Digest>Archives> March 2008

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


New Inn To Replicate Lost Lighthouse

The new Lighthouse Inn at Solomons’ Island, Maryland is expected to be open again by the 2009 season; the original inn was destroyed by a fire in March of 2006. The restaurant at the Lighthouse Inn will be styled after the Cedar Point Lighthouse that was built in 1896 to mark the southern approach to Patuxent River from the Chesapeake Bay. What remained of the lighthouse after erosion was dismantled in 1996. The new restaurant will incorporate the rustic appeal of the original Cedar Point Lighthouse including the sunburst wood design over the windows and will even have a fog bell and light in the tower. It sounds like the kind of place we’ll want to visit when it is completed.

Awards At Beavertail

We may be a little late on this, but congratulations to George and Linda Warner for being honored by Community Service Awards for their volunteer work at Rhode Island’s Beavertail Lighthouse.

Inceville Lighthouse Photos Wanted

We are looking for close up images of the Inceville Lighthouse that once stood at the site that is now part of the Will Rogers State Park in Pacific Palisades, California. Although it was never a real lighthouse, its role in history is unique. It seems several structures, whether altered or replaced occupied the site that was the setting for a number of movies including the silent movie “The Lighthouse Keeper,” starring Mary Pickford and John Harvey. If any of our readers can help, we’d sure appreciate hearing from you.

Owls Head to ALF

Maine’s Owls Head Lighthouse, in Owls Head Maine, near Rockland, is the latest lighthouse to come under the auspices of the nonprofit American Lighthouse Foundation in Rockland, Maine. The group hopes to raise $257,000 to restore the tower, which is visited by thousands of people ever year. The keeper’s house will still however remain as Coast Guard housing.

Toledo Group Mourns Loss

Bob Welsh, who was an integral part of the Toledo Lighthouse Society in Toledo, Ohio, passed away this past December. According to the group’s president, Sandy Bihn, Bob and his wife Peggy helped make the Toledo Lighthouse Society the success that it is today. Our condolences go out to his wife, Peggy, and all those that knew and worked with Bob.

Toledo Awarded Grant

The Toledo Lighthouse Preservation Society has received a nearly $15,000 grant for a first phase study of preserving the exterior of the historic lighthouse in Lake Erie, Ohio. Two previous grants received were for a boat dock and for other restoration at the lighthouse.

Yaquina Light Gets Grant

The Friends of Yaquina Lighthouse recently received a $10,000 matching grant from Preserve Oregon that will be used to install supports on the spiral stairway in the tower. Four of the steps in the lighthouse have cracked, two of them in the last year. The new supports will be similar to those installed at Cape Hatteras and Currituck Lighthouses in North Carolina.

Cable At New Dungeness Lighthouse

Washington state’s New Dungeness Light Station Association recently installed a new cable for electricity to the lighthouse. This was a gigantic undertaking that involved fund raising and backbreaking work by volunteers. They are to be commended and congratulated for an amazing job. This proves once again that volunteers do make a difference. Our hats off to these fine people.

Sand Island Restoration

The Alabama Lighthouse Association has announced that a $320,000 restoration project on the Sand Island Lighthouse will begin soon. The work couldn’t come at a better time,

since the lighthouse is currently endangered from storm damage and is threatened as well by erosion.

New Maritime Exhibit At Smithsonian

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. is working on the completion of the new exhibit that will open in 2009. The exhibit will be titled, “On the Water: Stories from Maritime America.” The new exhibit will be 8,000 square feet and replaces the museum’s “Hall of American Maritime Enterprise,” exhibit, which opened in 1978 and ran through 2006. The new exhibit has been funded by a $4.5 million grant from the A.P. Moller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Moller Foundation.

Crossed The Bar

Lt. Commander George Bannan (USCG-Ret) of West Yarmouth, MA a former Commanding Officer of the Nantucket Lightship in the mid 1950’s has passed away. A Pearl Harbor survivor he served for 32 years, retiring from the Coast Guard as the Commanding Officer of Group Woods Hole. Our condolences go out to his friends and family.

Alcatraz Lens Out

The 700-pound, 200,000 candlepower glass lens, that was installed at California’s Alcatraz Lighthouse in 1963 is being removed in favor of a modern optic that is less expensive to maintain and only weighs 70 pounds. The Coast Guard Historian’s Office is working with the local command to place the lens in a museum, if the lens has historical significance.

Montauk Gets Erosion Money

Congress has approved money for erosion control at The Montauk Lighthouse, in Long Island, NY, however the money itself has not yet actually been appropriated. The total amount of the money for the erosion control is also coming from other sources as well, including state money, and funds raised by the Montauk Historical Society.

Lens Battle Brewing

The volunteers at Ohio’s Lorain Lighthouse want the lens from their lighthouse back. The problem is, the lens is now at the Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse overlooking New York’s Rochester Harbor and it has been there since the Coast Guard loaned it to the lighthouse back in 1984. The folks at the Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse have said they intend to keep the lens saying that they have been maintaining it and caring for it for the public to enjoy, ever since the Coast Guard gave it to them. The Coast Guard loan agreement to Charlotte is good until 2011 and the ownership dispute will not likely be resolved until then.

New Point Comfort Erosion Control

It seems that erosion is a problem that is threatening more and more lighthouses. This time it’s at New Point Comfort Lighthouse in Virginia. Preservationists want to use 5,000 tons of granite boulders to form a wall around the lighthouse to help protect it as well as built a pedestrian walkway around the structure. But, first they need to raise the money.

Unwanted Saybrook Lighthouse

It seems a selectman from the community by Old Saybook Lighthouse, a lighthouse that appears on a Connecticut State license plate, doesn’t want their lighthouse. The lighthouse has been offered up for adoption under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. However, First Selectman Mike Pace of Old Saybrook, said he doesn’t think the town should take ownership of the lighthouse and then have to be responsible for its upkeep, instead preferring that the federal government keep ownership. Since the NHLPA was passed so the federal government could divest itself of lighthouses, does Mr. Pace suggest that the law now be changed? Hmmm. Also, while lighthouse groups and communities around the country are proudly scrambling to take ownership of lighthouses, we would hope that Selectman Pace does not speak for the rest of the Old Saybrook community. Otherwise, perhaps the lighthouse could be moved to a community that would embrace the historical structure. Perhaps that is a bit of a radical statement, but it certainly gets the point across.

Lighthouse Owner Appointed To Head NPS Advisory Board

Congratulations are in order to William F. Baker as the new chairman of the National Park Service Advisory Board, which will lead an impressive array of distinguished private citizens in advising the Secretary of the Interior and National Park Service Director on a wide range of issues. Baker, who actually owns a lighthouse, also wrote the book, “Lighthouse Island: Our Family Escape.” Since so many lighthouses are located within the National Park system, this is good news for lighthouse preservationists.

GLLKA’s Moehl Honored by DRLPS

The DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society has honored Dick Moehl by being named Founding Director Emeritus of DRLPS. In August of 1997 when Moehl, president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper’s Association, learned that Michigan’s DeTour Reef Lighthouse was going to be declared excess he contacted people in the community and they took a boat ride out to the lighthouse to investigate its condition. That boat ride was the inspiration for the community to band together to save the lighthouse, which they did. Congratulations to Dick Moehl. He is truly one of the most dedicated lighthouse preservationists in the nation.

Lighthouse Service Keepers & Employees

We are often asked if there are any people still alive that were lighthouse keepers or employees of the old United States Lighthouse Service in any capacity such as those who worked at lighthouse depots, on lighthouse tenders, or lightships. Although we don’t believe there are of them still surviving, we could be wrong and naturally we have no way of knowing for sure. If any of our readers can help answer this question we invite you to contact us at editor@LighthouseDigest.com or by mail to Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.

Anne Webster Wallace Recovering

Anne is recovering from a serious injury. She is the founder and past president of the Friends of Seguin Island, which saved Maine’s Seguin Island Lighthouse. She was the Director of the Maine Lights Program, which gave a large number of lighthouses to non profits and local communities. Anne has been a true leader in lighthouse preservation. The Maine Lights Program was the forerunner that led to the National Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.

She suffering a brain hematoma after a serious fall and underwent emergency brain surgery. She is now undergoing Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy and has a difficult road to recovery. Get well cards and photos of lighthouses would be greatly appreciated. They can be sent to her at Anne Webster Wallace, Indian Point, P. O. Box 438, Georgetown, ME 04548.

This story appeared in the March 2008 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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