Digest>Archives> March 2009

Wickie’s Wisdom

Lighthouse History Hall of Fame

By Timothy Harrison


While it’s true that there has always been some interest in lighthouse preservation in this country, the “real” lighthouse preservation movement was still in its infancy in 1992, when we started Lighthouse Digest.

Some small lighthouse groups, dedicated to an individual lighthouse, had been around for years and, in the mid 1980s, national and regional national groups, some with real substance, were founded and by 1994 the interest in lighthouse preservation had jumped into a frenzied growth.

However, just as the lighthouse keepers have passed on, many of the people who started the lighthouse movement have also passed on. What they have left us is a legacy of which anyone with an interest in lighthouses can be proud. Unfortunately, many people now involved in lighthouse preservation, whether on a national basis or local basis, don’t know of these people, or even more shocking, some don’t seem to care. In fact, in many recent conversations I’ve had, many people have never even heard of some of these people. Others don’t know the history of the lighthouse organization(s) that these people either founded, nurtured along; or realize the significance of their individual efforts.

So, here is a short list of names of dedicated lighthouse people who have passed on in recent years. As avid readers of Lighthouse Digest, I would bet that a number of you will do some research of your own for the names you don’t recognize.

Ken Black - “Mr. Lighthouse,” founded a museum

David Butler - cofounder of a lighthouse group.

Len Hadley - lighthouse fund raiser with an award named after him.

Jim Gowdy - noted historian and author.

Donald Graham - former lighthouse keeper and author.

Carolyn Haffenreffer - bought a lighthouse and donated it.

F. Ross Holland - noted lighthouse historian and author.

Donald Nelson - noted lighthouse historian and writer.

Carole Reilly - “The Lighthouse Lady” who founded a Delaware lighthouse group.

Connie Small - “The First Lady of Light,” author and lecturer.

Orson L. St. John - helped restore a lighthouse.

Merle Wiggin - founded a lighthouse group and rebuilt a lost lighthouse.

Lynn Marvin - Co-Founder Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival

Lighthouse Digest is now in the process of creating the “Lighthouse History Hall of Fame,” dedicated to the saving and preserving the legacy of individuals who have helped save lighthouse history or helped save a lighthouse. Periodically, starting with the names mentioned here, we will induct a number of new people into this Hall of Fame, giving a little history about those individuals, which we will report on in future issues of Lighthouse Digest.

But, we will need your help.

We will need our readers, along with the various lighthouse groups and museums to send us the names of people, along with as much information about what that individual person has done for lighthouses, in any capacity, who you feel should be inducted in the Lighthouse History Hall of Fame. These people can be deceased or alive, and we will need a photograph of the nominee.

Let’s all pitch-in to help preserve the legacy of those individuals who have helped to make a difference in the lighthouse community. Information can be emailed or sent via regular mail to us. If sending photos by email, please send high resolution JPEG images. Also include as much information about the individual as possible to Lighthouse Digest, Lighthouse History Hall of Fame, P.O., Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630 or by email to Editor@LighthouseDigest.com.

Thanks, and we hope to hear from you soon!

This story appeared in the March 2009 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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