Digest>Archives> November 2006

Wickie's Wisdom

Saving Lighthouse History – Can We Continue Doing It?


I think I receive just about every preservation publication in print. I read all of them cover to cover because I believe it is important to be totally informed of what others are trying to do in saving historic properties.

But most of these publications mention very little about saving the history and memories that go along with the properties. It seems they leave that to the local community historical societies, most of which are run by volunteers who are extremely strapped for cash.

This is where Lighthouse Digest is trying desperately to make a difference. As I look back at all the lighthouse history, the lighthouse stories and memories of lighthouse life we have uncovered over the years, I am proud of what we have done, an accomplishment that would not have been possible without the help of many of our readers.

Our files are packed with old stories, rare and vintage photos, memories and of course today’s stories which will soon be tomorrow’s history. We also eventually put these stories and photographs on our web site at www.LighthouseDigest.com to be preserved for everyone to find, read and be saved for future generations or others researching lighthouse history. We also are in the process of publishing books about our lighthouse history to help teach others. The first book published by FogHorn Publishing, which publishes Lighthouse Digest, was about Portland Head Light, and we feel the book is a vital part of saving the history of the lighthouse and its nearby sister beacons. Our second book, LightHouse Keeping, is the first hand accounts of living at a number of Maine’s historic lighthouses by former keeper Ernest DeRaps and his wife. These books would never have been published if it were not for our commitment.

Publishing a lighthouse magazine, publishing lighthouse books, researching lighthouse history and then trying to save it through books and stories is expensive and I can assure you we are not making great sums of money doing it. It is a true labor of love in lighthouse preservation and saving the stories and memories that would otherwise perhaps never be told or saved, in fact many would have surely been lost forever.

We’ve had many discussions over the years, whether we can afford to keep up the efforts of publishing a magazine that barely makes us a living. Each time we have a discussion on this, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot afford to continue publishing. On the other hand we feel that our mission in saving lighthouse history outweighs the financial aspect. We hope that the magazine will be read by enough people for us to have made a major significance to saving this history for future generations.

Importantly, as all of us know, the bottom line is always a deciding factor. In order for us to continue in saving lighthouse history, we need more subscribers. That’s where you can help. We have a great fund raising opportunity available to all lighthouse groups whereby we offer $5 to lighthouse preservation groups for each subscription they sell. The lighthouse group has to simply give out special forms with their own lighthouse’s name stamped on them, and we will in turn pay them $5 for each paid subscription we receive. We appeal to all of our subscribers and all of the lighthouse groups around the nation to help us promote the magazine to new people and of course we hope that you will renew your subscription and purchase gift subscriptions for friends, coworkers, relatives, schools and libraries. Only you, our loyal readers can help us make a difference in helping us save lighthouse history.

This story appeared in the November 2006 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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