Digest>Archives> April 2002

Keepers Korner

Tid-bits from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Thacher Island reopened

After being closed since 1995 due to severe storm damage, Thacher Island off the coast of Rockport, Massachusetts once again was open to visitors from June through October of 2001. There four sets of “keepers” (caretakers), who took turns staffing the island and the famous twin lighthouses. Over 1,500 visitors were recorded in the register, including various educational groups from the area. There were visitors from 22 states and eight overseas countries. The town launch transported members of the Thacher Island Association to the island once a week, and plans are now underway to increase the volume of visitors in the near future. The island is on the National Register of Historic Places and it is now a National Historic Landmark, which allows more opportunities for grants. For more information you can call Paul St. Germain, President of the Thacher Island Association, at 978-546-7214, or Dottie Carroll, Island Liaison, at 978-546-7697.

New Book

Bruce Roberts and Ray Jones have released their third edition of Southern Lighthouses. This third edition is updated with some new photography, updated travel information and includes dramatic photos of the move of Cape Hatteras. The book is available from Lighthouse Depot as Item #91233 for $19.95 by calling 1-800-758-1444 or on line at www.LighthouseDepot.com

Keepers Names needed

The Lighthouse Explorer Database of searchable lighthouse information on the Lighthouse Digest website (www.lhdigest.com) now contains about 2,500 lighthouses. When possible, we’ve included lists of keepers for the lighthouses. Anyone who’s done research on this subject knows how painstaking and time consuming it is to compile this information. We welcome submissions of keeper lists (names and dates of service) from anywhere in the world. The more of this information we can add to the database, the more valuable it will be for research. Please send you submissions to Lhdigest@Lhdigest.com

Coastal Beacons to help protect our shores

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced a new plan called Coastal Beacons to enlist the help of those that make their living off the water to watch for strange activities to thwart possible terrorism. This is a similar to a program that was used during World War II. After all, if something strange is going on out the water or near our shores it would be the fishermen who would most likely be the first to notice it. During World War II, many of the first lightening of enemy vessels such as submarines in our waters was from the sightings of fishermen and lighthouse keepers. Now that there are no longer any keepers, the job is up to the fishermen.

First phase at St. Marks is done

Contractors recently completed $150,000 worth of improvements to Florida’s St. Marks Lighthouse.

Port Washington getting ready

Linde M. Nenn reports that the restoration of Wisconsin’s Port Washington’s 1860 Light Station, which began in October 2000, continues as funding permits. The group is halfway to their $165,000 goal with much to accomplish before the scheduled Sunday, June 16, 2002 dedication. Volunteers and in-kind donations have kept costs to a minimum. For those not familiar with the Project, it has a unique partner. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, through its Ministry of Culture, Sites and Monuments Division, is fabricating a historically accurate tower and lantern to be placed atop our light station. Lest lighthouse restorers around the country think they can approach the benefactors, this is a one-time gift. It is being done to honor those Luxembourg immigrants that settled in this area of Wisconsin in the late 1840s to early 1850s. It also will serve as a tribute to the American Forces that liberated Luxembourg during WWII. A chance visit to the Light Station Museum, by a Luxembourg official, culminated in the offer of this wonderful gift and put the Port Washington Historical Society in the unenviable position of having to raise a great deal of money in a very short time.

New Lease on life for USLSS station

The Nahant Life Saving Station in Nahant, MA is being saved thanks to the efforts of the New England Seacoast Institute a non-profit educational group from Cambridge, MA. The group will convert the historic station into an Oceanside classroom facility, coastal history museum and library without altering the historical integrity of the building.

Lighthouse in Movie

In the movie, “Majestic” starring Jim Carey, a lighthouse is a major part of the story. He is trying to remember parts of his past life in a small northern California coastal town and his girlfriend takes him out on the balcony of the lighthouse. The original third order Fresnel lens is shown close up. The lighthouse is actually the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, which appears at the end of the village where Jim’s character lives. Thanks to Dave Jones of Tucson, Arizona for posting this to us.

Vandals strike

Vandals have fired seven shots at the Cape Ray Lighthouse in western Newfoundland, Canada. One round went through the light itself, although it remained working. Coast Guard officials noticed the damage during routine servicing of the light and the damage could have been done anytime during the months of December and January since that visit they made to the light was in November of last year. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating.

Head Harbour getting things done

Volunteers have completed several work programs on the boathouse at Canada’s Head Harbour Light. The volunteers of the lighthouse, sometimes referred to as East Quoddy Light, said the foundation of the boathouse was in much worse condition than they originally thought and it might not have survived the winter without the repairs. The lighthouse is now under the care of the Friends of Head Harbour Light.


Our condolences go out to long time Lighthouse Digest subscriber and friend Sandy Adrion of New Jersey on the passing of her father. Being a lighthouse buff himself, he always supported Sandy’s interest in lighthouses and lighthouse preservation. He was buried with a small replica of the Cape May Lighthouse and a lighthouse pin that quoted John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.” Sandy had taken care of her father for the past 10 1/2 years after he had a stroke.

County supports transfer

The St. Johns County Commission voted to support the non-profit St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum in its application for ownership of the Florida’s St. Augustine Lighthouse. The non-profit group is applying for ownership of the lighthouse under the National Lighthouse Preservation Act. We are grateful for the county’s support which is much different than that of the county government in North Carolina which is trying to wrestle the Currituck Lighthouse away from the groups that restored it.

Cape Hatteras Light to remain closed

America’s tallest lighthouse will remain closed for the 2002 summer tourist season. It seems the stairway is in worse shape than originally thought after an inspection found more cracks in support beams. Repairs are expected to cost $750,000. It is hoped that the lighthouse will be open by October when visitors will again be able to climb to the top. In the meantime the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society is making plans for volunteers in period costume to give oral histories to visitors at the lighthouse.

Sabine Bank destroyed

The Sabine Bank Lighthouse, located 15 miles off the Texas coast from Sabine Pass, is no more. The rusted out spark plug style lighthouse has been dismantled. Being too far removed, with no group interested in preserving it, the lighthouse dating from 1906 was deemed unsafe.

Newspaper features lighthouse

The Daily Triplicate newspaper out of Crescent City, CA on its new flag features the area’s most famous landmark, the Battery Point Lighthouse. This proves once again that the popularity of lighthouses is continuing to grow.

Bricks for Cove Point

The Calvert Marine Museum is now selling personalized bricks that will be permanently installed at Maryland’s Cove Point Lighthouse. Bricks are engraved on three lines with up to 15 characters/spaces per line. This is an ideal way to remember a loved one, special date, or just because you love lighthouses. To purchase a brick call Vanessa Gill at 410-326-2042 extension 18.

Hackers take money from lighthouses

Hackers recently got into the web site of the American Lighthouse Foundation, causing a lot of damage to site. Repairs to the site cost $1200.00, thus taking away money that should have gone to lighthouse preservation. Hackers are no different than vandals and all should be in jail. For more information on the American Lighthouse Foundation visit their web site at www.lighthousefoundation.org or donations can be sent to American Lighthouse Foundation, P.O. Box 889, Wells, Maine 04090

Shepler’s announces lighthouse cruises

Shepler’s famous Mackinac Island Ferry in Mackinaw City Michigan has announced their 2002 schedule. Due to overwhelming response they have increased the number of lighthouse cruises this year to 27 and many are nearly already booked. As one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, the Straits of Mackinac is home to dozens of historic lighthouses. If you want to experience life on the Great Lakes, one of their onboard narrated cruises is for you. Members of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association narrate all. Depending on weather conditions, westward and eastbound cruises last for about 3 hours giving passengers close in viewing of these historic structures. They offer box lunches and beverages at a nominal cost, but they must be ordered ahead of time. For more information or a brochure contact Cora Jones, Lighthouse Coordinator, Shepler’s Mackinac Ferry, P.O. Box 250, Mackinaw City, MI 49701 or call them at 231-436-7521 or 800-828-6157 or visit their web site at www.sheplerswww.com.


In October 2001, Jacqueline Hudson died unexpectedly, but peacefully in her sleep. She was an original member of the committee set up 40 years ago by Maine’s Monhegan Associates to consider the possibility of creating a Monhegan Museum adjacent to the Monhegan Lighthouse on Monhegan Island in Maine. She remained involved with the committee for the rest of life. Her will specified that her studio cottage at Deadman’s Cove would go to the Monhegan Historical & Cultural Museum Association to ensure that there will always be curatorial housing available on the island.

Crawford C. Allen Sr., 88 passed away Feb 1, 2002. He was the husband of the late Cora (Hill) Allen. He was born Oct. 27, 1913 in Lubec, Maine, a son of Charles W. and Minnie (Scoville) Allen. His father was a keeper at four different Maine lighthouses and Crawford spent his childhood years at many of them. And more memories of lighthouses are again lost forever.

Gerald F. Flynn an active member of the Falmouth, MA community died at age 79 after a long illness. Born in Bellows Falls, Vermont, he enlisted in the U. S. Coast Guard in 1941 serving as a chief pharmacist’s mate at various Coast Guard Stations. He also served aboard the Lightship 105 out of Norfolk, VA. While in the Coast Guard he also served on board the Presidential Yacht, Sequoia.

Orson L. St. John, 96, of Providence RI has died. Active in his community, he was named “Admiral” by Friends of Sakonet Lighthouse for his help in restoring the structure.

Frank Everett Reilly, 94, of Pemaquid Point and Newcastle Maine has passed away after a brief illness. During the Great Depression he obtained a job as an assistant engineer with the U.S. Lighthouse Service on the Bartlett Reef Lightship in New London, CT. After buoys replaced the lightship in 1933, he worked on the Lighthouse Tender Tulip before becoming an attendant at the Watervielt Light Station in NY. When the Coast Guard absorbed the Lighthouse Service in 1939, he remained as a civilian employee, however he enlisted with the Coast Guard during World War II and returned as a civilian after the war was over.

This story appeared in the April 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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