Lighthouse News of the Week

Pensacola Lighthouse (FL) celebrating 160th birthday

Pensacola Lighthouse (U.S. Lighthouse Society archives)

There will be three days of special events in commemoration of the 160th anniversary of the first lighting of Pensacola Lighthouse on Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, this weekend. The celebration began today (Friday, January 11) with a ribbon cutting marking the end of a four-year, $3 million project restoring the lighthouse and surrounding buildings.


At 2 p.m. Saturday, January 12, a group will gather at St. John’s Cemetery to place Lighthouse Service plaques on the graves of former keepers. The cemetery celebration will include bagpipe music by the McGuire’s Irish Pub band. From 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Sunday, the lighthouse and museum will offer free admission to all visitors. Tour guides in period costumes will greet visitors.

Vance Buras, now 85, son of a former keeper, has returned to Pensacola for the event. “My dad was the keeper and there were two assistant keepers. One of them would carry a tin of kerosene to the top every night to fuel the light,” he told the Pensacola News Journal.

You can read more about the celebration here.

You can read about the recent restoration here.

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Manitowoc South Pier Light (WI) gets washed into Lake Michigan

It was not really a lighthouse, but it was an official aid to navigation at the end of a pier at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. At about 8:30 a.m. on January 7, Ann Barbeau of Manitowoc was out taking photos as the winds were gusting to 50 mph and the waves were as high as 12 to 15 feet.

Barbeau took a series of 16 photos of waves crashing into the pier around the 20-foot-tall fiberglass aid to navigation. Then she realized it was gone. “I looked in the water, and it was floating for about five seconds, then sunk,” she said. “I looked around and cleared my eyes because I couldn’t believe what I just witnessed.”

“Rest In Peace, South Pier Lighthouse,” Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nikels posted on Twitter. “We can now add this to our upcoming attractions in our Marine Sanctuary along with the shipwrecks. In all seriousness, the Coast Guard has been notified about this since it is their lighthouse. All will be well.”

You can read more here.

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City of Marquette (MI) to build a new park around lighthouse

The city of Marquette, Michigan, obtained ownership of the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse two years ago, and they announced plans to establish a new park around the property. “The commission about a year ago set aside 1 million dollars to make this happen,” said Mike Angeli, Marquette City Manager. “We’re working to stay within that budget. I think we’ll be able to do that with the overall goal of creating a park that the entire community can enjoy.”

Marquette Harbor Lighthouse (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Construction on the park is expected to begin early spring and to be completed by mid-summer. The park will provide improved ease of access to the Maritime Museum/lighthouse.

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Lighthouse is shut down

We reported here recently that Sullivans Island Lighthouse in South Carolina had gone dark, and that its 56-year-old DCB-224 aerobeacon-type system would have to be removed and replaced. That work was due to be completed soon, but the latest word is that it is on hold due to the federal government shutdown.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. James Zorn said the staff needed to do the work can’t travel to South Carolina until the government reopens.

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Lighthouses are for Lovers and Friends

The National Lighthouse Museum at Staten Island, New York, is presenting their fourth annual “Lighthouses are for Lovers and Friends” event featuring the “Dreamers Quartet” on Saturday, February 9, 2019, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the museum, 200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point, St. George, (adjacent to the Free Staten Island Ferry) Staten Island, NY.

The Dreamers feature the music of Motown, The Jersey Boys, Carole King, Skyliners, Smokey Robinson, Chicago, The O’Jays, Harptones, Tavares, Temptations, and many more. Gourmet Buffet Dinner catered by Franboise. Cash Bar Available. Tickets $75.00. For info/reservations: email: Tel. 718-390-0040.

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