Digest>Archives> July 2004

Keeper’s Korner

Tid-bits from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison

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New Coast Guard Station

A new Coast Guard Station has been dedicated in Ludington, Michigan. The new 3,900 square foot station is much smaller than the existing 11,000-foot station. The new station is located west of the old station along the channel between Lake Michigan & Pere Marquette Lake. The City of Ludington is seeking ownership of the old Coast Guard Station.

Trademark lawsuit puts light sale on hold

The sale of Harbour Town Lighthouse in Hilton Head, NC has been stalled due to a lawsuit filed over trademark infringements. A company that operates a resort surrounding the marina claims that it wants the buyer to pay trademark fees to use the famous red and white striped lighthouse. Sea Pine Plantation claims that they have owned the trademark for years. The lighthouse was built in 1970 and has a gift shop at the top. The lighthouse does serve as a private aid to navigation.

Cape Lookout area leases up

As leases of former property owners within North Carolina’s Cape Lookout National Seashore expire, discussions are underway how to best save and use the properties, which include an old U.S. Life-Saving Station, lighthouse keeper’s home, and other private buildings. Bruce Roberts of the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society said he envisions a “living history” area where visitors could take a step back in time. As discussions and plans are formulated for the Cape Lookout Village, we hope those making the decisions will take the “living history” route.

Kim appears at Door County

Kim Andrews, president of Harbour Lights, award winning lighthouse collectibles, appeared at the Annual Door County (WI) Lighthouse Walk. Kim, who gave a presentation at the event, is spending most of her time traveling the nation attending lighthouse events and visiting with lighthouse enthusiasts.

Museum expands

The Museum of Lighthouse History in Wells, Maine is expanding and will take additional space in the building where it is now located. In the past the space was donated to the American Lighthouse Foundation for use as a museum; however, the nonprofit group will now have to start paying rent. The museum is looking for donations of lighthouse, Coast Guard and Life-Saving artifacts as well as cash. Donations of $5,000 or more will be recognized on a special plaque in the museum. To make a contribution, send your donation to Museum of Lighthouse History, P.O. Box 889, Wells, ME 04090 or call 207-646-0245

Charitable bill pending

Another bill pending in Congress would allow people to make a donation to an IRS approved nonprofit from their IRA without paying any tax. Wow, another good bill that if passed could be a boon to lighthouse preservation.

$2 Bills needed

Have you ever seen a $2 bill? Did you know $2 bills are still made? Well, not only are $2 bills still made and available at any bank but the American Lighthouse Foundation is collecting $2 bills for the Two-Dollar Pier to be built at Little River Lighthouse in Cutler, Maine. Two dollar bills can be sent to The Two Dollar Pier, c/o American Lighthouse Foundation, P.O. Box 889, Wells, ME 04090.

Big Red’s channel open again

The channel leading from Lake Michigan into Lake Macatawa past the Holland Harbor (Big Red) Lighthouse is open to shipping again. The channel was closed recently after a couple of ships ran aground from sediment that had built up in the channel. The emergency dredging has again brought the channel to a 23-foot draft.

Grant helps pay for festival

Michigan’s Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse Society recently received a $700 grant to help pay for the Heritage Day Festival to be held August 14 & 15. The festival will include Civil War camp reenactments, puppetry, artist face painting, and the tower and keeper’s house will be open to the public. For more info, visit their web site at www.pointeauxbarqueslighthouse.org.

Cormorant’s havoc on Great Lakes threatens lighthouses

It seems that protected cormorant is wreaking havoc on the Great Lakes and literally destroying the large portion of the fishing industry and an economic way of life. It is estimated that there are 4 million of the birds in North America and more than 100,000 in the area west of the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan’s upper peninsula. At a recent public meeting Dick Moehl, of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, showed a photograph of 1000 of the double-crested cormorants nesting on White Shoals Lighthouse. As well as destroying the fishing industry, Moehl said the birds are a threat to historic preservation as well as creating a health issue at the lighthouses. The government now appears ready to institute a population control system to reduce the rate of reproduction from 100 to 10 percent.

Congress acts to protect Michigan’s lighthouses.

Congresswoman Candace Miller said since Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state that she wants to insure that Michigan’s 120 some lighthouses are protected for future generations and as tourist attractions. The Michigan Lighthouse and Heritage Act authorizes $500,000 for the National Park Service to study and make recommendations for the best way to promote and protect Michigan’s lighthouses. We wonder what happened to protecting the lighthouses of some of the other states with large concentrations of lighthouses.

Split Rock hosts open house

Minnesota’s Split Rock Lighthouse offered free admission during its recent open house to highlight its recently completed renovations. The Minnesota Historical Society runs the famous lighthouse.

Bahamas to get lighthouse stamps

According to the Bahamas Lighthouse Preservation Society, the Bahamian government is releasing a series of nine postage stamps honoring nine of the remaining eleven lighthouses built by the Imperial Lighthouse Service. The new series will also include the Hog Island Lighthouse at the Nassau Harbor entrance on Paradise Island built in 1817 by the Colonial Government. For more information or to join contact the Bahamas Lighthouse Preservation Society, Dave Gale, President, Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas or visit their web site at www.bahamaslighthouse.org

Budweiser Lighthouse Mirrors

Anheuser-Busch has released the fourth in a series of Michigan lighthouse mirrors. The new mirror features the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse from a photo taken by popular lighthouse photographer Gary Martin (www.coastalbeacons.com), which can be ordered from the lighthouse by calling 989-428-5177. Anheuser-Busch also donated $1,000 to the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse Society.

Artist Donations

A law pending in Congress would allow artists who donate their artwork to museums, libraries and archives to deduct the full current market value of their artwork. Currently the law only allows artists to deduct the cost of materials that were used to create the artwork. Lets keep our fingers crossed that this bill passes into law. Sponsors of the bill are Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum and Connecticut Democrat Senator Joseph Liberman.

Keeper’s Decoy nets record dollars

A rare elder drake hunting decoy made by Maine lighthouse keeper Augustus Wilson (1864-1950) set a world record auction price for a Maine decoy when it sold for $126,500. Augustus Wilson, known as “Gus,” served Maine’s Marshall Point and Goose Rocks Lighthouses. The hand made decoy is believed to date from 1920.

Seguin lens in need of repairs

The gigantic First Order Fresnel lens at Maine’s Seguin Island Lighthouse recently had a thorough inspection. The report clearly indicates that the lens apparatus is in need of repair. A plan is now underway to preserve this rare artifact.

New caretakers at Seguin

Jeff Lewis and Barb Pederson are the new summer caretakers at Maine’s Seguin Island Light. As well as getting the opportunity to live in the keepers house this summer, they will also greet visitors to the island and give tours of the tower. There are a number of tours that go to Seguin Island. They are offered through Maine Maritime Museum, 207-443-1316, Atlantic Seal Tours, 207-285-7326, and Dash Charters, 207-319-4126.

Mains’l Haul features lighthouses

Mains’l Haul, A Journal of Pacific Maritime History, has a cover story in their winter 2004 edition about a Mexican lighthouse built in 1934 on Benitos Island West, off Baja, California. This makes for great reading particularly since there are few Mexican lighthouses quite as striking in appearance and because the article is based on documents found by the author in the lighthouse itself. As well as many other interesting articles, this issue also has a great story on a visit to the Farallones in 1950 with some dramatic photos of the lighthouse, buoy tender, and the San Francisco Lightship. Copies of the Winter 2004 edition of Mains’l Haul can be obtained for $7.00 from the Maritime Museum of San Diego, 1492 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

This story appeared in the July 2004 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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