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Lighthouse News of the Week

New and old Cape Henry lighthouses
The new (left) and old Cape Henry lighthouses, from the U.S. Lighthouse Society Archives.

Old Cape Henry Lighthouse (VA) reopens following dune restoration

Following the completion of a seven-month dune restoration project that closed it back in September 2018, Virginia’s Old Cape Henry Lighthouse is again open to the public. The project entailed increasing the height of the top of the dune to cover the lighthouse’s sandstone base as it originally did when the tower was constructed.

“We are thrilled that visitors to Virginia Beach will have the opportunity to climb the tower, just in time for the summer season,” said Jennifer Hurst-Wender, director of museum operations and education for Preservation Virginia.

The reopening will be celebrated with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting on May 4 at 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

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America’s first woman lighthouse keeper, Hannah Thomas, honored in ceremony in Kingston, Massachusetts

Volunteers of Project Gurnet and Bug Lights, many friends and supporters, and America’s only active lighthouse keeper were among those who gathered to pay tribute to America’s first female lighthouse keeper in a ceremony on April 13 at the Old Burying Ground in Kingston, Massachusetts, where Hannah Thomas was laid to rest 200 years earlier. Hannah Thomas was keeper of Plymouth (Gurnet) Lighthouse for a number of years during and after the American Revolution. She died in April 2019.

The only official lighthouse keeper in the U.S. today, Sally Snowman of Boston Light (left), and Susan Beaulieu portraying Hannah Thomas, at the Old Burying Ground in Kingston, Massachusetts, on April 13, 2019. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

The first part of the ceremony took place inside the First Parish Church. Project Gurnet and Bug Lights President Dolly Bicknell presided and thanked all who made the day possible. Richard Boonisar, a resident of Plymouth’s Gurnet Point area and author of a book on the Gurnet’s history, spoke, closing his remarks by saying, “I kind of like to think a good case could be made that the women’s movement began right here in Kingston with Hannah Thomas.”

The ceremony moved outside to the cemetery, where Troop 49 Boy Scouts leader John Bartlett placed a Lighthouse Service marker by Thomas’s grave, and Troop 80234 Girl Scout Olivia Gauthier and troop leader Debbie Grace helped lay a memorial wreath.

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Volunteers needed at Presque Isle Lighthouse (PA)

Presque Isle Lighthouse in Erie, Pennsylvania, is getting ready to open for the 2019 season. The popular attraction had 18,500 visitors in 2018, and many more walked the grounds and visited the gift shop.

Presque Isle Light Station
Presque Isle Light Station in 2015, USLHS archives.

Gene Ware of the Presque Isle Light Station writes: “We need a few new volunteers to have a full staff on hand for opening day. We have openings for ticket takers, gift shop clerks, docents (guides) for the tower, and house and ground guides. Our volunteers usually work a 3½- to 4-hour shift per week but even that is rather flexible. All new and older volunteers will receive training before opening day. We are holding a registration and information session about volunteering on April 22 and April 23 at 6 P.M. These sessions usually last 1½ to 2 hours. All will be held at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center.”

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Contract awarded for new dock at Stepping Stones Lighthouse (NY)

The town council of North Hempstead, New York, awarded a $605,770 contract to Atlantic Coast Dock Construction Corp. to build a pier and floating dock for the Stepping Stones Lighthouse last week. Work is expected to begin this summer.

Stepping Stones Lighthouse in 2016, photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

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New owners restoring White Shoal Lighthouse, Michigan, with plans for public access

White Shoal Lighthouse is one of the most remote locations on Lake Michigan. There has never really been public access, but that is going to change under the stewardship of the newly formed White Shoal Lighthouse Historical Preservation Society.

White Shoal Lighthouse in 2018, USLHS photo by Tom Tag

Planned programs– beginning in July–include guided daytime tours, VIP tours, sunset VIP tours, and overnight stays on a handful of dates. Proceeds will help raise money for restoration and maintenance of the lighthouse.

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J. Candace Clifford Research Library coming soon – watch for updates

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Coming in early June – “Light Hearted” podcast – watch for updates

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button. Please support this electronic newsletter by joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member.

If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to Jeremy at nelights@gmail.com.

One thought on “Lighthouse News of the Week

  1. LIGHTHOUSES DO SOMETHING FOR US, THEY REMIND US OF A TIME, WHEN HUMAN WAS MORE HUMANE, AND THEIR LIGHT GUIDED US WITH SINCERITY. NOW WE HAVE SATELLITES FILLED WITH EVIL AND WICKED PURPOSES FOR SPYING, SENDING OUT RADIATION THAT CAUSES US TO BE BURNED AS TOAST OF CARBON, AND REDIRECTING OUR LIVES FOR TOTAL CONTROL. LIGHTHOUSES HAVE PROTECTED US AND GAVE US OUR FREEDOM, AND NEVER ONCE INTERFERED WITH OUR HEALTH. THOSE WERE THE DAYS!!!

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