When you hear the word “lighthouse,” you probably think “island,” “beach,” or “vacation.” Lighthouses are more than just tourist attractions or part of your dream vacation. They are structures of America’s past and they tell a story.
Lighthouses were the guiding lights for sailors, warning them of danger and helping them have a safe trip. The light fought through the darkness of a stormy night. Keepers worked 24/7 keeping the lamps burning. Because of new technology, some lighthouses have gone dark. Some lighthouses have been sold; some have become museums, shops, or even parking lots (that’s not good!), and some are subject to neglect and have been left to be eaten away by time (that’s not good, either!).
The United States Lighthouse Society (USLHS) was founded 1984. They are determined to preserve these pieces of American history. I was at the Harbour Town Lighthouse in Hilton Head, South Carolina, where I purchased a USLHS Lighthouse Passport. I have been to this lighthouse many times, but what actually sparked my greater interest in lighthouses is the Leamington Lighthouse in Hilton Head. After exploring this old lighthouse, out of curiosity, I went to the USLHS website and learned about their mission of preserving lighthouses. For my 12th birthday, my parents got me a Keeper level membership. I would like to thank USLHS for rushing my membership card (it arrived on my birthday!) and for including a few other things for my birthday. I am very excited to be a part of the USLHS community.
Christian Taber, USLHS Member
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.
5 thoughts on “Guest Column: Guiding Lights: A Story Of America’s Lighthouses By Christian Taber, Age 12”
Welcome to the Society, Christian! — Mike Vogel, USLHS Board Secretary
This young man has a career waiting for him. His very mature use of the English language is wonderful and I hope he will consider writing (especially on the subject of lighthouses, of course) as a career. This young man is to be commended for his grasp of the language.
A “young at heart” lighthouser,
I enjoyed your Guest Column about the Hilton Head Rear Range Light (also known locally as the Leamington Light). You say that you have visited the lighthouse many times. Does that indicate you live on Hilton Head or in the area? If so, I would like to invite you to visit the Hunting Island Lighthouse on Hunting Island State Park, the next lighthouse to the north. There, the Friends of Hunting Island host tours of the lighthouse several times a month. This includes tours of exhibits in restored storage buildings on the light station and a climb up the tower. Check our website for information on the tour schedule and if you are in the area please stop in. I help host the tours dressed in a lighthouse keeper’s uniform.
Great thoughts. Hope you can share history from lighthouses you come across in your future travels.
Congratulations on discovering the wonderful USLHS and the passport program. I enjoyed reading your story and am glad a young person is interested in preserving our maritime history.