Thursday, June 30, 2011

Long Island Head Light transferred to National Park Service

Just received this press release: 

National Park Service Receives Long Island Head Light from U.S. Coast Guard in Transfer

In a ceremony on Saturday, June 25, 2011, the US Coast Guard handed over the management of Long Island Head Light to the National Park Service. Lighthouses have become vestiges of maritime culture. GPS devices and other navigational equipment have become stand-ins for the towering beacons and the position of lighthouses has ultimately transitioned to being historical landmarks. This transferring of lighthouses from the Coast Guard to others is part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. This act allows for lighthouse ownership transfer to other Federal Agencies or local government agencies as well as non-profit corporations or educational institutions, all of which must be committed to cultural or historic preservation.

Long Island Head Light became one of the first cast-iron lighthouses in the US in 1844 and has been in and out of service since the early 19th century. It is currently operational after a renovation in 1985. The National Park Service was glad to receive the historic, centuries-old lighthouse. It seemed only natural that the light’s ownership should be passed to the Park Service since Long Island is already one of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area’s thirty-four islands. The National Park Service was offered the lighthouse back in 2010 and preparations for the transfer culminated in the ceremony when Rear Admiral Daniel A. Neptun, First Coast Guard District Commander for the US Coast Guard, handed the Long Island Head Light key to Bruce Jacobson, the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area’s park superintendent.

The Park Service is excited to receive the lighthouse in hopes to get the public out to the light on an occasional basis. Long Island is city-owned and a restricted area. Now, with the park’s new addition, Long Island Head Light will be open to the public for special trips and programs organized by the park. The Park Service is currently making moves to assess the lighthouse’s overall safety before organizing excursions for the public. Jacobson feels that ownership of the lighthouse fits perfectly under the Park Service’s goals and mission as he explained at the ceremony, “Our [The National Park Service’s] primary function is preservation, making sure that natural and cultural resources are protected so that the next generation and the next generation can also come and enjoy these resources.”

The US General Services Administration’s Regional Administrator of New England, Bob Zarnetske, also attended the ceremony, saying, “This is a way for America to preserve its maritime history and when it ends up in the National Park Service we can be guaranteed it’s going to be not only a preservation of the history, but an asset the public can come see, enjoy, and learn about.” The ceremony itself took place on city soil thanks to the help of Antonia Pollak, Commissioner of Boston Parks and Recreation, who also attended. The land transfer was a mere 0.06 acres of land between the two government agencies and is the only piece of land currently owned by the National Park Service within the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.

The US Coast Guard has been maintaining Long Island Head Light with the assistance of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Auxiliary currently assists with maintenance on Boston Light located on Little Brewster Island, another island part of the Boston Harbor Islands. The Long Island Head Light’s grounds are being maintained with great efforts by the Auxiliary Flotilla 53-Constitution and hopefully Flotilla volunteers will continue their work after this transfer. The beacon itself will still continue to be run by the US Coast Guard.

          This event is exciting for the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area providing the public with a look at Boston’s unseen history which the lighthouse will now shed light on. As Admiral Neptun noted at the ceremony, “I think it builds confidence when people get a chance to see that light out at sea—It lets them know exactly where they are.” Long Island Head Light will continue to be celebrated and revered by those who will be able to look upon it and will remain a guiding light for mariners who sail in and out of Boston Harbor.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New England Lighthouse Tours

The fourth season of my "New England Lighthouse Tours" is underway, and I've added lots more tour dates. Hope to see you on one of my tours this year!

"Perfect New England Day trip!" - Brad & Denise Gardner.

"There is not a more rewarding lighthouse tour than this. The personal touches that Jeremy offers, along with his thorough knowledge of lighthouses, makes this a real fun way to experience the lights!" - Bob Trapani, Jr., executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation.

"We found New England Lighthouse Tours on the internet, and we couldn't have gotten luckier!  Jeremy is very knowledgeable and informative.  We are looking forward to taking another tour with him." - Kevin and Susan Himrod.

"Sentinels on the Sound" in New London, CT, July 1-3, 2011

July 1-3, 2011 - The New London Maritime Society presents:

"Sentinels on the Sound: New London's Lighthouse Heritage"
A weekend of Lighthouse Tours, Special Exhibitions & Events

New London Harbor Light (Jeremy D'Entremont photo)
New London, CT-- Join the New London Maritime Society, July 1-3, when New London hosts a city-wide weekend of lighthouse exhibitions, tours, and special events.

And for the first time, ever, the public will be allowed to step inside all three lighthouses in New London Harbor: Avery Point, New London Ledge Lighthouse, and New London Harbor Lighthouse.

Experience lighthouses by boat, by bike, in discussions, in art, through history, through science, and from the inside looking out. Special events include a Shoreline Lighthouse Bicycle Tour, Sentinels on the Sound discussions, a Lighthouse Cake Competition, Sea Shantyman John Roberts in concert, art exhibitions, and more.

From the lantern of New London Harbor Light, one can see an amazing number of lighthouses -- perhaps more than from any other spot on earth, according to the United States Coast Guard. Last fall, the New London Maritime Society assumed stewardship of New London Harbor Light, the oldest lighthouse on Long Island Sound and the 4th oldest lighthouse in North America.

To mark the first summer of their stewardship and celebrate New London's rich lighthouse heritage, the New London Maritime Society presents a weekend of lighthouse activities,  Sentinels on the Sound: New London's Lighthouse Heritage, to take place Friday through Sunday, July 1-3, 2011. Working with a number of New London- area lighthouse and other organizations , the weekend will include lighthouse
tours, special exhibitions, and a Saturday symposium to be held at the Custom House Maritime Museum featuring New England lighthouse expert Jeremy D'Entremont.

New London Ledge Light (Jeremy D'Entremont photo)
The New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation is a major partner in the weekend's festivities. On Friday evening  July 1, at 6:30 p.m., Todd Gipstein, the Foundation's president, will sign copies of his new novel, Legacy of the Light, at the Custom House Maritime Museum. On Saturday  and Sunday,  New London Ledge Lighthouse and its new information center can be visited through tours run by Project Oceanology, which will leave from New London's Custom House Pier.

The lighthouse weekend and the new lighthouse exhibition are made possible by a generous grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council.

The printed daily schedule is available at the Custom House Maritime Museum and throughout downtown New London, or download your schedule HERE.

Avery Point Light (Jeremy D'Entremont photo)
In addition to New London Maritime Society and the New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation, other partners include area lighthouses:  Avery Point Foundation (chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation), New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation  (chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation), Noank Historical Society (Morgan Point), Mystic Seaport, Stonington Historical Society (Stonington Light); and  Bike New London, Caruso Music, Expressiones Cultural Center, Fort Trumbull State Park, Friends of Fort Trumbull,  Hygienic Art, Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London Community Boating, the New London County Historical Society, New London Main Street, NLart, Ocean Beach Park, PINC!, Project Oceaneology, Provenance Center, Public Library of New London, Spirit Gallery, Studio 33, The Gallery at Firehouse Square, the U.S. Coast Guard and the USCG Museum.

Sentinels on the Sound launches New London's exciting Waterfront Summer, with 2011 SailFest up next, July 8-10.

Go to the Lighthouse Weekend Web page to see a complete updated listing of events.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pam Nobili of the Nauset Light Preservation Society

Tireless volunteers who dedicate themselves to the cause of lighthouse preservation over the long haul are few and far between. Pam Nobili of Eastham, Massachusetts, who recently died at 77, was one of those rare people. I just received the following message from Bud Griffin of the Nauset Light Preservation Society:

With deep regret the Nauset Light Preservation Society announces the death of Pam Nobili of Eastham, MA on May 31, 2011.  

Nearly 20 years ago, Pam Nobili and her husband Conrad were deeply involved in the effort to save Nauset Lighthouse which was endangered by severe erosion of the nearby coastal bank. Through their actions, along with other concerned citizens of Eastham and Cape Cod, the Nauset Light Preservation Society was formed, and sufficient funds were collected to pay to move the Lighthouse, Keeper's House and Oil House to a safer location from 1996 to 1998. The Nauset Light Preservation Society has operated and maintained the lighthouse since the move, and Pam continued to play a significant role: for many years Pam operated NLPS’ extremely successful gift shop which provided a large share of the funds collected for the move and for future operations and maintenance; she served as the Society's President for several years and most recently she was the Society's Treasurer. Pam came to be known as "Mrs. Lighthouse" for all her efforts and for her constant presence at the light.

We shall all miss Pam Nobili’s charm and good humor and her devotion to the cause of the Nauset Light Preservation Society.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Race Point Lighthouse, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

I took this photo during a visit in late March. Race Point is a beautiful, remote spot, and you can spend the night here -- see