Digest>Archives> Jul/Aug 2019

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comment from the Tower

By Timothy E. Harrison


Winning Label

Congratulations to Bill Newblom who won the contest for the best picture of Washington’s New Dungeness Lighthouse for the Wind Rose Cellars 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, “The Keeper.” The wine label features his photograph and signature. David and Jennifer Volmut, owners of Wind Rose Cellars in Sequim, WA, donate a portion of the proceeds of “The Keeper” to the New Dungeness Light Station Association. Bill has photographed hundreds of lighthouses, and in past years had led tours jointly with his wife Judy for the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

St. Augustine Celebrates Birthday

Florida’s St. Augustine Lighthouse turns 145 years old this October 15, 2019. Its 1st order Fresnel lens in the 165-foot tall lighthouse was lighted for the first time on October 15, 1874. To learn more, or to plan your visit, go to www.StAugustineLighthouse.org.

Seguin Island Light Loses Power

The 2019 season for caretakers and visitors to Maine’s Seguin Island Lighthouse was put into a lurch this past spring when the Coast Guard shut off power to the island because the Coast Guard said that the power cable running to the island has become unsafe. According to local newspaper reports, a section of the cable running through the dunes at Pomham Beach has been exposed for about a year. (If that was the case, we have to wonder why nothing was done to protect the cable.) The Coast Guard will not replace the power cable because it is cost-prohibitive and they will install solar panels to operate the light only. That left the Friends of Seguin Island without power to operate the keeper’s house and gift shop at the lighthouse. A large generator solved the immediate problem. The long-term solution will most likely have to be solar energy, a wind turbine, or a combination of both, but money will have to raised. Also, the placement location of solar panels and/or a wind turbine will be a decision that will have to be approved by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.


A rare United States Lighthouse Service Soup Tureen recently sold on ebay for a whopping $1,530. This proves once again that vintage items from the days of the old U.S. Lighthouse Service are still around.

Wanted: Lighthouse Patches

Our original lighthouse patch collection was given to the Maine Lighthouse Museum. So, with your help, we are starting a new lighthouse patch collection to eventually be donated to another museum. If you have a lighthouse patch that you would like to donate, please send it to Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630. Shown is the patch of the former Lubec, Maine Police Department, which was disbanded about 23 years ago and features West Quoddy Head Lighthouse.

Vandals Caught

Thanks to security cameras, two people who were drawing obscene images on the pier pillars near the Michigan City Lighthouse East Pierhead in Michigan City, Indiana were caught. A 47-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy were arrested.

Send Us Your License Plate Photos

We’d love to publish more photos of license plates. You can email us a high resolution image to Editor@LighthouseDigest.com or mail a photo to Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.

New Light

Local officials are shown here with the new Patchogue River Jetty Lighthouse in the Village of Patchogue, New York. The new lighthouse and jetty were constructed using state and local funds.

Keeper License Plate

KEEPR, reads the automobile license plate of Nancy Cope. As well as being subscribers to Lighthouse Digest, Nancy and her husband Joe were tour guides for 13 years at the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, including being there to help for the 250th Anniversary of the lighthouse in 2014.

Nebraska Lighthouse Plate

Although many people don’t realize it, there are lighthouses in the state of Nebraska. And even though Nebraska is not considered a “lighthouse state,” Lighthouse Digest does have a number of loyal subscribers there. This neat license plate reading LT HOUSE belongs to long-time Lighthouse Digest subscriber Dennis Douty.

Hatteras Beacon Stalls

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stopped rotating this past May, and the beacon was stuck shining its beam in one direction only. This is not the first time that there have been problems with the light. In February and again in April of 2016, the light got stuck in a stationary position. Also, in 2018 the light was disabled for nearly a month, and it needed to have replacement parts built from scratch. Although the lighthouse is owned by the National Park Service, the light is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.


We were recently saddened to hear of the passing on March 15th of Patricia “Patti” Ann Nelson who was the widow of the late Rusty Nelson (Lester W. Nelson, Jr.) who died back in 2010. Patti Nelson and her late husband were long-time supporters of the lighthouse community who loved Lighthouse Digest. Over the years, we saw them at many lighthouse events. Rusty would say that Patti was the driving force behind him. And, Rusty Nelson was the driving force behind transferring ownership of Maine’s Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse to the Spring Point Ledge Light Trust in 1997. Also, Rusty Nelson, along with Senior Chief Tommy Dutton, were instrumental in the relighting, on August 14, 2002, of the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse in South Portland, Maine. Our condolences go out to Patti Nelson’s family and friends.

Sand Hills Closed

The Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn in Eagle River, Michigan has been sold and is closed for renovations. The new owners of the 1919 lighthouse expect to again start taking reservations in 2020.

Moose Peak Sold

Maine’s Moose Peak Lighthouse on Mistake Island near Jonesport, Maine has new owners. The lighthouse was first sold in 2012 at a federal government GSA auction to Donald J. Vaccaro for $93,500. In 2018, Mr. Vacarro donated it to the Arnold Memorial Medical Building Society, which then listed the lighthouse for sale with an asking price of $249,000. We don’t know what the final sale price was, however the lighthouse now has a new owner, who has indicated that they would like to see the structure restored.

New Citizen

Fifty-Two people from 29 countries were sworn in as United States citizens this past May 21st at the Gateway National Recreation Area by New Jersey’s Sandy Hook Lighthouse. Shown here, after the naturalization ceremony, is Janette Bryan, formerly a Jamaican citizen and now a United States citizen, with Jen Nersesian, the Superintendent of the Gateway National Recreation Area, and Pete McCarthy, the Unit Manager of the Sandy Hook Unit. Built in 1764, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse is the oldest standing lighthouse in the United States. (Photo by Thomas P. Costello).

This story appeared in the Jul/Aug 2019 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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