Digest>Archives> April 2008

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Vandalism Worry

Public officials in Jamestown, Rhode Island are worried that the Beavertail Lighthouse, now without a live in caretaker for the first time in 30 years, may

be open to vandalism. The last time the lighthouse was without a caretaker, vandalism and graffiti were a problem. Town Administrator Bruce Keiser said the lighthouse, because it is four miles from town, is ripe for vandalism. Now that they’ve help publicize that fact, vandalism is even more likely. Maybe they should hire a security guard, install an alarm system and post frequent police patrols.

Vandalism Is A True Problem

Vandals recently struck Australia’s Tacking Point Lighthouse located on the southernmost point of King Island in the Bass Strait in Port Macquarie, Australia. The low lifes sprayed the structure with graffiti and smashed a window. Local historical officials said it was a dreadful shame, while another said, “It’s a historic landmark that denotes a certain era of our history.” All lighthouses, no matter where they are located are subject to vandalism and it’s been happening for years, everywhere in the world. Sometimes the vandals are caught, sometimes they are not. Some people say that vandalism would not happen if there was better education provided about historical structures. I say that we need to toughen the punishment, which in most cases is far too lenient. When will those who pass the laws and delve out the punishments make some changes and start getting tough?

Bradley Steps Down

Charles Bradley, Jr., the driving force behind the restoration and long term care of Bird Island in Marion, Massachusetts has stepped down. Bradley said he is proud of his role in saving the lighthouse and presevering its history, but things have changed in his life and it was time to move on. “Whoever takes over,” he said, “will need to be able to devote a lot of time.” We wish to thank Bradley for his efforts, he was one of the early people who pushed for lighthouse preservation and was a recipient of the American Lighthouse Foundation’s Beacon of Light Award.

New Wood Island Book

Margo Alley has published a new book called, “Wood Island Lighthouse — The Rescue of Tammy Burnham,” which recounts the true and amazing riveting rescue of the lighthouse keeper’s daughter. The book is packed with great reading and historical images and is a must have for anyone with an interest in lighthouses. The book goes into great detail about the events that led up the rescues, the rescue, the investigation, and memories of those still alive. Don’t let this one get away. The book can be ordered for $20.00 plus $2.75 for shipping from Margo Alley, 16 Fenderson Rd., Saco, ME 04072.

Leaning Tower Straightens Out

An inactive lighthouse on the island Saaremaa, which is the largest island belonging to Estonia, in the Baltic Sea, which was previously leaning from erosion, miraculously straightened itself out. Over the years erosion caused

the structure to tilt, and a type of reverse erosion moved the tower, which was tilting about 9 degrees to a straight position again.

Gift Shop At Cabo Rojo

Puerto Rico’s newly restored Cabo Rojo Lighthouse, known locally as Faro de Los Morillos, will soon have its own gift shop to help maintain the lighthouse. Last year over 13,000 people visited the historic structure that sits atop spectacular 200-foot limestone cliffs. Interestingly this has also been the site of numerous UFO sightings.

Tours Suspended At Cape Lookout

Walking tours inside North Carolina’s Cape Lookout Lighthouse have been suspended after it was discovered that the tower’s circular stairway has suffered significant deterioration, making them possibly unsafe. In the meantime, the keeper’s quarters and visitors center will continue to remain open. In the meantime, volunteers at the lighthouse are undertaking an effort to get the Fresnel lens back at the lighthouse for display. However, that lens is now at Southeast Light on Block Island Rhode Island and the folks there may not want to give it up unless they get their lens back first.

Road Fees at San Luis Obispo Lighthouse

The Port San Luis Harbor District has approved a plan that will allow the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers to charge a fee to transport visitors by bus or van across property owned by the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant to the isolated lighthouse that the group is restoring. This is good news for lighthouse aficionados or tourists who wish to visit the lighthouse.

New Book on Old Mack

A new book on the history of Michigan’s Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, in Mackinaw City, written by historian Steven C. Brisson, is now available at the gift shop at the lighthouse or from Mackinac State Historic Parks by calling 231-436-4100. The book is $10.95 plus shipping.

Lighthouses For Kids

We have just reviewed a new book by Katherine L. House called, "Lighthouses For Kids," and we can assure that the book is well worth the $14.95 price. It is packed with history, science, lore and 21 activities. The book is filled with engaging activities such as learning how to tie a bowline knot and building a model lighthouse and includes a field guide to visiting lighthouses. However, it probably should have been titled, Lighthouses For Beginners because it is also a great book for any one who is just staring to have an interest in lighthouses. We’d recommend the book to everyone. Currently it is available from Lighthouse Depot as Item #99878 by calling them at 1-800-758-1444 or going to their web site at www.LighthouseDepot.com.

Research Fund

Since our first issue in 1992 Lighthouse Digest has been dedicated to saving and reporting the history of lighthouses. However, researching lighthouse history can be very time consuming and expensive. One cannot simply go to a file cabinet and find the history of a given lighthouse, especially remote lighthouses and lighthouses no longer standing. Sometimes it takes months or even years to research and locate some of the old history, the recorded memories and historic photographs of lighthouse, lighthouse keepers and the families who lived at them. If we are to be successful in finding and saving this history for future generations we need our readers help. Although donations to our research fund are not tax deductible, if you would like to help, much appreciated donations can be mailed to Lighthouse Digest Research Fund, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.

Crossed the Bar

We are saddened to report the passing of Edward J. Chiasson, 68, of Selbyville, Delaware. Ed was a long time friend, as well as advertiser in the pages of Lighthouse Digest. He was owner of Sea-Lites, a company that manufactured custom crafted lighthouses. All across America his lighthouses adorn lawns, miniature golf courses, businesses and amusement parks. In fact Lighthouse Depot in Wells, Maine has a 12-foot replica of West Quoddy Lighthouse in front of the store. Here at Lighthouse Digest, we have one of his 10-foot tall replicas of Machias Seal Island Lighthouse. Hopefully his family will continue his business. Donations in his memory can be sent to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

This story appeared in the April 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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