Friday, December 31, 2010

The lighthouse keeper's New Year's Eve

The twin lights of Thacher Island
On New Year’s Eve, 1921, William Daggett, an assistant keeper at the Thacher Island Twin Lights off Rockport, Massachuetts, discovered that several geese had flown right into the lantern of the north tower, shattering two thick panes of glass. 

Three geese were found dead inside the lantern, and two more were discovered at the base of the tower the following morning. Needless to say, the families had goose for New Year’s dinner that year.

Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Hurricane of '38 at Dumpling Rock

Dumpling Rock Light (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
Octave Ponsart became keeper at Dumpling Rock Lighthouse, off Dartmouth, Massachusetts, in 1937, after working as an assistant at Great Point Light on Nantucket. Ponsart’s daughter, Seamond Ponsart Roberts, was born in 1940, while her parents lived on Dumpling Rock.  

The worst hurricane in recorded New England history slammed into the south-facing coast on September 21, 1938. Roberts tells the story of the storm’s devastating impact on Dumpling Rock, as told to her by her parents:

On that gray Wednesday, September 21, 1938, my parents, my sister Bette and my cousin were scheduled to leave the Rock for a long-awaited vacation. It was to be their first vacation since the Depression. 

Octave Ponsart
Assistant Keeper Henry Fontenot’s wife, May, helped Mom to pack and supplied gentle chatter as they were about to row ashore. They had the suitcases in the dory, ready to go, when the wind suddenly rose and the water got really rough. The storm came on quickly. “Just like that!” they would later say with a snap of the fingers.

Dad was not about to launch the dory in that kind of weather. He headed Mom, my sister Bette, and cousin Connie back to the house. Dad and Henry tried to secure the dory, but their efforts were fruitless and the boat was swept seaward. They headed for the oil house and the light tower to secure what they could. 

The task of securing anything soon became impossible. Dad and Henry headed for the keeper’s house as waves began to wash the rocks, flooding the first floor. My father hung onto a doorknob on the front door as he hollered to my mother, sister, and cousin to get upstairs and go to the assistant keeper’s rooms on the lee side of the building. The dog, Rexena, was swimming in the living room. 

Henry pointed seaward, and all he and Dad could see was foggy foam and mountainous combers heading directly for their rocky island. From what they could see, the waves were getting progressively larger. Dad said that even the first ones coming in looked like they would engulf the tower. At that point, they were both sure they would not survive.

Henry said, “Octave, I think we’re going to lose the light.” Dad nodded and they headed upstairs to be with the women and children. There was nowhere else to go. My father had been on lightships, and he said he had never seen such a “quick sea” develop. In quick succession many waves hit, breaking completely over the house and lighthouse.

The keepers had been doing carpentry in one of the bedrooms and had nails and boards ready. They nailed boards over the windows and braced the floors with the biggest spikes they had in the toolbox. The window glass was quickly broken and the whole house was wet inside. Outside, boards were being torn from their nails and the screeching noise was terrible.

Pieces of the roof tore off. The house shuddered with each wave, and the side facing the sea caved in and was leaning. Henry and May talked of lashing themselves to a mattress to try to make it to Round Hill. Dad argued they would never last.

May Fontenot was crying. She told my mother, “I think we are all going to die, but at least I know we have been such good friends. I’m so glad you’re here with me.” My mother cried too, because May was such a sweet person. Mom would tell me this story later and she’d always cry, saying, “That May, she was one of the best friends I ever had.” And she’d add, “We really thought we were going to die. In a few minutes, even.”

My mother, sister, and cousin were in shock, huddled on the bed, wrapped in sheets. My cousin had a massive nosebleed, apparently from fear, and Dad tried to help her. Then there was a noise “like a freight train or what an earthquake must sound like,” as Mom described it. Then came a tremendous long-lasting blast of water and a huge pounding shock with a splintering of wood. Those on the bed were hurled to the floor.

Henry and Dad knew something even more drastic had happened. The water on the first floor was now almost up to the ceiling. They opened the bedroom door and peered around the whirling water to see a bit of sky through the side of the living room and a massive obstruction where just before the ceiling and walls had been.

A huge piece of rock had been torn free by the hurricane waves, lifted up and hurled through the side of the first floor living room. Now it sat there, actually anchoring the house and lighthouse to Dumpling Rock.The rock had opened up a channel through the house, easing the flow of water entering and exiting the building now without too much of an obstruction. Henry and Dad turned back to report this, and May cried and cried.
Seamond at Cuttyhunk

Blow after blow came after that and yet the rock in the living room  held firm. Mom said later when she sang the hymn, Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me, it had a new and much more personal meaning.The six remained upstairs through the dreadful night. When morning came and the waters had receded, they ventured downstairs.

Nothing was left. Nothing except Rexena, who had spent the storm in the linen closet, going to the top shelf as the water rose. This was proven by the dog’s footprints that had been left on each shelf.

The waters that swirled around Dumpling Rock were filled with debris, telephone poles, and pieces of homes and trees. There was seaweed on top of the light tower. The keeper’s quarters were in shambles. There were no clothes or furnishings or anything else left except a few canned goods still in a closet. A pile of canned goods was found a few weeks later, wedged between the rocks below the tide line, as well as one silver spoon inherited from a Cornell grandmother. On shore, Dad’s new car, which had been parked at the boat launch at Round Hill, was gone, probably washed into Buzzards Bay.

Roberts “learned to walk,” she says, “on the very rocks that were nearly a death trap for my parents and my sister in the 1938 hurricane.”

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A close call at White Island, NH

White Island Lighthouse is on the southernmost of the Isles of Shoals, a barren but fascinating group of islands several miles off the coast of New Hampshire and southern Maine. In the Coast Guard era at White Island, three men were assigned to the station; generally, there were two on duty at a time. I received the following story from Rev. Harold Roberts a couple of years ago. He was one of the Coast Guard keepers 1956-58. I never posted this online until now.

During the winter of 1956, we were experiencing one of those rare days at the Isles of Shoals when the sun was shining and the sea was placid, but it was still bitter cold. I decided to take the small double ended peapod dinghy we used to get on and off the island and row around to the back of the island get close to the seals that often lay on the rocks sunning themselves on such days. This day there was a larger number of seals lying on the rocks and I hoped I could get close to them with arousing them.

As I rowed around the back side of the island about 200 yards out I suddenly heard a roaring noise to my right. A huge wave, a groundswell about 20 feet high, was coming right at me. I swung the bow of the boat into the wave but not fast enough to prevent the boat from being overturned and me being dumped into the ocean.

The water was bitter cold and I was clothed with heavy foul weather gear including heavy robber boots. The weight of my boots filling with water pulled me down and prevented me from using my legs to kick myself to the surface. Judging from the pressure in my ears I must have sank at least 15 feet before I started slowly rising to the surface. 

The air trapped in my jacket saved me from being pulled down to the bottom. As soon as I broke surface I started to sink again.  My hands were so frozen I could not unclasp the boots that were preventing me from swimming. I knew I was in grave danger of drowning. In desperation and fear called out to God to save me. 

Coast Guard crew at White Island, late 1980s
A moment later, the capsized dingy suddenly appeared right next to me. I was able to hold on to the boat to stay afloat. My next and most immediate problem was the cold. I was freezing to death. I was aware that a man can't stay alive very long exposed to those conditions. The other problem was I was several hundred yards off the island and no one knew I was in trouble. Charlie Martin and I were alone on the island and he was unaware of my predicament.

I must have fallen asleep from the cold and was not aware that the boat with me clinging half conscious to the side had drifted to the island and a gentle swell pushed us into the rocks. I had enough strength to climb up out of the water and make my way to the keeper’s house. Charlie Martin was in the kitchen when I came in the door. I must looked frozen which I was. Charlie got blankets for me to help me recover my body heat.

To this day I believe it was divine intervention that saved my life on that bitter cold winter day on the Isles of Shoals.

Monday, December 27, 2010

More high seas in the wake of Blizzard 2010

The much ballyhooed Blizzard of 2010 wasn't what it was cracked up to be here on the New Hampshire Seacoast -- we got maybe 8-10" of snow instead of the 18-24" that was predicted. (I'm not complaining!) It was worse down on Boston's South Shore, with upwards of 16" of snow and much coastal flooding.

Arthur Richmond, author of the book Cape Cod Lighthouses and Lightships, sent me the spectacular photos below. Thanks to Art for the nifty images!

Minot's Ledge Lighthouse, off Scituate and Cohasset, Massachusetts
Photo by Arthur Richmond, used with permission

Scituate Lighthouse, Massachusetts
Photo by Arthur Richmond, used with permission 

Stormy surf at Whaleback Ledge

Whaleback Lighthouse, in the mouth of the Pistacaqua River a short distance from the shores of Kittery, Maine, is a classic granite wave-swept tower, built in 1872. I drove to Great Island Common in New Castle, New Hampshire, earlier today, hoping to catch some mammoth waves hitting Whaleback near high tide in the wake of the blizzard that just passed to the north. It was a little disappointing -- I've seen much higher waves in past storms. Still, the seas were seriously churned up, as you can see here.

Another successful year for the Flying Santa

Edward Rowe Snow
The Flying Santa to New England's Coast Guard stations and lighthouses has successfully completed the 2010 flights -- the latest in a tradition that dates back to 1929. Maine pilot Bill Wincapaw started the flights as a way to say "thank you" to lighthouse keepers and their families, and the popular historian Edward Rowe Snow became involved in the mid-1930s and kept the tradition going through 1980.

Today, the nonprofit organization Friends of Flying Santa runs the program with visits to more than 30 Coast Guard and civilian locations in the Northeast. The tradition continues primarily as a way to say thanks to the Coast Guard families who do so much all year.

Santa at Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor, NH
Much of the expense of the flights is donated, but it still costs a good amount to keep the tradition going every year. Your donation of any size to Friends of Flying Santa is greatly appreciated by those who run the program and those who benefit from it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Eve at Portland Head Light, 1886: "Even Santa Claus Was Afraid to be Out"

The wreck of the Annie C. Maguire ranks among the most famous Maine shipwrecks for one reason. It occurred right next to one of the most popular lighthouses on the East Coast, Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

The ship we know as the Annie C. Maguire led two lives. The first incarnation was the extreme clipper ship Golden State, built on the East River in New York City in 1852-53. In early 1883, after an unusually long 30-year career in the China trade, the Golden State was converted to bark rigging.

Renamed the Annie C. Maguire, the bark sailed under the British flag in North and South America during the 1883-86 period. The Maguire was headed home to Quebec in December 1886, after leaving Buenos Aires, Argentina. On board with Captain Daniel O’Niel were his wife and 12-year-old son, two mates, and 13 crewmen.

The Maguire entered Casco Bay at about 11:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, with the intention of riding out the bad weather in Portland Harbor.A heavy sea was visible outside Portland Harbor that day, as a winter storm was raging offshore. At Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, a few miles from the harbor’s entrance, Keeper Joshua Freeman Strout was asked by a sheriff’s officer to keep an eye out for the ship, in case the captain decided to duck into Portland Harbor to take shelter from the storm.

Joshua Strout, courtesy of the Museum at Portland Head
Joshua Strout was a former sea captain who had become a lighthouse keeper at Portland Head in 1869 after a fall from a masthead forced him to give up life at sea. Joshua and his wife, Mary (Berry), raised 11 children at the station. Mary Strout served as an assistant keeper until 1877, when her son Joseph Woodbury Strout was named assistant.  Joseph Strout went on to succeed his father as principal keeper in 1904, and he retired in 1928 after living for 59 years at Portland Head.

Joseph Strout was described as “a “bronzed, hardy little man, comfortably inclined to corpulence” in a 1927 article, in which he recalled the night the Annie C. Maguire was wrecked. Some accounts of the event claim the weather was clear, but Joseph Strout firmly stated otherwise: “The wind was howling a gale,” he said. “It was Christmas Eve, you know, and I guess even Santa Claus was afraid to be out."

Strangely, in an interview in 1929, Joseph Strout said it was snowing so hard “you couldn’t see a hand in front of you,” but that the night was calm and there was no wind. He said his father was on watch in the lighthouse and the “world as silent as death.” Windy or not, in both interviews Strout stressed the fact that it was snowing heavily.

At about 11:30 p.m., as Joshua Strout kept watch in the lighthouse tower, Joseph was preparing for bed. Suddenly, Joshua burst through the door of the keeper’s house and exclaimed, “All hands turn out! There’s a ship ashore in the dooryard!” Joseph fumbled as he put his socks and shoes back on, and then bolted down the stairs a half-dozen at a time.

Joseph Strout, courtesy of the Museum at Portland Head
When he emerged from the house, Joseph Strout was amazed to see the ship on the ledges no more than 100 feet from the lighthouse tower, listing to one side. As soon as it had run onto the ledge, the captain had the crew take down the sails and lower the anchors. According to some accounts, Mary Strout shed light on the scene by burning blankets that had been cut into strips and soaked in kerosene.

There are varying versions of how the Strouts rescued the people from the ship. In 1927, Joseph Strout said that the water was calm enough to permit the men “to jump ashore, almost without help, so hard on the ledge was the vessel.”Some have claimed the Strouts rescued everyone with a breeches buoy. Other sources claim the Strouts put a ladder across the ship, and all aboard made it safely across the ladder to solid ground, which seems more likely. It was too short a distance to warrant a line from the shore to the ship, and there would have been a rush to get everyone off as quickly as possible in case the Maguire broke apart.

Mary Strout soon had hot coffee and food ready for the shipwreck victims in an engine room. They were ravenous after their long voyage with little more to eat than salt beef and macaroni. Joseph Strout said in 1929:

The day before we had killed eight chickens so that we could have a big feed on Christmas. Ma made all eight into the best pie you ever tasted. But it didn’t make no impression on that crew of three-quarter starved blotters though. I only got one plateful. But we should worry. A feller doesn’t get wrecked often, and when it happens where he can eat after starving for weeks, you can’t blame him for passing his plate until it’s all gone. Once they got that chicken pie into them, the whole gang wanted to stay. They loafed around three days and ate most of the food we had while Dad did his best to convince them that we were a lighthouse and not a life saving station.

Joshua Strout was put in charge of the ship by the deputy sheriff, and the wreck was soon surveyed. The New York Times reported on December 27 that the Maguire’s bottom was “badly stove.” It was thought that the ship would likely break apart in the next storm, so Joshua Strout ordered that everything removable be brought ashore as quickly as possible. The Maguire broke apart in a storm about a week after the wreck.

Joseph Strout’s son, John A. Strout, was born at the lighthouse in 1891. He followed the family tradition by becoming an assistant keeper under his father, on his twenty-first birthday. On the same day, John A. Strout painted an inscription on the ledge where the Maguire was wrecked. He first had to chip much of the huge rock to make a flat surface on which to paint, and the lettering was applied with a mixture of paint, mortar, and sand.

The exact wording and spelling of the inscription have varied over the years and a wooden cross that once topped the rock is gone, but the tradition of repainting it continues as a reminder of the Christmas Eve when a once proud ship almost hit the lighthouse.

This is a shortened version of a chapter from my book, Great Shipwrecks of the Maine Coast, published in 2010 by Commonwealth Editions.

Destaffing of Canadian lighthouses on hold

Machias Seal Island Light Station, New Brunswick, still has resident keepers.
Every lighthouse in the United States is now automated, as are most lighthouses around the world. Along with automation, most light stations have had their keepers removed. In the U.S., there's only one resident keeper still employed by the government, at Boston Light.

The Canadian government has kept about 50 stations staffed, on both the east and west coasts of the country. Most are in British Columbia and in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Canadian Coast Guard had been working toward the destaffing of these stations, but a senate committee has now recommended that the keepers be kept in place.

"A lightstation-by-lightstation approach to reviewing staffing requires appropriate guidelines and thorough consultations," Senator Dennis Patterson said in a statement. "The views of lightkeepers, user groups, coastal communities and other interested parties, both in the local areas and elsewhere need to be taken into account."

Click here to read more about this story.

You can also read the full senate report (PDF file) by clicking here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Great Day for the Flying Santa

Santa with children of Coast Guard families at Station Portsmouth Harbor

New England's Flying Santa is an 81-year-old tradition that began as a way to honor lighthouse keepers and lifesavers in remote coastal locations, and it continues today as a fun way of saying thank you to Coast Guard personnel and their families.

The first Flying Santa was Maine pilot Bill Wincapaw, who started flying float planes over Maine's light stations on Christmas 1929. Wincapaw dropped packages containing magazines, toiletries, toys, and other items for the keepers and their families as a show of gratitude for their devotion to safe navigation. Massachusetts historian Edward Rowe Snow became involved with the flights in the 1930s and took them over in the 1940s. Snow continued as the Flying Santa through 1980. The following year, the flights were picked up by the Hull Lifesaving Museum, near Boston, with Ed McCabe playing Santa.

The museum kept the tradition going until a separate nonprofit organization, the Friends of Flying Santa, was founded. Brian Tague, a photographer living in Stoneham, Massachusetts, became involved around 1990. He eventually became president of Friends of Flying Santa, and it's his work that has made it possible for the annual flights to continue well into the 21st century. Presents are no longer dropped; today a helicopter lands at Coast Guard stations from Connecticut to northern Maine, and presents are given to the children of Coast Guard families.

This year, the Flying Santa visited 33 Coast Guard stations and lighthouses. The costs of the helicopters and pilots were all donated. At the final stop of today's Maine/New Hampshire flight, Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor in New Castle, New Hampshire, an award was presented to Brian Tague for his 20 years of dedication to this wonderful tradition. Below are some photos from the event.

Waiting for Santa

About to land
L to R: Brian Tague of Friends of Flying Santa, Santa Claus, and Senior Chief John Roberts of Station Portsmouth Harbor
Capt. James McPherson, the Coast Guard's commander in northern New England, presented Brian Tague with an award

"He (Brian Tague) and his staff of volunteers really go to great lengths to add a very special touch for our Coast Guard families in New England during the holiday season," Capt. McPherson said.
Brian Tague called it an honor to be involved with the Flying Santa tradition, and he thanked everyone involved with the flights

Everyone gathered inside the mess at the Coast Guard station and the children waited eagerly for their gifts
Another happy customer
Some of the personnel of Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor posed with Santa

This video clip shows Santa's copter leaving the station and passing Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

For more on the Flying Santa, visit

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cleveland Ledge Light sells for $190,000

The federal government's auction of Cleveland Ledge Lighthouse in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, has ended, with someone using the name "hadley" coming out on top with a high bid of $190,000.

Here's a video that was posted back when the lighthouse first became available through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act:

This lighthouse is unique -- the only Art Moderne-style lighthouse in the Northeast. I'm hoping that the new owner will consider providing some degree of public access, if it can be safely achieved. Even one open house per year would make us lighthouse buffs happy.

Pomham Rocks’ Lighthouse Santa Rides Again

In recent years, when the calendar turns to the month of December, residents along Rhode Island’s northern Narragansett Bay can look forward to Pomham Rocks’ Lighthouse Santa taking to the water with his trusty “elves” to help spread some Christmas joy.

Photo by Jen McCaffery

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Cleveland Lighthouse Covered in Ice - WJW

It's not New England, but I had to share this: 

Cleveland Lighthouse Covered in Ice - WJW

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Visit to Borden Flats Lighthouse

On June 16, 1880, a sum of $25,000 was appropriated for a lighthouse on Borden Flats, a dangerous reef at the mouth of the Taunton River near the busy textile center of Fall River, Massachusetts.

The cast-iron tower, which doubled as living quarters for keepers, was erected on a caisson. The lighthouse was battered in the hurricane of September 21, 1938. The storm left the tower with a pronounced tilt, which it still has. A new, much wider cylindrical base was subsequently added to provide more protection. 

The light was automated in 1963. In June 2010, under the provisions of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, Borden Flats Light was bought at auction by Nick Korstad of Portland, Oregon.

I had the opportunity to visit this lighthouse with Nick and his mother, Cindy, on December 14, 2010.  The temperature was in the low 20s when we were picked up (in the boat seen above) at the Borden Light Marina in Fall River by members of the Coast Guard's Aids to Navigation Team Bristol (Rhode Island).

We climbed up a short ladder from the boat to the wide base around the lighthouse. It was obvious that birds -- seagulls, mostly -- spend lots of time on the base, which was littered with shells and the bleached bones of birds. The concrete base, added after the 1938 hurricane, is battered but intact.

Cindy and Nick Korstad outside on the base of the lighthouse
The entry level  now provides storage space for batteries

The structure is in need of some TLC. The Coast Guard did some work on it in 2002, but some of the exterior and interior surfaces are in need of scraping and painting. 

Overall, it appears to be in solid shape with no problems that appear to need emergency attention.  The interior is, for the most part, dry and clean.

The second level includes a couple of recessed storage areas

Nick is dedicated to the idea of providing some kind of public access to the lighthouse in the future. He enjoys all aspects of lighthouse technology and history, and he's genuinely excited at the prospect of fixing up the lighthouse and making it easier for visitors to enter safely. 

In general, I'm not a big fan of the government's auctioning of lighthouses. In another decade or so, we'll be able to look at the condition of the lighthouses that have been auctioned, and we'll know if the program has been a success. In this case, however, I'm very optimistic. I look forward to monitoring the progress of the restoration of Borden Flats Light.

Cindy and Nick Korstad outside on the lantern room deck

Cleveland Ledge bidding war continues

The intense three-way bidding war for Cleveland Ledge Lighthouse in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, continues. The high bid is currently $190,000.

You can follow the auction here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Keepers of Moose Peak Light

The first lighthouse was built on Mistake Island, about five miles from Jonesport, Maine, in 1826. The light served as a guide to the shipping channel known as Main Channel Way.

The present 57-foot brick tower was built in 1851. The light was automated in 1972 and the Coast Guard keepers were removed. In 1982 a military team blew up the keeper's house as a training exercise. 

The lighthouse is currently available to a suitable new steward under the guidelines of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 
A group of citizens in the area, in cooperation with the Town of Jonesport, have formed a new nonprofit corporation called the Keepers of Moose Peak Light. The group hopes to take ownership of and then care for this important part of the area's heritage. 

The group is recruiting members to help with financial support. All memberships enrolled before January 1, 2011, will be charter memberships. 

You can read more about this new effort on the group's Facebook page.

I wish the Keepers of Moose Peak Light all the best in their endeavor to preserve this important piece of Downeast Maine coastal history.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Photo Exhibit Reception on Friday, 12/17, Rosewood Inn at Rye, New Hampshire

Portland Head Lighthouse by Francis Goodhue
This coming Friday, December 17, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., the Rosewood Inn at Rye will host a reception for the opening of an exhibit featuring my photography and the photography of Francis Goodhue. Like me, Francis is an active member of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses.

Francis is a generalist with particular interests in studio and candid portraits, landscapes, flowers, and pets, while I specialize in lighthouses and other maritime subjects.

Matted and framed photos will be available for sale, as well as unframed matted photos in prices starting at $12. Refreshments will be served. There will also be American Lighthouse Foundation 2011 calendars on sale ($10 each) to benefit Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses.

The Rosewood Inn at Rye is at 150 Lafayette Road (Route 1) in Rye, New Hampshire. Call 603-964-9700 or visit for more information.

I hope I'll see you there!

Boston Light by Jeremy D'Entremont

Marblehead Lighthouse (Massachusetts) with Christmas lights

Some people think that the cast-iron, 105-foot-tall lighthouse on Marblehead Neck on Boston's North Shore is, well, kind of plain. It certainly doesn't look plain in the holiday season, thanks to the efforts of the Rotary Club of Marblehead Harbor. They're responsible for the annual display of multicolored lights, and also for a display of red, white, and blue lights around the Fourth of July every year.

The photo below shows what the 1896 lighthouse looks like the rest of the year. Personally, I like it for its uniqueness -- it's the only lighthouse of its type in the New England states. There are some similar lighthouse towers in Florida and in the mid-Atlantic.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cleveland Ledge Lighthouse auction heating up

There's a major bidding war happening in the GSA's auction of Cleveland Ledge Light in Buzzards Bay. The bidding's now up to $170,000, and the closing date has been moved back to Dec. 13. The high bidder at this moment is someone using the name "hadley." I don't know if there's any connection to the late Len Hadley, who was a great volunteer for the American Lighthouse Foundation. In any case, I wish the high bidder the best in their efforts to preserve this beautiful and unique lighthouse.

You can follow the auction here.

Santa makes a Jolly Appearance at Avery Point Lighthouse

Why Santa was recently seen making a grand entrance topside at Avery Point Lighthouse in Groton, Connecticut, is anyone’s guess. Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.

For the rest of this story, click here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ALF’s Cape Cod Chapter Keeps a Steady Watch at Race Point Light Station

Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.

There are times when lighthouse preservation efforts exhibit such consistency and success that we tend not to readily notice their uncommon dedication and steady achievements as time passes.

As the year 2010 comes to a close, one project within the American Lighthouse Foundation that exemplifies this notion is Race Point Light Station.

Click here for the rest of this story.

Coast Guard Auxiliary Spreads Holiday Cheer at Hospital Point

Seen in front of Hospital Point Lighthouse in Beverly, Massachusetts, in this photo are members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary North Shore Division Lighthouse Team, just after they raised the holiday wreath on the lighthouse tower. (Photo by Barbara McGowan.)

"This is an annual tradition that takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we all look forward to it," says Philip Karwowski of the USCG Auxiliary.

Hospital Point Light Station serves as the home of the commander of the First Coast Guard District, currently Rear Admiral Daniel A. Neptun. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse Looking Bright for the Holidays

For several years, the volunteers of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses - a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation - have been decorating Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in New Castle, New Hampshire, with a display of Christmas lights. This year is no exception, as seen in these photos by Bob Trapani.

L to R: Jeremy D'Entremont, William Marshall, and Ross Tracy of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses. Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.