National Lighthouse Museum

National Lighthouse Museum The National Lighthouse Museum's mission is to preserve and educate on the maritime heritage of lighthouses and lightships for generations to come.

If you would like to donate to the National Lighthouse Museum please go to our website
www.lighthousemuseum.org and click on DONATE

Operating as usual

Come see New York Times acclaimed Jay Stephenson sing the famous FIGaro Aria plus Broadway favorites accompanied by pian...
09/14/2021

Come see New York Times acclaimed Jay Stephenson sing the famous FIGaro Aria plus Broadway favorites accompanied by pianist Susan LaFever, Sunday September 19th 3:30 to 4pm during this years annual Fig Festival at the National Lighthouse Museum.

LIGHTHOUSE OF THE WEEKKey Largo Lighthouse, Key Largo, FloridaThanks to the interest in and research by the owners of th...
09/08/2021

LIGHTHOUSE OF THE WEEK
Key Largo Lighthouse, Key Largo, Florida

Thanks to the interest in and research by the owners of the lighthouse, David and Mariana McGraw, and work done by others, the history of this interesting lighthouse can now finally be pieced together. Part of the two-acre Key Largo Lighthouse and Marina property in the Florida Keys, this lighthouse has far more significance than your typical faux lighthouse, for it incorporates the only known surviving piece of the famous but long-gone Rebecca Shoal Lighthouse.

The first attempt to mark Rebecca Shoal was in the 1850s, when Lt. George G. Meade examined the shoal in 1853 and then prepared and submitted plans for a day beacon later that year. The Lighthouse Board sanctioned the work on January 10, 1854, and the necessary materials were shipped to Key West in May of that year. Due to a failure to procure mangrove piles for the platform and the lack of sufficient funds to complete the project, er****on of the beacon had to be postponed until 1855.

Work at the site commenced during the last week of April in 1855, and three weeks later, the platform, built on trestles, was nearly completed, when a violent gale forced the work party to seek refuge at Dry Tortugas. When they returned three days later, there was no trace of the platform. After new materials were obtained, work on a second platform began, but it was lost when the trestle foundation settled unevenly in the sand. The seabed, which was thought to have been mainly coral, turned out to be quite sandy, and it was determined that piles would have to be driven. A pile driver was set up on the deck of a vessel, but after waiting three weeks in the vicinity of the shoal for calm seas, the eight-month term of service to which the work party was committed expired, and they could not be persuaded to remain on site.

Another work party was assembled and taken out to the shoal in early August, but after six weeks of rough weather, they were unable to initiate the work, and the project was abandoned for the season. George Meade summarized the status of the work for the Lighthouse Board.

In reporting this failure, which no one can regret more than myself, I feel it proper to observe, 1st, that this result was not unlooked for; indeed, in my special report, submitting a design, it was distinctly alluded to as extremely probable. I believed then, and am satisfied now, that no light-house structure of any kind has been erected, either in this country or in Europe, at a position more exposed and offering greater obstacles than the Rebecca shoal. 2d. Notwithstanding the want of success attending the attempt here reported, I feel confident that everything was done that existing circumstances permitted, and the failure is to be attributed entirely to the unfavorable character of the season.

Though Meade requested additional funds to continue the efforts to erect a lighthouse on Rebecca Shoal, a simple iron screw-pile day beacon was placed on the shoal in 1858 instead. A screwpile lighthouse to mark the Northwest Passage, which Meade also submitted plans for in 1853, was successfully completed in 1855, but it was located just seven miles northwest of Key West, not forty-eight miles west of Key West like Rebecca Shoal.

Read more about this lighthouse here:
https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=988

Photo courtesy of lighthousefriends.com

LIGHTHOUSE OF THE WEEK
Key Largo Lighthouse, Key Largo, Florida

Thanks to the interest in and research by the owners of the lighthouse, David and Mariana McGraw, and work done by others, the history of this interesting lighthouse can now finally be pieced together. Part of the two-acre Key Largo Lighthouse and Marina property in the Florida Keys, this lighthouse has far more significance than your typical faux lighthouse, for it incorporates the only known surviving piece of the famous but long-gone Rebecca Shoal Lighthouse.

The first attempt to mark Rebecca Shoal was in the 1850s, when Lt. George G. Meade examined the shoal in 1853 and then prepared and submitted plans for a day beacon later that year. The Lighthouse Board sanctioned the work on January 10, 1854, and the necessary materials were shipped to Key West in May of that year. Due to a failure to procure mangrove piles for the platform and the lack of sufficient funds to complete the project, er****on of the beacon had to be postponed until 1855.

Work at the site commenced during the last week of April in 1855, and three weeks later, the platform, built on trestles, was nearly completed, when a violent gale forced the work party to seek refuge at Dry Tortugas. When they returned three days later, there was no trace of the platform. After new materials were obtained, work on a second platform began, but it was lost when the trestle foundation settled unevenly in the sand. The seabed, which was thought to have been mainly coral, turned out to be quite sandy, and it was determined that piles would have to be driven. A pile driver was set up on the deck of a vessel, but after waiting three weeks in the vicinity of the shoal for calm seas, the eight-month term of service to which the work party was committed expired, and they could not be persuaded to remain on site.

Another work party was assembled and taken out to the shoal in early August, but after six weeks of rough weather, they were unable to initiate the work, and the project was abandoned for the season. George Meade summarized the status of the work for the Lighthouse Board.

In reporting this failure, which no one can regret more than myself, I feel it proper to observe, 1st, that this result was not unlooked for; indeed, in my special report, submitting a design, it was distinctly alluded to as extremely probable. I believed then, and am satisfied now, that no light-house structure of any kind has been erected, either in this country or in Europe, at a position more exposed and offering greater obstacles than the Rebecca shoal. 2d. Notwithstanding the want of success attending the attempt here reported, I feel confident that everything was done that existing circumstances permitted, and the failure is to be attributed entirely to the unfavorable character of the season.

Though Meade requested additional funds to continue the efforts to erect a lighthouse on Rebecca Shoal, a simple iron screw-pile day beacon was placed on the shoal in 1858 instead. A screwpile lighthouse to mark the Northwest Passage, which Meade also submitted plans for in 1853, was successfully completed in 1855, but it was located just seven miles northwest of Key West, not forty-eight miles west of Key West like Rebecca Shoal.

Read more about this lighthouse here:
https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=988

Photo courtesy of lighthousefriends.com

The National Lighthouse Musuem will have a booth providing information about the museum at The Richmondtown Fair tomorro...
09/04/2021

The National Lighthouse Musuem will have a booth providing information about the museum at The Richmondtown Fair tomorrow from 12 noon to 6 pm. The fair is located at Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave, Staten Island, N.Y. 10306. Stop by and say hello and learn about our mission, upcoming events and more!

TONIGHT!The National Lighthouse Museum, in collaboration with Roc-A-Natural, will be hosting free Friday night films thr...
09/03/2021

TONIGHT!

The National Lighthouse Museum, in collaboration with Roc-A-Natural, will be hosting free Friday night films throughout August and the beginning of September.

Special performance by Morrisania Band featuring Elissa Carmona. Performance starts at 6:30pm.

There will be music, vendors, food, entertainment
Come with your friends or with a date, and enjoy the waterfront views at night.

For details and info visit:
https://www.eventbrite.com/.../on-the-waterfront-taking...

TONIGHT!

The National Lighthouse Museum, in collaboration with Roc-A-Natural, will be hosting free Friday night films throughout August and the beginning of September.

Special performance by Morrisania Band featuring Elissa Carmona. Performance starts at 6:30pm.

There will be music, vendors, food, entertainment
Come with your friends or with a date, and enjoy the waterfront views at night.

For details and info visit:
https://www.eventbrite.com/.../on-the-waterfront-taking...

Sunday, September 19th  •  2-6pmThe National Lighthouse Museum presentsFig Fest 2021Entertainment • Food • Vendors A Fig...
08/27/2021

Sunday, September 19th • 2-6pm
The National Lighthouse Museum presents
Fig Fest 2021
Entertainment • Food • Vendors

A Fig King will be Crowned!
All invited to enter Fig King Contest with food or fig entries.
Participants must check into Judging Area.
Registration closes at 3pm. Winner announced at 4pm.
Meet Sir Isaac “Fig” Newton!

Sponsors Needed!
To become a Vendor,
contact (718) 390-0040.

Fig Fest: $5.00 Suggested Donation
Plus Free Entry into the
National Lighthouse Museum!

Sunday, September 19th • 2-6pm
The National Lighthouse Museum presents
Fig Fest 2021
Entertainment • Food • Vendors

A Fig King will be Crowned!
All invited to enter Fig King Contest with food or fig entries.
Participants must check into Judging Area.
Registration closes at 3pm. Winner announced at 4pm.
Meet Sir Isaac “Fig” Newton!

Sponsors Needed!
To become a Vendor,
contact (718) 390-0040.

Fig Fest: $5.00 Suggested Donation
Plus Free Entry into the
National Lighthouse Museum!

08/26/2021

JOIN US FRIDAY EVENING:
August 27
6:30pm - 11pm
Featuring a Special Performance by Nizzle Man
The National Lighthouse Museum, in collaboration with Roc-A-Natural, will be hosting another free Friday night film. The Friday Night film series is running throughout August and the beginning of September.
There will be music, vendors, food, entertainment, and special performance by Nizzle Man.
Come with your friends or with a date, and enjoy the waterfront views at night.

Taking It To The Streets Marketplace:
- Art by Ania Pavelle Latta
- Avon by Dorothy Nelson
- 2 Lite Creations (earrings that make you smile)
- Margaret Na Na African Fashion
- Moe's Kitchen (Fish, Chicken & Chips)
- Unique Women Collective (African fashion and more)
- Roc-A-Natural (Body By R.A.N B-Butter and B-Oils)
- VDazzle Designs (Home Accessories)

For details and info visit:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-the-waterfront-taking-it-to-the-streets-free-friday-night-films-tickets-161010028329?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

JOIN US FRIDAY EVENING:August 276:30pm - 11pmFeaturing a Special Performance by Nizzle ManThe National Lighthouse Museum...
08/24/2021

JOIN US FRIDAY EVENING:
August 27
6:30pm - 11pm
Featuring a Special Performance by Nizzle Man
The National Lighthouse Museum, in collaboration with Roc-A-Natural, will be hosting another free Friday night film. The Friday Night film series is running throughout August and the beginning of September.
There will be music, vendors, food, entertainment, and special performance by Nizzle Man.
Come with your friends or with a date, and enjoy the waterfront views at night.

Taking It To The Streets Marketplace:
- Art by Ania Pavelle Latta
- Avon by Dorothy Nelson
- 2 Lite Creations (earrings that make you smile)
- Margaret Na Na African Fashion
- Moe's Kitchen (Fish, Chicken & Chips)
- Unique Women Collective (African fashion and more)
- Roc-A-Natural (Body By R.A.N B-Butter and B-Oils)
- VDazzle Designs (Home Accessories)

For details and info visit:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-the-waterfront-taking-it-to-the-streets-free-friday-night-films-tickets-161010028329?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

JOIN US FRIDAY EVENING:
August 27
6:30pm - 11pm
Featuring a Special Performance by Nizzle Man
The National Lighthouse Museum, in collaboration with Roc-A-Natural, will be hosting another free Friday night film. The Friday Night film series is running throughout August and the beginning of September.
There will be music, vendors, food, entertainment, and special performance by Nizzle Man.
Come with your friends or with a date, and enjoy the waterfront views at night.

Taking It To The Streets Marketplace:
- Art by Ania Pavelle Latta
- Avon by Dorothy Nelson
- 2 Lite Creations (earrings that make you smile)
- Margaret Na Na African Fashion
- Moe's Kitchen (Fish, Chicken & Chips)
- Unique Women Collective (African fashion and more)
- Roc-A-Natural (Body By R.A.N B-Butter and B-Oils)
- VDazzle Designs (Home Accessories)

For details and info visit:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-the-waterfront-taking-it-to-the-streets-free-friday-night-films-tickets-161010028329?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Beginning August 17, staff and customers age 12 and older will be required to show proof they have received at least one...
08/17/2021
COVID-19: Vaccine Key to NYC - NYC Health

Beginning August 17, staff and customers age 12 and older will be required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use by the FDA or WHO for:

This new requirement — called the Key to NYC — includes bars, fitness gyms, movie and stage theatres, museums and other indoor venues.

There are multiple ways to show proof of vaccination:
• A photo or hard copy of their CDC vaccination card
• NYC COVID Safe App
• New York State Excelsior App
• Official vaccine record
• A photo or hard copy of an official vaccination record of a vaccine administered outside the United States for one of the following vaccines: AstraZeneca/SK Bioscience, Serum Institute of India/COVISHIELD and Vaxzevria, Sinopharm, or Sinovac.

Visit nyc.gov/keytonyc to find additional resources for businesses, including printable copies of required signage, a Key to NYC Pass checklist, FAQs, and more.

Starting August 17, people 12 and older will be required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use by the FDA or WHO for:

The National Lighthouse Museum, in collaboration with Roc-A-Natural, will be hosting free Friday night films throughout ...
08/17/2021
Home

The National Lighthouse Museum, in collaboration with Roc-A-Natural, will be hosting free Friday night films throughout August and the beginning of September.

There will be music, vendors, food, entertainment, and a DJ. Come with your friends or with a date, and enjoy the waterfront views at night.

For details and info visit:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-the-waterfront-taking-it-to-the-streets-free-friday-night-films-tickets-161010028329?aff=efbneb

THE NATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE MUSEUMWE ARE CURRENTLY OPEN WITH COVID HOURS OF WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY 11AM TO 4PMBeginning August 17, staff and customers age 12 and older will be required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use by the FDA or W...

LIGHTHOUSE OF THE WEEKPoint Cabrillo Lighthouse, Point Cabrillo, CAOn the night of July 25, 1850, the sailing brig Froli...
08/16/2021

LIGHTHOUSE OF THE WEEK
Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, Point Cabrillo, CA

On the night of July 25, 1850, the sailing brig Frolic misjudged its distance from shore and ran aground just north of Point Cabrillo, which is located between the towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg. The brig had been employed in the lucrative o***m trafficking from Bombay, India to Canton, China, but steamships were quickly displacing sailing vessels in the trade, so the Frolic was loaded with household goods and sailed for San Francisco to capitalize on the gold rush boom.

Edward H. Faucon, captain of the Frolic, abandoned his vessel after she ran aground, landed his lifeboats near the mouth of Big River, and ten days later turned up in San Francisco. The following year, Jerome Ford attempted to salvage the vessel, but found the work impractical. Besides, Pomo Indians had already recovered a good portion of the ship’s cargo as evidenced by the brightly colored silk shawls their women were wearing. Although Ford was disappointed in the salvage venture, he was impressed by the mighty stands of redwoods along the coast and talked Henry Meiggs, his associate, into building a sawmill at the mouth of Big River.

Others followed, and the Mendocino Coast was soon home to hundreds of sawmills. The demand for lumber became even greater after the 1906 earthquake and conflagration in San Francisco, and that same year Congress authorized the expenditure of $50,000 for a lighthouse on Point Cabrillo.

The Lighthouse Board had requested a lighthouse at Point Cabrillo in 1904 based on the following reasoning:

[A] light-house near Point Cabrillo would be of great assistance to navigation between Point Arena light-house and Cape Mendocino light-house, California, a distance of 115 miles, which is without a light or fog-signal for that entire distance. The large vessels which traverse the coast usually keep well out, using Point Arena and Cape Mendocino or Punta Gorda as points of departure, but the smaller craft that transport the commerce of the small landings along the coast to the northward of San Francisco, which has now assumed quite large proportions, must feel their way as best they can close along inshore. During northerly and easterly weather it is to the advantage of all vessels going up the coast to keep well in under the lee of the land. For the benefit particularly of these a light and fog-signal here is desirable.

The establishment of this light and fog-signal station, for the er****on of which many petitions have been received, would enable vessels bound for Mendocino City to lie off the shore and hold on to the light or fog-signal, instead of running the risk of entering that harbor at night or in foggy weather. After a careful examination of various sites that at Point Cabrillo is considered the most advantageous.

A deed for a 30.43-acre parcel on the point was obtained in January 1908 from David and Margaret Gordon, and the lowest bid of $21,985 was accepted later that year for construction of a combination light and fog-signal building, three keeper’s dwellings, a barn, pump house, and a carpenter/blacksmith shop. Work on the station, which was considered one of the most desirable assignments in the district due to its proximity to supplies and a school, was completed on June 10, 1909.

The combination lighthouse and fog-signal building resembles a small church with a forty-seven-foot octagonal tower attached to the eastern end of the small, one-and-a-half-story, fog-signal building. Two eighteen-horsepower engines housed in the building ran an air compressor that powered twin sirens protruding from the western end of the roof. A third-order Fresnel lens, manufactured in England by Chance Brothers, was installed in the lantern room. To produce a white flash every ten seconds, the four-sided lens was revolved three times every two minutes, using a weight suspended in the tower.

Wilhelm Baumgartner was appointed the first head keeper of Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, transferring to the station from the offshore St. George Reef Lighthouse. The light and fog signal were activated at midnight on the evening of June 10, 1909, and Baumgartner sent invitations to the neighbors living near the station to participate in the lighting ceremony. Between thirty to forty guests showed up on that foggy evening and were treated to a midnight supper, prepared by Ethel Bassett, wife of First Assistant Keeper George E. Bassett.

Read more about this lighthouse here:
https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=64

LIGHTHOUSE OF THE WEEK
Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, Point Cabrillo, CA

On the night of July 25, 1850, the sailing brig Frolic misjudged its distance from shore and ran aground just north of Point Cabrillo, which is located between the towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg. The brig had been employed in the lucrative o***m trafficking from Bombay, India to Canton, China, but steamships were quickly displacing sailing vessels in the trade, so the Frolic was loaded with household goods and sailed for San Francisco to capitalize on the gold rush boom.

Edward H. Faucon, captain of the Frolic, abandoned his vessel after she ran aground, landed his lifeboats near the mouth of Big River, and ten days later turned up in San Francisco. The following year, Jerome Ford attempted to salvage the vessel, but found the work impractical. Besides, Pomo Indians had already recovered a good portion of the ship’s cargo as evidenced by the brightly colored silk shawls their women were wearing. Although Ford was disappointed in the salvage venture, he was impressed by the mighty stands of redwoods along the coast and talked Henry Meiggs, his associate, into building a sawmill at the mouth of Big River.

Others followed, and the Mendocino Coast was soon home to hundreds of sawmills. The demand for lumber became even greater after the 1906 earthquake and conflagration in San Francisco, and that same year Congress authorized the expenditure of $50,000 for a lighthouse on Point Cabrillo.

The Lighthouse Board had requested a lighthouse at Point Cabrillo in 1904 based on the following reasoning:

[A] light-house near Point Cabrillo would be of great assistance to navigation between Point Arena light-house and Cape Mendocino light-house, California, a distance of 115 miles, which is without a light or fog-signal for that entire distance. The large vessels which traverse the coast usually keep well out, using Point Arena and Cape Mendocino or Punta Gorda as points of departure, but the smaller craft that transport the commerce of the small landings along the coast to the northward of San Francisco, which has now assumed quite large proportions, must feel their way as best they can close along inshore. During northerly and easterly weather it is to the advantage of all vessels going up the coast to keep well in under the lee of the land. For the benefit particularly of these a light and fog-signal here is desirable.

The establishment of this light and fog-signal station, for the er****on of which many petitions have been received, would enable vessels bound for Mendocino City to lie off the shore and hold on to the light or fog-signal, instead of running the risk of entering that harbor at night or in foggy weather. After a careful examination of various sites that at Point Cabrillo is considered the most advantageous.

A deed for a 30.43-acre parcel on the point was obtained in January 1908 from David and Margaret Gordon, and the lowest bid of $21,985 was accepted later that year for construction of a combination light and fog-signal building, three keeper’s dwellings, a barn, pump house, and a carpenter/blacksmith shop. Work on the station, which was considered one of the most desirable assignments in the district due to its proximity to supplies and a school, was completed on June 10, 1909.

The combination lighthouse and fog-signal building resembles a small church with a forty-seven-foot octagonal tower attached to the eastern end of the small, one-and-a-half-story, fog-signal building. Two eighteen-horsepower engines housed in the building ran an air compressor that powered twin sirens protruding from the western end of the roof. A third-order Fresnel lens, manufactured in England by Chance Brothers, was installed in the lantern room. To produce a white flash every ten seconds, the four-sided lens was revolved three times every two minutes, using a weight suspended in the tower.

Wilhelm Baumgartner was appointed the first head keeper of Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, transferring to the station from the offshore St. George Reef Lighthouse. The light and fog signal were activated at midnight on the evening of June 10, 1909, and Baumgartner sent invitations to the neighbors living near the station to participate in the lighting ceremony. Between thirty to forty guests showed up on that foggy evening and were treated to a midnight supper, prepared by Ethel Bassett, wife of First Assistant Keeper George E. Bassett.

Read more about this lighthouse here:
https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=64

Address

200 The Promenade At Lighthouse Point
Staten Island, NY
10301

General information

The purposes of The National Lighthouse Museum shall be: ■To establish and maintain a history museum open to the public relating to lighthouses and located on Staten Island, County of Richmond, New York. ■To collect, preserve, and interpret objects related to the history and technology of lighthouses located, in the past or present, at sites throughout the United States. ■To research, document and disseminate information on the history and technology of American lighthouses. ■To create and maintain an archive of artifacts and materials related to American lighthouses. ■To foster research of American lighthouse history. ■To serve as a contact point for public inquiry and assistance with respect to American lighthouse history, research, education, collections and programs ■To celebrate American lighthouse heritage through education programs, publications, films, festivals, living history, lighthouse trails, conferences, and other such offerings. ■To support other existing and future lighthouse museums, organizations and sites. ■To establish partnerships with other organizations to attain the above goals.

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Today, August 7th is National Lighthouse Day. Here are some of my lighthouse paintings and "Thatcher Island Lighthouses on a Peaceful Day": https://fineartamerica.com/featured/thatcher-island-lighthouses-on-a-peaceful-day-matt-starr.html
“Mind the Light, Kate” The most famous occupant of New York Harbor is surely Lady Liberty, who first struck her now permanent pose in 1886, just three years after the second Robbins Reef Lighthouse was built. In the lighthouse community, Kate Walker, keeper of Robbins Reef for over thirty years, runs a close second to the torch-bearing statue that stands just over two miles north of the lighthouse. To gain an appreciation for Kate Walker, you have to travel back to northern Germany, where she was born Katherine Gortler in 1848. After finishing school, she married Jacob Kaird. The couple's only child, also named Jacob, was only seven years old when his father died. Seeking a new life, Kate took Jacob to America, where she accepted a position waiting tables at a boarding house in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. It was here where she met John Walker, assistant keeper of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse. Kate knew very little English and gladly accepted Walker's offer of free English lessons. The student-teacher relationship quickly converted into a romantic one, and the two soon married. Kate enjoyed her life at the lighthouse, where there was land for her to grow vegetables and flowers. However, this life was short-lived as John was offered the position as keeper of the recently reconstructed Robbins Reef Lighthouse. "When I first came to Robbins Reef," Kate recalled, "the sight of the water, whichever way I looked, made me lonesome. I refused to unpack my trunks at first, but gradually, a little at a time, I unpacked. After a while they were all unpacked and I stayed on." John received an annual salary of $600, while Kate was paid $350 to serve as his assistant. The couple, along with their son and new daughter Mary, quickly adjusted to their home with a 360-degree harbor view. Tragedy touched the station in 1886, when John contracted pneumonia. As he was being taken ashore to a hospital, his parting words to his wife were "Mind the Light, Kate." John never returned to his family. For the second time in her life, Kate was a widow, but she carried on, motivated by the need to provide for her two children and fulfill her husband's wish. "Every morning when the sun comes up," Kate said, "I stand at the porthole and look towards his grave. Sometimes the hills are brown, sometimes they are green, sometimes they are white with snow. But always they bring a message from him, something I heard him say more often than anything else. Just three words: 'Mind the Light.' " Although Kate had competently served as assistant keeper, the position of head keeper was only offered to her after two men had turned it down. Perhaps the Lighthouse Service doubted that a petite, 4'10" woman, with two dependent children, could handle the job - and a tough job it was. Every day, Kate would row her children to school, record the weather in the logbook, polish the brass, and clean the lens. At night, she would wind up the weights multiple times to keep the fourth-order lens rotating, trim the wicks, refill the oil reservoir, and in times of fog, she would have to start up the steam engine in the basement to power the fog signal. As her son John matured, he started to help with the tasks and was later made an assistant. Besides keeping the lighthouse in fine order, Kate also rowed out to assist distressed vessels and is credited with having saved fifty lives. Most of her rescues were fishermen whose boats were blown onto the reef by sudden storms. Kate observed, "Generally, they joke and laugh about it. I've never made up my mind whether they are courageous or stupid. Maybe they don't know how near they have come to their Maker, or perhaps they know and are not afraid. But I think that in the adventure they haven't realized how near their souls have been to taking flight from the body." After several years, Kate was more at home in the lighthouse than on land, and she was well acquainted with her nearest neighbors, the boats that frequently passed by her kitchen window. Recalling a trip she had made to New York City, Kate stated, "I am in fear from the time I leave the ferryboat. The street cars bewilder me and I am afraid of automobiles. Why, a fortune wouldn't tempt me to get into one of those things!" Upon hearing the noon whistle sound at a factory during one of her trips to the big city, she remarked, "If I hadn't known that the Richard B. Morse had been scrapped many years ago, I would have said that was that ship's whistle." It was later determined that the whistle was indeed from the Morse. After a scrap dealer purchased the ship, the whistle was salvaged and sold to the factory. Kate served at the light until 1919, and then retired to nearby Staten Island where she could still keep an eye on the beacon. Even after her retirement and eventual passing in 1935 at the age of eighty-four, captains and harbor pilots still referred to the lighthouse as "Kate's Light." When the Coast Guard assumed responsibility for Robbins Reef Lighthouse in 1939, a three-man crew lived in the lighthouse to perform the duties that not too many years prior had been carried out by the diminutive Kate Walker. In tribute to the heroic service offered by lighthouse keepers, each vessel in the Coast Guards fleet of fourteen, 175-foot Keeper Class Buoy Tenders is named after a keeper. The KATHERINE WALKER (WLM 552) was launched on September 14th, 1996, and appropriately, its homeport is in Bayonne, New Jersey, within sight of Robbins Reef Lighthouse. Katie Walker adds rescuing people to her light keeping duties At the sound of the gun and bugle on Governors Island, she climbed the stairs again to begin another night of work on the light. Despite her demanding duties as both light keeper and mother, Katie was an expert rower who managed to rescue a total of 50 people in the Robbins Reef light region, which was notorious for tidal whirlpools on the reef’s outer rocky fringe. One of her most grateful patrons was a dog. Kate Walker wearing a long dress ascends the wrought iron railing steps up to the Robbins Reef Lighthouse. Kate Walker is shown here using a brass can to fill up one of the lamps used to light the lens in the tower at Robbins Reef Lighthouse Katie Walker Rescues Scotty One frigid winter day, a three-masted schooner labored against strong winds as it tried to pass the Robbins Reef Light. It lurched, swayed, and went over on its beam ends on the reef landing. Katie let down the lifeboat and rowed out to the schooner. Five men clung to it, and she helped them hoist themselves into the boat. As the last man tumbled in, he cried, “Where’s Scotty?” Hearing a feeble whine, Katie looked down into the water and spotted a shaggy brown dog. She caught the dog between the roars as he drifted by and hauled him into the boat. “He crouched, shivering against my ankles. I’ll never forget the look in his big brown eyes as he raised them to mine”, Katie recalled. Katie and the sailors rowed against the wind for two hours before they could reach the lighthouse. Hugging Scotty inside her cloak, Katie hurried into her big kitchen. She sat him beside the stove and stoked the fire. Scotty fell over like a frozen co**se. Katie rushed to the stove and poured some coffee from the pot she always kept hot during bad weather. She forced it down Scotty’s throat, and he gasped and shivered. “Then his eyes opened and there was that same thankful look he had given me in the boat,” Katie said.
Lighthouse Digest Uncovers Statue of Liberty’s Lost History For the first time in the 132-year history of the Statue of Liberty, recently located photographs and memories of the first lighthouse keepers who staffed Lady Liberty have been published by Lighthouse Digest, the Maine-based lighthouse news and history magazine. Although most people don’t realize it, during the first 16 years of its existence, the Statue of Liberty was managed by the United States Lighthouse Board as an actual aid to navigation. It was also the first permanently electrified lighthouse in the United States operated by the lighthouse keepers using an onsite power plant. Among the never before published images in the January/February 2019 edition of Lighthouse Digest are photographs of Albert E. Littlefield, a native of Kennebunk, Maine, who was the head keeper for the entire 16 years that the Statue of Liberty operated as a lighthouse. There are also images of assistant keeper Charles Miller who, from 1890 to 1892, kept a daily journal that detailed duties, rescues, wildlife problems, and even finding dead bodies washed up on the island during morning rounds. The Lighthouse Digest article, which includes over two dozen rare photos, tells how the government also had trouble attracting reliable assistant keepers for the Statue of Liberty during its first four years of operation; 12 of the first 14 didn’t last a year. There were also some nefarious assistant keepers; one was found to be a member of the “Masked Burglar Gang” and another later served 20 years in prison for murdering his mistress. Tim Harrison, editor of Lighthouse Digest said, “There have been countless books and articles written about the Statue of Liberty, but other than briefly mentioning the Lighthouse Board, none have ever gone into any detail on the lives of the keepers and their families who lived with them at the lighthouse, let alone publish photos of them.” He continued by saying “The fact that no one has ever attempted to research, save, and then publish the history of the lighthouse keepers of the Statue of Liberty, was a national travesty, one that has now been corrected.” Harrison said that Part II of the article on the Statue of Liberty, also with many never before published photos, will be in the March/April edition of Lighthouse Digest. If you are not yet a subscriber, you can subscribe today and have your subscription start with the January/February 2019 edition, Go to www.LighthouseDigest.com/LHD or call them at 207-259-2121.