Post-War Beacon On Display
This photograph shows technicians placing the finishing touches to mounting the two-ton, ten-foot-high First order Fresnel lens of Norway’s Ytterøyane Lighthouse before it went on display at the British Industries Fair held in London, England, which opened to the public for a ten-day event on May 5, 1947. The caption with the photograph, taken on March 5, 1947 by International News Photos for the King Features Syndicate, stated that the lens was mounted on a 20-foot column, and when installed in the lantern of the Ytterøyane Lighthouse, “the flash of the light will sweep the horizon every minute with nearly 4 million candlepower. It is just one of a number of such lights that will illuminate the coast of Norway.” The 102-foot-tall Ytterøyane Lighthouse was built in 1881 and sits on an isolated island in the Norwegian Sea about 12 miles west of the town of Floro. It is only accessible by boat.
Christening the Last Lighthouse Tender
Shown here is Harriet Birta Mason as she breaks the champagne bottle to christen the U.S. Lighthouse Service tender Fir on March 22, 1939 at the Moore Dry Dock Company in Oakland, California. Ms. Mason, who was chosen to be the ship’s sponsor, was the daughter of Major General Wallace A. Mason of the California National Guard. The Fir was the last lighthouse tender to be built under the auspices of the U.S. Bureau of Lighthouses before it was taken over by the Coast Guard later that year. On May 27, 1988 the Fir gained the distinction of being the oldest commissioned vessel of the Coast Guard and gold hull numbers were painted on her bow. On May 30, 1988 the Fir was officially designated by the Coast Guard as “Queen of the Fleet.” On October 1, 1991 the Fir was decommissioned in a ceremony attended by over 600 people. The vessel in currently privately owned and is awaiting restoration.
A Different-Colored Portsmouth Harbor
There is no one alive today who knows when the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in New Castle, New Hampshire, was painted a color other than white. However, the tower, that dates from 1877/1878, was painted brown from 1887 to 1902 during the time that Joshua Card was the lighthouse keeper. This extremely rare cabinet photo shows what may be the keeper and two other men standing in front of the tower when it was painted brown. The lighthouse is located on the grounds of an active Coast Guard Station that is next to Fort Constitution, which is the site of the first overt act of the Revolutionary War.
The Making of a Bird Observation Post
The long-disused 1869 Old Lower Lighthouse on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, in Southern England, is shown here undergoing renovation to be converted into a bird observation tower by naturalist Peter Scott. The photo was taken by Evan Jones for News in Pictures and published on February 23, 1961 in the Daily Telegraph. The newspaper caption with the story read: “At the top of the 55-foot tower is an observation platform made of aluminum and glass. The frames facing the sea slide back to give an unobstructed view covering 180 degrees of the horizon.”
“The Road to the Isle”
This 1991 press photo was released by Prince Edward Island, Canada, Tourism and Parks to newspapers in the United States to promote “The Road to the Isle,” a year long celebration to promote the island’s Scottish heritage with many community activities and events with a Celtic flare. (Photo by John Sylvester)
Baptism in the Lantern
Throughout the years we’ve seen lots of photos of events held in the lanterns of lighthouses: weddings, engagements, swearing-in ceremonies, retirements, memorial services, and others we can’t even think of. However, this is the first time that we’ve seen a photo of a baptismal service held in a lighthouse lantern. The caption for this photo, dated April 23, 1981, read: “The top of the 207-foot-high Start Point Lighthouse, South Devon, provided an appropriate setting yesterday for the baptism of the family of its keeper, Mr. Graham Ibbertson, 33. Watching Craig, 7, being baptized by the Rev. Donald Payton-Jones are Mrs. Denise Ibbertson, Darren, 11, and Samantha 8.”
Still Being Restored
These two photos, published on October 8, 1969, show a bosun’s platform, hanging halfway up the Cape Florida Lighthouse tower, as masons work at installing new bricks to replace the ones that had been stolen or had fallen out. The two photos were taken a year after the photo published elsewhere in this issue that shows the old lantern being removed and before a new lantern was installed, as shown in these photos. The caption with the photo was short and to the point: “Cape Florida Lighthouse, still undergoing restoration.
Lighthouse Digest continues to acquire old photographs, something that we have been doing since 1992, to help preserve the history of our lighthouses. Although some photos are donated, most of what we acquire are purchased from private collectors and other sources, primarily from newspaper archives. These are photos that otherwise, more than likely, would have been thrown out and lost forever.
Many of these photos have never been published before, or only published once many years ago. Each and every one of them are vital to saving lighthouse history and telling the story of many different lighthouses. The following are a few of the recently acquired photos and information about them. God willing, more will be published in future editions of Lighthouse Digest.
We could use your help, please donate to the Lighthouse History Research Institute at: www.LighthouseHistoryResearch.org
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2023 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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