Digest>Archives> October 2008

Cross-Stitch Artwork Donated to Lighthouse


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Frederic Morong, Jr. the District Machinist for ...

A specially commissioned cross-stitch artwork of the lighthouses where the Morong family of Maine lighthouse keepers were stationed, has been donated to the Friends of Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, Maine, by Pennsylvania resident Shelley Wykoff, who is a descendant of Frederic Morong, the first lighthouse keeper to serve at the Lubec Channel Lighthouse in Lubec.

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Kathy Burger-Johnson with the completed ...
Photo by: Lee Leighton

The large 37” x 33” artwork was designed and completed by Kathy Burger-Johnson who owns Accents Lighthouses of Dunbar, Nebraska, a company that specializes in designing cross stitch lighthouse work to help preserve lighthouse history. Johnson was commissioned by Wykoff to design and make the artwork to preserve the Morong family’s rich maritime history and heritage.

The centerpiece of the artwork depicts the poem, “Brasswork,” which was written at the kitchen table at Little River Lighthouse by Frederic Morong, Jr. during the time that Willie Corbett was the lighthouse keeper. At the time, Morong was the District Machinist for the U.S. Lighthouse Service, before he was appointed as the Lighthouse Inspector. The poem became the official poem of lighthouse keeper’s nationwide and Morong, Jr. became the semi-official poet of the U.S. Lighthouse Service and later the U.S. Coast Guard.

The artwork also features the 1939 emblem of the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, the Coast Guard emblem, and images of the various lighthouses where Frederic Morong, Sr., Alonzo Morong and Clifton Morong were stationed.

Maine lighthouses the Morongs were keepers at were; Browns Head, Seguin Island, Fort Popham, Portland Head, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Lubec Channel, Petit Manan, Libby Island, Cape Elizabeth, and White Head Island, as well as Race Point Lighthouse on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

When the project was completed Wykoff wanted to find an appropriate place to donate the completed artwork for display and she contacted Tim Harrison, editor of Lighthouse Digest magazine. Harrison, who is also the co-chair of the Friends of Little River Lighthouse, suggested it could be appropriately displayed at the lighthouse where “Brasswork” was written. Wykoff concurred.

Coincidently, Johnson’s husband had to make a business trip from Nebraska to southern Maine, so she went with him to bring the completed work along. It was presented to Lee Leighton, a volunteer for the Friends group, who then brought it up to Cutler. An anonymous benefactor has now agreed to have the artwork framed under archival glass to protect it for permanent display at Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, Maine.

To learn more about the cross-stitch work of Accents Lighthouse you can visit their web site at www.accentslights.com. For information on Little River Lighthouse you can visit their web site at www.LittleRiverLight.org.

This story appeared in the October 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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