Remembering Cullen Chambers – Lighthouse Preservationist

Cullen Chambers at Heceta Head Lighthouse, 2001
Cullen Chambers at Heceta Head Lighthouse, 2001
Cullen in his inspection gear at Heceta Head Lighthouse
Cullen in his inspection gear at Heceta Head Lighthouse

The lighthouse community is mourning the loss of a great friend and colleague, Cullen Chambers. Incredibly knowledgeable about all aspects of lighthouse preservation, Cullen was responsible for the preservation of Key West, St. Augustine, and Tybee Island Lighthouses as well as assisting in countless other preservation projects locally and around the country.

I first met Cullen while working on the National Lighthouse Museum Committee which later became the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee. As part of the latter, Cullen wrote a position paper on Fresnel lenses, demonstrating an impressive expertise on those unique artifacts.  He applied this knowledge in working on two lens projects at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and Heceta Head Lighthouse.  For his exceptional contributions to lighthouse preservation, Cullen was a recipient of the Ross Holland award in 2007.

The "lens team" at the Franklin Institute
The “lens team” at the Franklin Institute
Disassembly of the Fire Island lens at the Franklin Institute.  (Cullen on left)
Disassembly of the Fire Island lens at the Franklin Institute. (Cullen on left)
Cullen inspects the metalwork on Heceta Head Lighthouse's lantern
Cullen inspects the metalwork on Heceta Head Lighthouse’s lantern as part of a condition assessment he prepared on the lighthouse.

Always upbeat and charming, Cullen was a joy to work with. He will be sorely missed by his friends in the lighthouse community.

Cullen at Heceta

Cullen assisting with reassembly of the Heceta Head Lighthouse lens.
Cullen assisting with reassembly of the Heceta Head Lighthouse lens.

Comments

  1. I worked with Cullen on the phone many years ago when I was just getting interested in lighthouses.He was extremely generous and friendly as well as knowledgable. He was a real asset to the lighthouse community and will be missed.
    Paul St. Germain
    President,Thacher Island Association

  2. Cheryl Shelton-Roberts says:

    When we began the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society in 1994, Cullen was one of the first to cheer us on. He conducted two structural studies of the Bodie Island Lighthouse as a volunteer and his reports became the basis for the lighthouse’s restoration specs. We met several times over the years when he helped at other NC lights at our invitation and at St. Augustine and Tybee Island at his invitation–he was always upbeat, confident, and generous to share his expertise and friendship. We feel pain for his lovely wife and family. To make an understatement, Cullen will be missed. How fortunate that he taught many others what he gained through years of hard work. Lighthouse preservation would be decades behind without Cullen’s accomplishments.
    Cheryl and Bruce Roberts

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