Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

New book chronicles Boston Light's three centuries of history

Boston Light, aptly dubbed the “ideal American lighthouse” by the historian Edward Rowe Snow, holds a place of honor among our nation’s beacons. This was the first light station established on the North American continent, and the last in the United States to be automated. It’s also our only light station that still retains an official keeper. Seasonal public tours provide the public with the opportunity to experience this cultural treasure up close, and few attractions in New England can approach the thrilling panorama of the harbor and city seen from the lighthouse’s lantern.
This new book tells Boston Light's story, including heroic rescues and tragedies, hurricanes and blizzards, moving human drama, advances in technology, and much more. 

Soft cover, 106 pages. With dozens of photos and illustrations.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Online auction for Friends of Flying Santa

Friends of Flying Santa, a nonprofit organization, is carrying on an 87-year-old tradition that brings holiday joy to U.S. Coast Guard families in the Northeast. The yearly helicopter visits and gifts for the children are small tokens of appreciation for the outstanding work of the Coast Guard and their supportive families. The flights were started by Bill Wincapaw in 1929 as a way of thanking lighthouse keepers and their families. You can read all about this heartwarming tradition at
Although Friends of Flying Santa receives vital support from companies and pilots each year, the toys and other expenses are paid for through many small donations. This year there are plans to add an additional 150-200 Coast Guard children to our Flying Santa route. To help with these new expenses, a month-long auction is being held on The auction began on April 1 and will continue until noon on May 1.
Some of the items included are:
- Overnight stays at Race Point, Borden Flats (right), and Little River lighthouses.
- Signed copies of lighthouse-related books.
- Antique lighthouse postcards.
- Private tours of lighthouses.
- Cruises to view lighthouses.
- Scenic flights.
- Collectibles, clothing, and more.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Western Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruise on March 26!

Venture out for a rare close-up look at eight historic lighthouses on Long Island Sound, in Connecticut and New York.

Participants aboard the R/V Spirit of the Sound will make close passes by these lighthouses: Greens Ledge, Sheffield Island, Stamford Harbor, Great Captain Island, Execution Rocks, Stepping Stones, Sands Point, and Eatons Neck.

Revolutionary in design, the new catamaran Spirit of the Sound is the only research vessel in North America with hybrid-electric propulsion. She runs virtually silently on electric power. Passengers must be over 42" tall. If under the age of 18, you must be accompanied by an adult.

The Western Long Island Sound Lighthouse Cruise will also be offered on Sat., April 23, and Sat., May 28.

The six-hour cruise departs at 9:00 a.m. Special guest on the March 26 cruise will be Jeremy D'Entremont, who has been called the leading expert on New England's historic lighthouses. He is the author or co-author of more than 12 books, including The Lighthouses of Connecticut and The Lighthouse Handbook: New England.

Jeremy and Aquarium educators will share histories and anecdotes about the lighthouses, and also point out the Sound’s visiting winter waterfowl. Binoculars are provided. Lighthouse Cruises are a special photo opportunity for both lighthouse buffs and bird-watchers, so bring your camera! R/V Spirit of the Sound has a climate-controlled cabin.

Tickets are $75 ($65 for Aquarium members). Advance purchase is required. Capacity is limited to 25. Reserve your tickets by clicking here, or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lighthouses & Keepers: A Symposium – June 4, 2016 in Kittery, Maine

Come join the American Lighthouse Foundation and Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses on June 4, 2016, from 1 to 5 p.m., for a symposium at the Kittery Lions Club, 117 State Road (Route 1), in Kittery, Maine.
Proceeds will benefit the American Lighthouse Foundation and its local chapter, Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses. Refreshments will be available, and a raffle will include books and other lighthouse-related items. Admission is $15 per person, or $25 for two people.
Russ Lane, Sr., at Whitehead Island in August 2015.
1) Russ Lane, Jr., will present his video documentary “Looking for a Hero” that tells the story of the amazing rescue his father performed when he was a Coast Guard lighthouse keeper at Whitehead Island in Maine in 1958. Russ Lane’s actions on that day saved the lives of five young people.
Ida Lewis
2) Marian Gagnon of Goodnight Irene Productions will present her video documentary , “America’s Forgotten Heroine: Ida Lewis, Keeper of the Light.” The Emmy-nominated film brings to life the extraordinary story of Ida Zoradia Lewis, America’s most famous woman lighthouse keeper. Ida took over the duties at Lime Rock Lighthouse in Newport, R.I. at the age of 15 when her father suffered a stroke in the 1850s. She tended the light for more than 50 years and also single-handedly rescued at least 18 people.
Conimicut Light
3) Frederick Mikkelsen will give a presentation on his days (1958-60) as a Coast Guard lighthouse keeper, entitled, “Checked Main Light – Lighthouse Life in the 1950s” Frederick will tell about his most terrifying experience in his years at Conimicut Lighthouse in Rhode Island—a 1960 hurricane—along with other true tales of lighthouse keeping.
alf_logo_sq964) Bob Trapani, Jr., executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation, and Jeremy D’Entremont, founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, will speak about the mission of these organizations to preserve our lighthouses and their history, followed by questions and answers.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Tragedy at Deer Island Light - 100 Years Ago

Early postcard of Deer Island Light
Joseph McCabe arrived as assistant keeper of Deer Island Light in Boston Harbor in June 1908. He made the pages of the Boston Globe in March 1913, when he purchased a piano and had it delivered to the lighthouse to "break the monotony of the lonely life in the isolated tower." Less than three years later, McCabe, who rented a room in East Boston when he wasn't at the lighthouse, became engaged to Gertrude Walter, a resident of that community. The couple planned a wedding on Easter Sunday, but it wasn't to be.
On Saturday, February 19, 1916, McCabe left the lighthouse to meet his fiancée on Deer Island, where they wrote out wedding invitations together. When he was ready to return, McCabe found that ice around the island had trapped his boat.
Wesley Pingree
He decided to borrow a pair of rubber boots and walk across the spit to the lighthouse. He was followed by his friend, Wesley Pingree, a former keeper who was by then an employee of the pumping station on Deer Island, and Pingree's 15-year-old son, Philip. As he jumped forward to make it past a gap in the spit, McCabe lost his footing and disappeared into the turbulent waters of the harbor. Employees from Deer Island rushed to the scene in a dory, but it was too late. The body of Joseph McCabe, who was 28 years old, was never recovered.
The lighthouse was replaced by a fiberglass tower in 1982. In late 2014, it was announced that the fiberglass tower and the foundation of the 1890 lighthouse would be removed, and a new pile-supported platform and light would be erected in their place.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Phil Karwowski, "Keeper" of Hospital Point Light

I'm very sad to report that Phil Karwowski, an active member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary who was the volunteer keeper of Hospital Point Light in Beverly, Massachusetts, has died at 69. I worked with Phil many times over the years and found him to be a true gentleman with a passion for lighthouses. Here is his obituary in the Salem Evening News:

BEVERLY: Philip Henry Karwowski, 69, beloved husband of Deanna (Bourke) Karwowski, died Friday, February 5, 2016 at home surrounded by his loving family. 

Born and raised in Lynn, he was the son of the late Thaddeus and Blanche (Pryce) Karwowski. He graduated from Lynn Classical High School, Class of 1964 and continued his education, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Northeastern University. In 1966 he met Deanna and married in 1970. They lived in Virginia early on in Phil's Navy career. They returned to the New England area in 1974 and have lived in Beverly ever since. They loved to travel along the coastal area visiting other Lighthouses from Maine to Florida. They also loved cruising with friends to the Caribbean. 

An honorably discharged veteran, he served his country during the Vietnam War as a member of the United States Navy. He served 4 years active duty and 26 years in the Naval Reserves. In 1999 Phil retired as a Master Chief. Phil also was active in the US Coast Guard Auxiliary for the past 12 years.Phil was employed at Stone and Webster Engineering in Boston for over 20 years. He also worked for the Federal Government at the DCMA office in Boston until his retirement in 2012.

A longtime resident of the City of Beverly, he was a member and past Commodore of the Bass Haven Yacht Club in Beverly where he also served on the Board of Directors. He also served on the Board of Directors at the Salem Willow's Yacht Club in Salem. Phil and the USCG Auxiliary have decorated Hospital Point Light for the holidays each year. 

Mr. Karwowski had a passion for lighthouses. As a member of the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary, he put this passion into action, by working tirelessly with U.S. Coast Guard, Gold Side, to allow tours be given at the Beverly’s Hospital Point Light house to various
Hospital Point Lighthouse in Beverly
groupsand lighthouse enthusiasts. He enjoyed educating the public about the role of this Lighthouse in Beverly’s Maritime history. He was executive director of the “New England Lights”, a documentary film production service. He directed films about Hospital Point Lighthouse as well as other lighthouses along the Northeast Coastline. He received awards for these productions. You can view these films via BevCam Channel 8. 

In addition to his wife, with whom he shared 46 years of marriage, he is survived by two brothers, Theodore Karr and his wife, Maureen of Ipswich and John Karwowski and his wife, Maureen of Swampscott; two nieces, Mae and Claire Karwowski; three nephews, Matthew Karr and his wife, Annette, Joseph Karr and David Karr.They family would like to send their gratitude to Lahey Burlington and Lahey Peabody. 

A special thank you to Susan Bowers, Jesse Brodbeck, Barbara Petricone and all the ladies in Oncology. A special thank you to Patrick, Beatrice, Allison and the staff at Care Dimensions. 

Funeral services will be held at the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly, Tuesday, February 9, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Visiting hours Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. Burial in the Central Cemetery, Beverly. Contributions may be made in his memory to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701 or the Ronald McDonald House, 229 Kent St., Brookline, MA 02446. Information, directions, condolences

Friday, February 5, 2016

World Cancer Lighthouse Project Launched

A World Cancer Day Launch Project 

Today, The Hope Light Foundation launched the World "Beacons of Hope" project to unite lighthouses throughout the world to work together in the fight against cancer. 

The Hope Light Foundation is a 50(c)(3) nonprofit public charity dedicated to the fight against cancer. 

"We feel that launching the World "Beacons of Hope" project today was very appropriate since it is World Cancer Day that promotes uniting the worlds population to get involved in the fight against cancer by raising awareness", said Rudy Bess, Co-Founder of The Hope Light Foundation.  The Foundation "Beacons of Hope" project launch is listed as an activity on the World Cancer Day's website Map of Impact.  

As "Beacons of Hope", participating lighthouses will stand united with other world lighthouses to navigate people to life-saving cancer awareness information, promote early detection and become beacons of hope for cancer patient survivorship and cures for all cancers.  With early cancer detection and treatment, patients have a better chance for survival and a better chance for a cure.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this year, 8.2 million people will die from cancer throughout the world with 14 million new cases being diagnosed.  Within the next two decades, worldwide new cancer cases will increase to 22 million and if left unchecked, cancer deaths will rise to more than 13 million.  This year, in the United States alone, over 573,000 people will die from cancer with over 1.5 million new cases being diagnosed.  

Metropolis Lighthouse in Illinois
"For over 2000 years, lighthouses have been used to navigate ships through dark stormy seas with hope for survival by finding a safe harbor", Bess said.  "This is similar to a cancer patients dark journey into the unknown with hope for surviving this deadly disease.  This is why we are calling upon lighthouses throughout the world to help fight cancer". 

The Hope Light Foundation built the Metropolis Lighthouse aka "Hope Light" in Metropolis, Illinois on the bank of the Ohio River as a means to increase cancer awareness and as a symbol of hope for surviving cancer.  This is the worlds first lighthouse that was designed, built and dedicated to the fight against cancer. Lighthouses throughout the world will have the opportunity to join the Metropolis Lighthouse in fighting cancer by helping raise cancer awareness and save lives.

Bess and his wife Beverly are co-founders of The Hope Light Foundation.  They have visited over 450 lighthouses in the United States and Canada and have gained appreciation for their history and lore. 

"Many people look upon lighthouses as sources of strength and inspiration which has made them popular travel destinations", Bess said.  "I feel the Beacons of Hope project will increase the general public's interest in visiting participating lighthouses while increasing their interest in learning how to detect cancer early and save lives.  As implied by the World Cancer Day's theme, We Can work together to increase cancer awareness and decrease preventable deaths throughout the world."        

To find out how to become a "Beacon of Hope" lighthouse and the features and benefits of participating in the project, lighthouse representatives are asked to visit The Hope Light Foundation's website at

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Portland Head Light - 225 Years Old Today

Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, went into service on January 10, 1791 -- 225 years ago today. President George Washington approved the appointment of Capt. Joseph Greenleaf, a veteran of the American Revolution, as the first keeper. 

At first, Greenleaf received no salary as keeper; his payment was the right to fish and farm and to live in the keeper’s house.As early as November 1791, Greenleaf wrote that he couldn’t afford to remain keeper without financial compensation. In a June 1792 letter, he complained of many hardships. During the previous winter, he wrote, the ice on the lantern glass was often so thick that he had to melt it off. In 1793, Greenleaf was granted an annual salary of $160. 
Greenleaf died of an apparent stroke while in his boat on the Fore River in October 1795. According to the Eastern Argus newspaper, he had “faithfully discharged his duty to the satisfaction of those who occupy their business on great waters.”