Digest>Archives> Jul/Aug 2018

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Romance Lost at Hereford

When the rotating beacon at the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse in North Wildwood, New Jersey failed this past May, it was replaced by one of the modern flashing LED lights. The romance of the sweeping beacon is now gone from the lighthouse. Reportedly, the mayor and the city clerk of North Wildwood are in talks with the Coast Guard about the possibility of placing a new rotating beacon in the tower, which is unlikely to happen unless the city pays for it.

Mark Twain Lighthouse to be Demolished

Local officials have announced that the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse in Hannibal, Missouri will be demolished. Although local officials announced last year that the lighthouse was going to be restored in 2018, it was discovered that water damage had so severely damaged the interior that it would now need to be torn down and rebuilt. The first Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse was built in 1935 to commemorate Mark Twain’s 100th birthday, and it was first lighted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A storm destroyed the tower in 1960, and in 1963, it was rebuilt and then ceremonially lighted by President John F. Kennedy. Over time, the tower suffered from improper care and was restored in 1994 and ceremonially relighted by President Bill Clinton. Local officials said that a new tower will now be built on the site.

The Great War Lighthouse Flag Mystery

In 1917 when the United States entered the Great War, which later became known as World War One, the Associated Press ran a brief snippet that appeared in 30 newspapers across the United States that said, “The military-service flag of the Lighthouse Service Department of Commerce contains 1,206 stars, one for each officer and employee of the Lighthouse Service now serving in the military forces of the United States.” Unfortunately, we have never been able to locate an image of such a flag. Perhaps one was never actually made. Or, perhaps, one is stored away deep in the vaults of the Smithsonian. However, records indicated the office of Lighthouse Superintendent Robert Warrick’s 17th district office did have a flag on display with 13 stars on it for the men from that district who served in the war. But, we have also been unable to locate a photo of that flag or where it might be today.

International Lighthouse Heritage Weekend

This August 18-19 is International Lighthouse Heritage Weekend where celebrations will be happening at many lighthouses around the globe, especially in Europe. If you attend an event on that weekend at a lighthouse, please share your photos with us by emailing them to newstips@LighthouseDigest.com.)

Bribie Island Gone

Threated by erosion the Bribie Island Lighthouse in Queensland, Australia has been permanently removed from the northern end of Bribie Island and carted away. According to the Sunshine Coast Daily, erosion had left the base of the structure fully exposed, raising safety and structural concerns. The owner of Clayton’s Towing, who was hired to cart the lighthouse off, said that the tower would be scrapped and “will come back as Coke cans.”

Terry Pepper Honored

Terry Pepper, the longtime Executive Director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper’s Association, was honored this past May when he was presented with the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance’s Beacon award at the International Lighthouse Conference held on Mackinaw Island, Michigan. Previous recipients were the late Dick Moehl, who was the president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper’s Association; U.S. Senator Carl Levin; and Jeri Baron Feltner of Michigan’s DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society. Congratulations Terry for this award. He deserved it.

New Exhibits at St. Joe

The Heritage Museum will have new exhibits this year at the St. Joseph Pierhead Lighthouses in St. Joseph, Michigan. The tour schedule, which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, offers one-hour guided walking tours Fridays and Saturdays at 10am for $10 for adults and $5 for children. Free tours are offered on Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 2pm with a $5 fee to climb the tower. FMI. go to https://stjoelighthousetours.wordpress.com.

Life Rings at St. Joe

This will be the first time in 24 years that life rings have been installed along the North Pier going to and from Michigan’s St. Joseph Pierhead Lighthouses. The plan calls for 12 life rings. An anonymous donor started the fund raising campaign that resulted in the life rings being installed. They stopped doing it 24 years ago because the life rings kept getting stolen. The local sheriff’s office has promised to keep an eye on the life rings with daily inspections.

Restoration at Fenwick

The State of Delaware has sunk some money into the lighthouse keeper’s house of the Fenwick Island Lighthouse in Selbyville, Delaware. The work included building a new porch, wooden steps and landings, window replacements, repairing wood trim and wooden shingle siding, painting the exterior, and repairing and relaying of the brick sidewalk.

Millions for Montauk Erosion

A $24 million federal and state plan has been announced to stop the erosion at Montauk Point Lighthouse in Montauk, New York. When the lighthouse was completed in 1796, it sat 300 feet from the coast. Today, because of erosion, it sits less than 100-feet from the ocean.

Montauk Loses Steward

Marge Winski, who has watched over the Montauk Point Lighthouse for an amazing 31 years from her 2nd floor apartment at the lighthouse, recently announced that it was time for her to move on. For all those years, she kept watch at night to protect the lighthouse from harm, whether natural or human, while making sure everything was in working order. She is to be congratulated and thanked for a job well done.

Money for Absecon

The Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City, New Jersey has been given $52,000 from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to make some necessary repairs to the light station and also used to cover a budget deficit that the lighthouse has been operating under for the last two years.

Did You Know?

Here’s a great bit of trivia that you can quiz your friends with. The largest nautical library in all of Canada is in the John Adams Library at the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Lighthouse for Pastor

The congregation of the Hillsdale United Brethren Church in Hillsdale, Michigan will be installing a 12-foot-tall facsimile lighthouse as the centerpiece in a new playground to honor retiring Pastor Lee Smith for his 20 years as the pastor of their church. Officials of the church said that the lighthouse is a symbol of Smith’s twin passion of spreading the gospel light to the community and his love for children’s ministry. We think the gesture is a wonderful idea.

Borden Flats Sold

Nick Korstad has sold the 1881 Borden Flats Lighthouse in Fall River, Massachusetts to Kevin and Carole Ferias. Korstad, who had purchased the lighthouse in 2010 at government auction, restored the lighthouse and opened it for overnight stays. The new owners plan to continue the overnight stay program, but may expand it to include special events.

New Owner for Big Bay

Lighthouse enthusiast and entrepreneur Nick Korstad is now the proud new owner of the Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast that is the former Big Bay Point Lighthouse in Big Bay, Michigan. Congratulations Nick! We wish him the best of success.

Boston Light Closed

Because of storm damage to the docks and walkways, the Boston Lighthouse in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, the oldest light station in the United States, will be closed for public tours for the 2018 season. They hope to be able to reopen for the 2019 season.

Remembering Jim Walker

We are saddened to report that, with the passing of Jim Walker, the lighthouse community lost a dear friend. Jim was a founding charter member of the New England Lighthouse Foundation, which later became the American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF), and for many years he served as the Chairman of the Cape Cod Chapter of ALF. While he was in the Coast Guard, he was in charge of closing up Race Point Lighthouse after it was automated. Many years later, he led the charge to save Race Point Light Station and restore it into the amazing facility that it is today. Over the years, he also helped immensely with other lighthouse restoration projects. Newspaper reporters, TV stations, and film crews often visited with him to interview him, and they were all impressed by his knowledge and friendliness. Jim Walker left a legacy that we can all be proud of – one that will be carried forward for many future generations. We all owe a lot to this dedicated man who was liked and respected by so many. Our sincere condolences go out to his wife Sylvia, his family, and his friends. We considered him a dear friend. We will always remember him and hold his memory close to our hearts.

Changes at Ledge Light

Todd Gipstein has stepped aside as president of the Ledge Light Foundation, and his wife Marcia has stepped aside as the treasurer of the organization to make time for other interests. They are to be thanked and congratulated for the work that they accomplished with the New London Ledge Lighthouse. The couple will still remain on the Board of the organization.

New Chimney at LRL

The keeper’s house at Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, Maine has a new chimney, thanks to the expert work of John Viselli Masonry. The old chimney, which was in danger of falling off, had been previously removed. It took a while to find a qualified mason who was willing to travel out to the island to do the work. The new chimney was paid for in part by a grant from the Machias Savings Bank in Machias, Maine.

The Next Generation

Sixth grade students are shown here this past May visiting the restored 1849 East Point Lighthouse in Maurice River, New Jersey. It is important that children are taught lighthouse history and preservation. They will be the ones who carry the work forward.

Lighthouses on the Mag Mile

More than fifty six-foot-tall lighthouses, painted by various artists, will be on display in the downtown streets of Chicago until August 11 as part a fund-raising event for the Chicago Lighthouse to raise awareness for people with disabilities. Shown here is one of the lighthouses in its raw form before being painted. At the end of the event, the painted lighthouses models will be auctioned off for charity. The program is similar to the Hannaford Lighthouses on Parade that was held in Portland Maine in 2003.

Eagle Bluff Request Denied

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has denied a request to restore the summer kitchen and rebuilding a replica of the barn that once stood at the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. The 1868 lighthouse is located within the boundaries of the Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. The Door County Historical Society believes that extra exhibits will not only educate people on the history of the lighthouse, but it will also relieve the congestion around the keeper’s quarters. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon.

This story appeared in the Jul/Aug 2018 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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