U.S. Lighthouse Society News

Greetings! Want to keep up with the latest on lighthouses? Check out U.S. Lighthouse Society News, a new electronic newsletter for the lighthouse community. As many of you know, I’m now working as the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s historian so I won’t be posting to my original Lighthouse History blog as often. I hope you consider subscribing to this new blog focusing on lighthouse history, preservation, education, and research. Just click on the SUBSCRIBE button in the right-hand column and provide your email address. Have items of interest to the lighthouse community? Please submit them for consideration to candace@uslhs.org. Thanks for your participation! Candace

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Restoration at Halfway Rock Reveals Evidence of Its Keepers

I always enjoy hearing from my research clients about their projects–especially if they are using historic documentation to restore or interpret their property. Ford Reiche has been keeping me up to date on his restoration of Halfway Rock Lighthouse in Maine. He recently sent me these three images relating to the keepers who were assigned to Halfway Rock in the 1930s. I was delighted with his interpretation of what he discovered in the process of restoring the tower: The crew at Halfway Rock had a long and frustrating effort to get funds appropriated for a refrigerator. From the date of construction in 1871 until …

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Los Angeles Lighthouses

I recently attended the Council of American Maritime Museums conference hosted by the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. Upon arrival in Los Angeles I went directly from the airport to the Point Fermin Lighthouse, where historic site manager Kristen Heather gave me a delightful tour. The visit was especially meaningful because the first keepers of Point Fermin Light, when it was established in 1874, were sisters Ella and Mary Smith. Although I realize these women had challenges living in such a remote location, I think it would have been a rather plum assignment when compared to many other light stations of that …

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Lighthouses of Northern Florida

Quite a lot has happened in the preservation of lighthouses along the Gulf coast of northern Florida since David Cipra’s Lighthouses, Lightships, and the Gulf of Mexico was published in 1997. (Cipra’s book is a comprehensive history of all the lights on the Gulf coast based on extensive archival research.) According to Cipra’s book, four masonry towers were erected on Cape San Blas between 1848 and 1885 when a skeletal iron tower was completed. The tower was moved several times back from the eroding shoreline before its most recent move to Port St. Joe. See their website for dramatic images of the 2014 move. …

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Maritime Heritage Grants

Tim Runyan, chair of the National Maritime Alliance, announced that monies are now available for the second round of maritime heritage grants. (The first round funded about 39 projects for about $650,000 in 1998.) The National Park Service will make the formal announcement on Monday but meanwhile you can access more information at http://www.nps.gov/maritime/grants/intro.htm

Both education and preservation projects are eligible. Approximately $1,700,000 is available for 2014. Note the deadline for applications is September 23rd.

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Sandy Hook Lighthouse Celebrates 250th Birthday

On June, 14, 2014, the Gateway National Recreation Area celebrated the 250th birthday of a National Historic Landmark.  According to park historian Tom Hoffman, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse was lit for first time on June 11, 1864. “. . . it was one of only eleven lighthouses built in the thirteen colonies during the colonial era, but, as the years went by, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse literally stood ‘the test of time’ to outlast all of its contemporaries to become the oldest standing and oldest operating lighthouse in the United States.” Hoffman provided me with an article on the 250th anniversary of the light and …

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Support Needed for Designating National Lighthouse Day

As you may know there’s a big push afloat to have August 7th designated “National Lighthouse Day.” In 2013, August 7th, the day the lighthouse service was established, was recognized in a congressional bill. But it was just for that year. Now the effort is to have the date recognized in perpetuity.

August 7, 2014, is the 225th anniversary of the first act of Congress that made the administration of lighthouses the responsibility of the new federal government.  It also marks the 75th anniversary of the transfer of lighthouses to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard. And it will also be the opening day of the new National Lighthouse Museum Educational Center on Staten Island.

There is now a facebook page devoted to this effort. It provides suggestions on how to contact your congressional representatives to support this designation. You can also show your support by “liking” this page if you have a facebook account.

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Great Lakes Lighthouse Conference

Jeff Shook at the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance has sent along information about their upcoming conference, May 21 -23, in Traverse City. Great Lakes, Great Lights: Sustainability for a Successful Future This conference provides stakeholders an opportunity to get inspired, to share ideas, and to learn from industry professionals in telling the stories of and preserving lighthouses. Efforts are placed within a framework of sustainability and community development, all to protect our lighthouses and collective maritime heritage long into the future. For more information — MLA 2014 Conference Brochure or http://www.michiganlighthousealliance.org

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Remembering Cullen Chambers – Lighthouse Preservationist

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 …

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