On Tuesday, December 18, we lost one of the world’s great lighthouse photographers with the death of John Eagle. He was the first person to make a postcard of every Irish lighthouse, traveling by helicopter and high-speed boat to capture his images. John passed away at the age of 64 at his home on the Beara Peninsula in Ireland.
In November, the Commissioners of Irish Lights paid tribute to Eagle by presenting a framed original design drawing of the landmark Fastnet Rock lighthouse–one of his favorites–to him. And just weeks before his death, the sale of his 2019 lighthouse photo calendars raised €2,000 for Cancer Connect.
According to an article in The Southern Star, “At 6’5” you couldn’t miss John, but he had a sort of omnipresence too in that he was talkative and always at the heart of so many local artistic events, exhibitions and endeavors.”
Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse in Charleston, South Carolina, may look more like an airport control tower than a traditional lighthouse, but it’s often referred to as the last lighthouse built by the federal government in the United States. Constructed in 1962 just south of busy Charleston Harbor, the 140-foot-tall tower boasts two things unique in American lighthouses: air conditioning and an elevator. Its triangular design allows the structure to withstand hurricane force winds of up to 125 mph.
None of those things helped it in early November, when it suddenly went dark. According to this article in The Post and Courier, the Coast Guard has not been able to figure out exactly what the problem is. The DCB-224 aerobeacon-type system will have to be removed, and it could be another month or so before it’s up and running again with a completely new system. “It will be great to see it working again,” said Dawn Davis, public affairs officer for Fort Sumter National Monument. “We get lots of inquiries.”
Graves Lighthouse, a sturdy, wave-swept tower in outer Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, has been beautifully restored by its owners, our friends Dave and Lynn Waller. Dave posted a video the other day of the placement of a first-ever Christmas wreath on the door of the lighthouse.
“Even though the lighthouse is buttoned up tight for the winter, we can enjoy it year round thanks to central heat and solar power,” he said. “The winter birds have replaced the summer birds and the seals are mostly gone, but it’s beautiful here any time of year!”
Wishing you all a bright and Happy 2019!
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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.