Digest>Archives> Mar/Apr 2016

From the Lighthouse Service Bulletin

By Jack Graham


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This column continues to provide excerpts from the “Lighthouse Service Bulletin”, a monthly publication of the United States Bureau of Lighthouses, U.S. Department of Commerce. The first was issued in January 1912, and it continued throughout the existence of the Bureau. Verbatim quotes from Volume III, No. 2, dated February 1, 1924 follow. The Bulletin had as it object “supplying information that will be immediately useful in maintaining or improving the standards of the Lighthouse Service, and of keeping the personnel advised of the progress of work and matters of general interest in the service and in lighthouse work in general.”

Conference of Lighthouse Superintendents – The eighth conference of superintendents of lighthouses, with the commissioner and other officers of the service, was held in the bureau’s office at Washington on January 14 to 17. All the superintendents of the coast and lake districts, with the exception of the three outlying districts, were present. Secretary Hoover and Assistant Secretary Drake were present at several meetings. The business sessions were devoted largely to consideration of reports from technical committees. . . . At the conclusion of the conference the superintendents visited the Staten Island or Portsmouth depots for examination of lighthouse work in progress at those places.

Radio Fog Signal In Bay of Fundy – The Canadian government has established an automatic radio fog signal on the Lurcher Shoal Lightship in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. The station will transmit on a wave length of 1000 meters with a spark frequency of 500. The characteristic of the station will be a series of groups, each consisting of a dot and three dashes transmitted for a period of 60 seconds and followed by a silent interval of four minutes. The elapsed time from the beginning of one group to the beginning of the next in each series will be four seconds.

Damage At St. George Reef Light Station – On December 7, 1923, huge seas from a north-westerly direction broke on the platform at St. George Reef Light Station, Calif., 70 feet above water, with such violence as to tear the donkey engine from its foundations and move it over against the coping of the deck. All steam pipes, water pipes, and hoisting derrick control levers were either broken or badly damaged by the seas. The keeper was ashore at the time and was unable to return to the station for a period of nearly two weeks, but during this time he was in daily communication with the other keepers at the station by means of the recently installed radiotelephone at the light and at Crescent City.

Changes In Aids To Navigation – Lights Established: Higgins Point, Potomac River, flashing white, acetylene; Ferry Bar Channel, Baltimore Harbor, Md., flashing white, lens lantern, acetylene; Hills Point, Green Bay, Wis., flashing white, lens lantern, acetylene; Newport Bay, Calif., (three lights), two flashing white, lens lanterns, acetylene, and one fixed red, electric incandescent.

Lights Where Illuminant Was Changed: Wind Point (Racine Point), Wis., IOV to electric incandescent; Whitehead Point Spit, Key West Harbor, Fla., oil gas to acetylene. Minor Lights Established: Port Safety, Norton Sound, Alaska, two minor oil lights; Great Harbor, Culebra, West Indies, four minor lights.

Saving of Life and Property – The department has officially commended the meritorious services rendered by the personnel of the Lighthouse Service in the following instances:

Alphonso S. Bermudez, keeper of Muertos Island Light Station, P.R., on December 10, rendered assistance to a disabled fishing boat and occupants discovered in the vicinity of the station.

The force at Little Diamond Island Lighthouse Depot, William T. Brisbin, keeper, on December 10, rendered assistance in extinguishing a serious fire which destroyed a dwelling on the premises adjoining the lighthouse reservation.

The lighthouse tender Laurel, Herbert R. Brownley commanding, on January 8, assisted in floating the Coast Guard cutter Apache, which went ashore.

Publication Issued – Light List, Lower Mississippi River and Tributaries, fifteenth lighthouse district, corrected to November 15, 1923.

That’s a sampling “From the Bulletin.”Watch this space in future issues of this magazine for more.

This story appeared in the Mar/Apr 2016 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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