Digest>Archives> February 2002

Keeper's Korner

Tid-bits from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Abbie Burgess

Over the years much has been written about Abbie Burgess, but most of it has not contained photographs of Abbie’s family life at the lighthouses where she was stationed. We would like to change that. We are looking for as many photographs of Abbie Burgess and the Grant family of Maine lighthouse keepers as we can locate for a story. If you can help us out or know of someone who can, please send us as much information as possible. We would be willing to reimburse anyone for the cost of duplicating old photographs to go with the story. Please send to Tim Harrison, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 1690, Wells, Maine 04090 or email to Timh@LHDigest.com

Nubble Light

For those of you that missed the annual Christmas lighting of Maine’s Nubble Lighthouse, don’t be disappointed. It will happen again this July for the summer tourist to see how Christmas is celebrated at Nubble in December. This year’s July celebration will be special because it will be part of the town’s 350th anniversary celebration.

Barnegat painting stopped

As a result of financial problems caused by the 9/11 attacks, New Jersey’s famous Barnegat Lighthouse will not be painted this year. This is a result of spending freezes announced by the state’s acting governor. The Department of Environmental Protection, which would have been overseeing the painting, said the funds are being put into reserve. The last time the lighthouses was painted was in the 1980’s and a DEP spokesperson that the lighthouse doesn’t really need a repainting now anyway. However, the state already spent $40,000 to design a plan to paint the 172-foot tower. Now take a moment to stop and think about that. The state spent $40,000 to design a plan for a way to paint the tower! Maybe they should have asked the Coast Guard how they used to paint the tower. They could have saved themselves $40,000 of taxpayer money. I am amazed at how the public officials in New Jersey could so easily waste $40,000 to figure out how to paint a lighthouse.

Australian groups merge

The Australian Lighthouse Association (ALA) and the Lighthouses of Australia (LoA) groups will be merging into one organization. The move was made to add strength to the efforts by these concerned people to enable them to have a unified body to work for the preservation, protection and promotion of Australia’s lighthouse heritage. The new group will continue to publish the Prism, which was previously the newsletter for the ALA.

Government Island to get its anchor

Government Island in Cohasset, MA will soon be getting a 11-foot anchor that will top off the display of the Minot’s Lighthouse Lantern room, the original lighthouse bell, and the memorial to the keepers of the first Minot’s Light who were killed when the tower toppled over in a storm. The anchor display is the result of the efforts of Herb Jason and John Small who have been instrumental in making the park what it is today. For years, they have been working diligently at raising funds and building the park into a maritime site to behold. The pair had met some major opposition to the anchor being put on display, with some saying that the anchor was too large while others said it would be dangerous. However, local selectmen agreed with them and the anchor is now part of the heritage of Government Island, which, in 1994, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Portland Head Light gets new director

Jeanne Gross of Cape Elizabeth, Maine is the new director of the Museum at Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. She replaces Cheryl Parker Petros who had held the position since the museum was founded in 1994. Cheryl oversaw the complete restoration of the keeper’s house and the creation of the museum as well as the gift shop at the world famous lighthouse. In 1997, Cheryl was awarded the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Volunteer Management. Portland Head is one of the most visited lighthouses in the United States. Tour buses are frequent visitors to the lighthouse and in the fall season the lighthouses hosts an average of 35-40 buses per day, all handled and greeted by volunteers. Jeanne Gross was selected from a field of 70 applicants who applied for the job. As a paid employee, she will oversee a staff of 55 volunteers. By law all profits from the gift shop and the museum must be reinvested into the lighthouse and the surrounding park.

This story appeared in the February 2002 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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