Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2014

Wickie’s Wisdom

The Most Epic Anniversaries in United States Lighthouse History

By Timothy Harrison


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Will the Lighthouse Community Step to the Plate for the approaching 225th Anniversary of the U.S. Lighthouse Service?

Beyond any doubt, the year 2014 is the most epic year for Anniversary Celebrations in the United States of America’s lighthouse history.

The year 2014 is the 225th Anniversary of the federalization of all lighthouses by the newly formed government of the United States of America by an Act that was passed by the First Congress of the United States on August 7, 1789, essentially creating what eventually became known as the United States Lighthouse Service.

The year 2014 is also the 200th Anniversary of when Stephen Pleasanton, who was later in charge of our nation’s lighthouses as the General Superintendent of Lighthouses for an amazing 32 years, on August 24, 1814 saved the original copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution, and many irreplaceable original government documents and books from the British when they burned Washington D.C. during the War of 1812.

The year 2014 is also the 75th Anniversary of when Congress dissolved the United States Lighthouse Service and turned all of its duties over to the United States Coast Guard. Although the United States Coast Guard was created in 1915 with the merger of the United States Lighthouse Service and the United States Revenue Marine Service, and the Coast Guard uses the Revenue Marine founding date of 1790 as their anniversary year; technically, the year 2014, more specifically August 7, 2014, would also be the 225th Anniversary of the United States Coast Guard.

The year 2014 is also the 250th anniversary of New Jersey’s Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest standing lighthouse tower in America, which was built before we were a country, when we were still part of the British colonies.

2014 is also the 25th anniversary of when Congress passed, and the President signed, a law declaring August 7, 1989 as National Lighthouse Day, but that was for that year only. Last year the U.S. Senate passed a resolution declaring August 7, 2013 as National Lighthouse Day, but since it was only a Senate resolution without the House and the Senate voting together to make it a law and being signed by the president, it was nothing more than a nice gesture for 2013.

If the lighthouse preservation groups and the lighthouse aficionados in this country really want to get a National Lighthouse Day for each and every year hereafter and forever, so it can be officially celebrated and included on calendars, then they and you must band together and write your federal Senators and Representatives in Washington, D.C. You need to ask them to sponsor or cosponsor a bill that would become law declaring National Lighthouse Day for every August 7th for every year hereafter. To help them better understand, you can photo copy this page and send it with your letter.

You can also write to the President of the United States and ask him to bypass Congress and issue an Executive Order to declare by Presidential Decree that August 7, 2014 and every August 7 hereafter and forever be declared as National Lighthouse Day. Again, you can also photo copy this page and include it with the letter that you send to the president.

This is the 225th Anniversary of our nation’s lighthouses.

Let’s make it official.

Timothy Harrison

Editor & Publisher

Lighthouse Digest

P.O. Box 250

East Machias, ME 04630


This story appeared in the May/Jun 2014 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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