Ida Lewis (1842-1911) was not only one of the most celebrated lighthouse keepers in United States history, she was also one of the most famous women of the late 1800s. She has been honored in a number of ways; a Coast Guard buoy tender is named in her honor and the light station she tended for decades is now the Ida Lewis Yacht Club. She is now the first woman to have a roadway in Arlington National Cemetery named for her. “It’s a big deal,” Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of Army National Military Cemeteries, said this week. Until now, in the 154-year-history of the cemetery, all of the more than 40 roadways have been named for men.
The cemetery’s new 27-acre section, the first geographic expansion in 40 years, was designed with two new drives. The other is being named for Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan W. Gifford, who was given the Navy Cross posthumously for heroism after he was killed in Afghanistan in 2012. He is the first U.S. Marine to be honored with a street name at the cemetery.
Ida Lewis, who was credited with saving at least 18 people from drowning during her years at the Lime Rock Light Station in Newport, Rhode Island, is buried in Newport’s Common Ground Cemetery.
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Candace was the US Lighthouse Society historian from 2016 until she passed away in August 2018. For 30 years, her work involved lighthouse history. She worked with the National Park Service and the Council of American Maritime Museums. She was a noted author and was considered the most knowledgable person on lighthouse information at the National Archives. Books by Candace Clifford include: Women who Kept the Lights: a History of Thirty-eight Female Lighthouse Keepers , Mind the Light Katie, and Maine Lighthouses, Documentation of their Past.