starting in 1925 and continuing through 1975, the lighthouse was leased to several different individuals. Shortly after the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was created in the 1970s, the lighthouse was taken over by the National Park Service. In 1985, under prodding from the National Park Service, the Coast Guard removed the metal tower and returned a light to the lantern. Although there is no dock, in the summer season, volunteers provide limited tours to kayakers and private boaters who make their way to the island.
Alcatraz Siege Ended
This original Associated Press photo dated June 12, 1971 was published in multiple newspapers across the nation with the headline “Coast Guard at the Rock.” The caption with the photo read, “A Coast Guard cutter stands by at the Alcatraz dock after U.S. Marshals staged a surprise raid and removed an Indian occupying force that held the “Rock” since November 20, 1969. Burned out buildings can be seen by the lighthouse. Numerous fires on Alcatraz since 1969 have destroyed five buildings. The 20,000 candlepower lighthouse has been dark most of the 19 months of the Indian occupation.” Destroyed in the fires were the former prison warden’s home and the former lighthouse keeper’s house. The fire also severely scorched the tower. Alcatraz Island was declared a national recreational area in 1972 and the island and all of its buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Today, the National Park Service administers Alcatraz Island as a unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The vessel shown in this photo is USCGPB 82369 Point Heyer, which was an 82-foot patrol boat that was commissioned on August 3, 1967 and decommissioned on December 13, 1991.
Quiet Day at Chatham
It appears to be a quiet 1940s day at Chatham Lighthouse on Cape Cod in Massachusetts as one lonely Plymouth automobile pulls into the street side parking. Every old photo has a story to tell, even if we have to imagine what that story was.
Shown here are Portland Head Lighthouse keeper Frank Oliver Hilt and his wife, Adora along with their son, Willard, who is dressed in his U.S. Army uniform. Frank O. Hilt was the head keeper at Maine’s Portland Head Lighthouse from 1929 to 1944. He started his career with the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1913. Frank Hilt and Adora Robinson were married on May 5, 1906. She preferred, and almost always used, the shortened first name of Dora. (Willard Hilt Collection, Lighthouse Digest archives)
The United States Lighthouse Service lighthouse tender Columbine is show here on its trail run in California’s San Francisco Bay on September 30, 1931. The vessel was built by the Moore Drydock Company of Oakland, California and officially commissioned on October 21, 1931. It was the second Lighthouse Service vessel to be named Columbine. The first one lasted until 1924. The Columbine, shown here, was referred to as a 121-foot Linden class vessel, named after two other tenders built during the same time; the Linden and the Wistaria. Lighthouse tenders brought supplies, work crews, and mail to the lighthouses. When lighthouse keepers were transferred, the tenders also moved the keepers and their furnishing to the lighthouses. When the Coast Guard took over the Lighthouse Service in 1939, the lighthouse tenders were then called buoy tenders. The Columbine served her entire career homeported out of San Francisco. She was decommissioned on October 8, 1965 and sold on June 29, 1967.
This relief sculpture of England’s Eddystone Lighthouse is on the Bank of Commerce Building in London. We’d like to know more about it. How high is it? When was it installed on the building? If you can help us please email Editor@LighthouseDigest.com (Photo by Karl R. Spitzer)
South Foreland’s Last Keeper
John Blanch, age 60, is shown here, on September 30, 1988, on his last day on the job as the lighthouse keeper of the 1843 South Foreland Lighthouse, which stands on the White Cliffs of Dover overlooking St. Margaret’s Bay in southeastern England. He lost his job because of automation. The lighthouse is now owned by England’s National Trust and the tower was restored in 2013. The last we heard, the 1st order Fresnel lens, shown in this photo, is still in the tower.
Wasp Infested Lighthouse
Park superintendent and ranger Ronnie Gallagher is shown here after climbing the stairs of the frequently wasp-infested Matagorda Island Lighthouse near Port O’Connor, Texas. This photo was taken on May 14, 1993 by Michael Boddy for publication in the Houston Post newspaper. In 2004, a $1.23 million dollar renovation was completed at the lighthouse. This is one of a number of the hundreds of original press photos held in the archives of Lighthouse Digest.
Race Point Coast Guard Station
These two vintage post cards from the 1930s show a number of automobiles at the old Race Point Coast Guard Station on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The facility is now known as the Race Point Ranger Station for the Cape Cod National Seashore. Most people who make the trek out to the Race Point Lighthouse will see this historic building.
This story appeared in the
May/Jun 2021 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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