Digest>Archives> July 2004

Harbour Lights Collectors' Corner

Harbour Lights honors two distinctive sentinels!

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Two mid-2004 introductions portray lighthouses serving mariners in very different environments. Like every sentinel, there are intriguing stories associated with these new Harbour Lights sculptures.

At the entrance to the Patapsco River, which is the primary waterway from the Chesapeake Bay into Baltimore Harbor, stand two pairs of range lights. As you know, range lights are often built in pairs placed at different heights to serve as a marker for seafarers, but in the 1870s, the Lighthouse Board saw fit to add a second pair. The earlier beacons, known as the Craighill Lower Range Lights, are actually north of the Upper Range pair, which were added a dozen years later.

The Harbour Lights piece portrays the Rear Lower Range Light as it stood at its prime. Its unique Victorian architecture was described as a “pagoda-like curved roof with eight dormer windows built within the base.” Unfortunately, a storm in 1888 tore the roof from the distinctive dwelling, and in the 1930s, the structure was dismantled leaving the red and white tower, lantern and square stairway shaft. Its original optic, a fourth order Fresnel range lens, is still in use and sends a fixed white light that can be seen for 16 nautical miles.

More than 600 miles out in the Atlantic lay the majestic islands of Bermuda, a vacation paradise and destination of the famed Newport Bermuda sailing race. Every two years, yachtsmen race from Newport, Rhode Island to picturesque St. David’s Island - heading for the sparkling white limestone tower with its wide red mid-section that stands at the island’s east end.

It’s not surprising that St. David’s Lighthouse is being honored as the 2004 Winner’s Choice. While the sentinel’s modern-day role in navigation is important, the sentinel was actually built in 1879 to eliminate ships being lured by other lights to come too close to shore and wreck, allowing local plunderers to steal the ship’s wares. In continuous service since it was built, the beautiful lighthouse is one of only two on Bermuda and is a popular tourist attraction open for tours from May to September.

It’s worth a visit when your travels take you to these areas, both to share in their splendor and to add to your knowledge and appreciation of lighthouse legacy. Thanks to Harbour Lights, the beauty and history of these two distinctive lighthouses can be enjoyed in your personal collection. Reserve yours today!

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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