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.
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Block Island lighthouse restoration to be illuminated in Preservation Society of Newport County lecture | What's Up Newp
02/23/2020
Block Island lighthouse restoration to be illuminated in Preservation Society of Newport County lecture | What's Up Newp

Block Island lighthouse restoration to be illuminated in Preservation Society of Newport County lecture | What's Up Newp

Block Island lighthouse restoration to be illuminated in Preservation Society of Newport County lecture By Ryan Belmore - February 22, 2020 Share Facebook Twitter Linkedin Pinterest Email Print WhatsApp Sign up for our free newsletter, you’ll never miss another story from What’s Up Newp! The Pre...

Little Sable Lighthouse not in jeopardy of falling into Lake Michigan as waters rise
02/21/2020
Little Sable Lighthouse not in jeopardy of falling into Lake Michigan as waters rise

Little Sable Lighthouse not in jeopardy of falling into Lake Michigan as waters rise

NewsLocal NewsMichigan Actions Facebook Tweet Email Little Sable Lighthouse not in jeopardy of falling into Lake Michigan as waters rise Posted: 4:28 PM, Feb 18, 2020 Updated: 2020-02-18 20:39:56-05 By: Erik Kostrzewa Little Sable Lighthouse in no danger of falling into Lake Michigan MEARS, Mich. .....

Eric Jay Dolin
02/09/2020

Eric Jay Dolin

139 YEARS AGO TODAY, the Sharps Island Lighthouse is clobbered by ice floes. Excerpt from Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse.
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Late on Wednesday, February 9, 1881, Columbus Butler, the head keeper at Sharps Island, and the assistant keeper, Charles L. Tarr, were growing increasingly nervous. Over the years a number of screw-pile lighthouses in the Chesapeake had been destroyed by ice, and now the ice floes were running thick and picking up speed, pushed along by the steady winds from a southeast gale. As the ice groaned and scraped against the lighthouse’s iron legs, Butler became convinced that the entire structure would soon topple. His prediction came true in the morning, when a massive ice floe careened into the lighthouse with such a ferocious punch that in less than five minutes it knocked the wooden keeper’s house off its legs and into the ice-choked waters.

As the surging ice floes surrounded the lighthouse, jamming shut the doors and windows, the keepers hastily clambered into the lantern room. For sixteen and a half hours, without any food or warmth to sustain them, Butler and Tarr hung on desperately as the lighthouse took them on a terrifying ride through the bay. Pitching from side to side and bouncing violently off the ice, the lighthouse often seemed on the edge of shattering to pieces or going under, as it quickly filled with water. Butler feared that they wouldn’t survive, but after drifting about five miles, the lighthouse ended up not far from where it started its harrowing journey, grounding at high tide on the edge of Tilghman Island at about one in the morning on February 11. Once they were confident that the lighthouse would not float away, the two men—famished, numb, and exhausted—slogged their arduous way to the shore, finding refuge at a nearby house. Remarkably, true to their duty as keepers and fortified by food and warmth following their icy ordeal, they then returned at low tide to retrieve the Fresnel lens, the pedestal, and other items, before reporting the loss to their superiors. For staying with their lighthouse and saving its valuable apparatus, Butler and Tarr received commendations from the board.
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Below is the Sharps Island Lighthouse that replaced the one that was toppled by ice. This lighthouse, too, as you can see, was also clobbered by ice!!

You can order BRILLIANT BEACONS from your local bookstore (https://bit.ly/2PVlcpI), Amazon (https://amzn.to/2RkIPZh), Barnes & Noble (https://bit.ly/2q9EOez), or Booksamillion (https://bit.ly/2JeVsSE).

Thanks for reading and sharing!

Interesting!
02/04/2020

Interesting!

139 YEARS AGO TODAY, lighthouse keeper Ida Lewis saves two members of the military band at Fort Adams, in Newport Harbor. Excerpt from Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse.
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Late on the afternoon of February 4, 1881, Frederick O. Tucker and Giuseppe Gianetti, both members of the military band at Fort Adams, were in town when they decided to stroll back to the fort over the frozen harbor. Walking side by side, they reached a point called Brenton’s Cove, about halfway between the lighthouse and the fort, where the ice began to get mushy and thin. It had been common knowledge at the fort that the ice in this part of the harbor was dangerous, but either the men were unaware of this or they didn’t care (one observer later claimed that the bandmates were drunk). A few steps further, and both of them plunged through the ice into the freezing water below.

Mother and daughter had been watching the soldiers’ progress from their kitchen window, and when the two men fell through and began screaming, Zoradia allegedly fainted. While Ida’s sister Harriet, tended to their mother, Ida grabbed a clothesline and raced out onto the ice, followed soon thereafter by Rudolph. Reaching the drowning men first, she stood on firmer ice and tossed them the line. Tucker grabbed it, and Lewis, using all her strength to keep from slipping and being pulled in, dragged him onto the ice. By that time Rudolph had arrived, and together he and his sister pulled Gianetti to safety. Neither of the men was able to stand on his own, so the siblings carried them back to the lighthouse, where they recu- perated for a while before being taken to the fort’s hospital for treatment.

This rescue received widespread press attention, but more than that, it won Lewis a gold medal for lifesaving from the U.S. Government. The award had been established by an act of Congress in 1874, and was to be given to persons who “endanger their own lives in saving, or endeavor- ing to save lives from perils of the sea,” with the gold medal being “confined to cases of extreme and heroic daring.” Lewis was the first woman thus honored. Likely just as meaningful as the award was the letter she received from Tucker’s mother a week after the rescue. “Dear good brave woman,” the letter began. “What can I say. What can I do for I cannot thank you half enough on paper for saving the life of my Dear Boy.”
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You can order BRILLIANT BEACONS from your local bookstore (https://bit.ly/2PVlcpI), Amazon (https://amzn.to/2RkIPZh), Barnes & Noble (https://bit.ly/2q9EOez), or Booksamillion (https://bit.ly/2JeVsSE).

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Eric Jay Dolin
01/20/2020

Eric Jay Dolin

Woman Lighthouse Keeper -- 164 YEARS AGO TODAY, teenager Abbie Burgess, is left on Matinicus Rock Lighthouse, with part of her family, and acts heroically. Excerpt from Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse.
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Samuel brought his invalid wife and four youngest daughters to the island. Fourteen-year-old Abbie, the oldest of the four, became her father’s unofficial assistant. Samuel often left the island for days at a time to pursue lobstering or to sail to Matinicus Island, about six miles away, to replenish supplies and retrieve medicine for his wife. While he was away, Abbie became the keeper of the light. “I took a great deal of pride in doing the lighthouse work,” she said, “and tried to do my duty.” On January 18, 1856, when Abbie was sixteen, Samuel headed out on one of his trips. Before shoving off he turned to his daughter and said, “I can depend on you, Abbie.”

The following day, a savage storm barreled into Penobscot Bay. Thundering seas swept over the island and flooded the keeper’s quarters. Despite the danger, Abbie decided she had to save the hens, who were, she said, “her only companions.” Her mother pleaded with her not to go, but Abbie was resolute. As she later recalled:

"The thought . . . of parting with them without an effort was not to be endured, so seizing a basket, I ran out a few yards after the “rollers” had passed and the sea fell off a little, with the water knee-deep, to the coop, and rescued all but one. It was the work of a moment, and I was back in the house, with the door fastened, but I was none too quick, for at that instant my little sister, standing at the window, exclaimed, 'Oh, look! look there! The worst sea is coming.' That wave destroyed the old dwelling and swept the rock."

As the tide continued to rise and the seas became even rougher, Abbie led her mother and younger sisters to the north tower, praying that they would be safe there.

The worst of the storm passed in a few days, but the weather remained rough and the seas so violent that Abbie’s father could not get back to the island for four weeks. Abbie stayed calm and not only took care of her mother and sisters but also kept the lights in both towers burning nightly until her father’s return. “Though at times greatly exhausted with my labors,” Abbie said, “not once did the lights fail. Under God, I was able to perform all my accustomed duties, as well as my father’s.”

Later on, Abbie became a lighthouse keeper at White Head Lighthouse, near Spruce Head, Maine.
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You can order BRILLIANT BEACONS from your local bookstore (https://bit.ly/2PVlcpI), Amazon (https://amzn.to/2RkIPZh), Barnes & Noble (https://bit.ly/2q9EOez), or Booksamillion (https://bit.ly/2JeVsSE).

Thanks for reading and sharing!

Matinicus Rock Lighthouse, circa 1890s.

Eric Jay Dolin
01/14/2020

Eric Jay Dolin

159 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, during the Civil War, a Union soldier takes the initiative and, as a result, keeps the Key West Lighthouse under northern control. Excerpt from Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse.
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In mid-December 1860, when it was already quite clear that Florida would soon secede, forty-one- year-old Capt. James M. Brannan, who led the First Artillery stationed at Key West, sent a message to Washington asking if he should “endeavor at all hazards to prevent Fort [Zachary] Taylor [located on Key West] from being taken or allow the State authorities to have possession with- out any resistance on the part of his command.” When Florida seceded on January 10, 1861, Brannan still had received no instructions. Three days later, unwilling to wait any longer, he made a crucial decision. In the dead of night as the city’s residents were sleeping, Brannan marched his small force of forty-four men the four miles from their barracks to the still-unfinished fort. Brannan’s quick action secured Key West for the Union, and with the fort as a base of operations, the Union navy was able to launch attacks, support its blockade of Southern and Gulf Coast ports, and also maintain control of most of the Florida Keys. This was not only a strategic windfall for Union forces, without which the outcome of the war might well have been different, but it also meant that the Keys’ lighthouses, minus the severely damaged one at Cape Florida, could be protected. In fact the lighthouses at the Dry Tortugas, Key West, Sand Key, Sombrero Key, and Carysfort Reef were the only ones in the South that remained lit throughout the entire war, providing Union naval forces with much needed guiding lights as they traversed the treacherous waters off the south Florida coast. When Union Cdr. John R. Goldsborough visited Key West in January 1862, he noted with satisfaction that these lighthouses were “shining as the safeguards and symbols of fraternal commerce and peaceful civilization.”
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You can order BRILLIANT BEACONS from your local bookstore (https://bit.ly/2PVlcpI), Amazon (https://amzn.to/2RkIPZh), Barnes & Noble (https://bit.ly/2q9EOez), or Booksamillion (https://bit.ly/2JeVsSE).

Thanks for reading and sharing!

10/27/2019

Unfortunately, our Haunted Lighthouse Boat Tour and Party that was rescheduled to Thursday, October 31st has been cancelled.

Marblehead Lighthouse on the mend
10/21/2019
Marblehead Lighthouse on the mend

Marblehead Lighthouse on the mend

Years of Lake Erie waves meeting land takes a toll. Think of Mother Nature’s elements pounding against rock and structure during storms, and ceaselessly ...

Atlantic City Lighthouse
10/15/2019
Atlantic City Lighthouse

Atlantic City Lighthouse

Early morning mist swirls around the Absecon lighthouse in the north end of Atlantic City, N.J., Wednesday, July 23, 2014. The coastal lighthouse overlooking Absecon Inlet is the tallest lighthouse

56 feet above Lake Superior, lighthouse buyer finds the beauty of life on the edge
10/15/2019
56 feet above Lake Superior, lighthouse buyer finds the beauty of life on the edge

56 feet above Lake Superior, lighthouse buyer finds the beauty of life on the edge

This fall a 34-year-old tech executive from San Francisco made a highly unusual real estate transaction: He bought a historic Lake Superior lighthouse, sight unseen, in a government auction. A month later, he flew to Duluth to see his purchase in person for the first time.

Halloween Fun Kids Event
10/09/2019

Halloween Fun Kids Event

Allen Bentson shared the following reminisces of the Bahamas with the National Lighthouse Museum. Thanks for sharing, Al...
09/12/2019

Allen Bentson shared the following reminisces of the Bahamas with the National Lighthouse Museum. Thanks for sharing, Allen.

"With hurricane Dorian making the news devastating the Abacos I’m remembering that I spent a week sailing in the Bahamas in November of 2017.
It began early in my life where dad who had been in the Coast Guard taught his four boys all about boats. We learned about power and sailboats and the rules of the road. This led to racing sailboats since I was 9 years old. I started chartering boats from Maine to Florida and then in the mid-nineties started bareboating in the BVI’s. June & I chartered 44 foot catamarans without a captain, and would sail several hundred miles a week there. We did this with friends sailing several thousand miles over 9 trips.
It was in 2017 we decided to try the Bahamas and booked our trip. Little did we know that Irma was going to devastate the BVI’s in 2017 with wind gust of up to 250 MPH, and we never would have had made a trip there that year.
In the Bahamas on the first day out of Marsh Harbor we moored opposite the Home Town Lighthouse. The candy-cane striped lighthouse greeting visitors as they approach Elbow Cay is easily the island’s main attraction. Built back in 1864, the Hope Town Lighthouse is one of three kerosene fueled lighthouses that remain operational in the world (The others are also in the Bahamas)! Back in the day locals survived by salvaging boats that would wreck on nearby reefs and were highly opposed to a lighthouse that could be seen up to 17 miles away. Despite the opposition, the 89-foot lighthouse was built and is now one of the most well-known landmarks.
Yes, we climbed it and the views were incredible. The photo is of June & I in front of the lighthouse. Great memories of this trip and the snorkeling in the islands.
But now we’re seeing the devastating results of Dorian. The eye of this hurricane went right over this location and yet the 1864 lighthouse looks like it survived. The photos show the lighthouse, pre and post Dorian."

Allen & June Bentson

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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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Wednesday 11:00 - 17:00
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Saturday 11:00 - 17:00
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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 corpse. 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.