Lighthouse News of the Week

California Lighthouse, Aruba. Courtesy of Monumentsfund Aruba.

Visit the California Lighthouse in Aruba and get your U.S. Lighthouse Society passport stamped!

California Lighthouse owes its name to a steamship that was wrecked in 1891 near the north coast of the Caribbean island of Aruba. The shipwreck was a primary reason for the building of the lighthouse between 1914 and 1916.

California Lighthouse during restoration (Creative Commons photo by Tokmanr)

The lighthouse was transferred to Monumentsfund Aruba in 2015, and a major restoration was carried out in 2015-16.

California Lighthouse is now an official member of the United States Lighthouse Society! You can now visit the lighthouse and receive a California Lighthouse stamp in your USLHS passport. Visitors will be ask for a one dollar contribution for a stamp. Donations will be used to help maintain the lighthouse.

Visitors get to climb to the top of the 180-foot tower for a spectacular view. Anne Witsenburg, director of Monumentsfund Aruba, tells us that more than two million people visit Aruba each year, and 75% of those visitors are American.


If you visit the lighthouse, just ask the Experitours guides at the lighthouse for your USLHS passport stamp!

For more information on California Lighthouse, click here.

For more information on the U.S. Lighthouse Society passport program, click here.

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New Tour Guides for Hunting Island Lighthouse

For the past two years, the Friends of Hunting Island have been hosting tours of the Hunting Island Lighthouse and light station at Hunting Island State Park in Beaufort, South Carolina.  The Friends of Hunting Island organization, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, was created by a group of Beaufort residents to support Hunting Island State Park and its lighthouse with its many activities.

Twice a month, Ted Panayotoff, U.S. Lighthouse Society member and Friends of Hunting Island Lighthouse director, hosts a 1.5-hour tour of the lighthouse tower and the several light station buildings.  “Keeper Ted,” upholding the Lighthouse Service tradition of welcoming visitors to the light station, hosts the tours in his reproduction lighthouse keeper’s dress uniform.

Due to the expanding interest in these guided tours, the Friends of Hunting Island are planning to expand the frequency of the tours by growing the pool of available tour guides. To that end, “Keeper Ted” has begun working with three new “recruits” to familiarize them with the history of the lighthouse. This is the second lighthouse on the island and it was moved in 1889 due to beach erosion.  Along with the lighthouse, there are related exhibits in the existing light station buildings.

IMG_4542In the photo at left, the lighthouse history is being discussed at the base of the tower.  The 1873 date refers to its construction at its original location, 1 1/4 miles north of its present site, a location that is now claimed by the Atlantic Ocean.  

A tour up the tower (the only lighthouse in South Carolina regularly available to climb) stops at the eight landings, giving visitors an opportunity to see the exhibits there.  The watch room gallery is the highlight of the climb affording the visitor a panoramic view for miles up and down the coast. The watch room and lantern are not usually open to visitors as Hunting Island Light is an active private aid to navigation using a VLB-44 beacon light.  

The photo at the right shows the prospective tour guides and “Keeper Ted”  gathered on the light IMG_4556station grounds with the tower, the oil house and the station’s fresh water cistern pump house in the background.  Sadly, the wonderful three family keeper’s dwelling, described on the sign they are reading, was lost due to a fire several years after the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1933.  

Still intact, however, are two nearby storage buildings that have been restored and contain exhibits related to the lighthouse.  Below, one of the exhibits in the storage building whose theme is “life at the light station” is being described to the new tour guides.  They are learning about the work life of the keepers at the station; on the other side of this building is an exhibit on the home life of the families at the station.  These exhibits include a station medical chest and a traveling library box. Both were very important at this remote (especially at the time) light station.


Photos courtesy of Ted Panayotoff.

Click here for more details

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Split Rock (MN) Lighthouse manager Lee Radzak to retire

Lee Radzak (U.S. Lighthouse Society)

Minnesota’s Split Rock Lighthouse, perched on a rocky, rugged bluff high above Lake Superior, is one of the most iconic lighthouses in the United States. For the past 36 years, the resident site manager at Split Rock has been Lee Radzak. When he took the job in 1982, he and his wife thought they’d give it three years to see how they liked it. Obviously, it worked out pretty well.


Under Radzak’s direction a number of preservation projects have been completed, and he has been recognized with several awards. In 2016 he was given the Ross Holland Award by the American Lighthouse Council for his achievements in lighthouse preservation.

When asked what memories will stay with him the most, Radzak said, “”Just the lake. I could write a book about the storms, the early mornings and evenings and nights.”

Lee Radzak has been a tremendous asset to Split Rock Lighthouse and a great friend to the lighthouse community at large, and we wish him and his wife, Jane, all the best in retirement.

You can read more about this story here.

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Lighthouse supply ship converted into hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland

A 1963 lighthouse supply ship, the Fingal — bought in 2014 by Royal Yacht Enterprises — has been converted into a luxurious floating hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland. All the guest rooms are named for Scottish lighthouses, and the restaurant serves local seafood.

Count us in.

Click here for more information.

Official website for the Fingal

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Cool Jazz at the National Lighthouse Museum, NY
Celebrate Mardi Gras Light Moments with Cool Jazz at the National Lighthouse Museum, 200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point, St. George, (adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry) on Saturday, March 2, 2019, 7-10 p.m.
Featuring the smooth, sultry and soulful voice of Donna Cumberbatch. Donna is influenced by such artists as Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Gloria Lynne, and Nancy Wilson, but exhibits her own unique and enchanting style. Tickets – $40. Delectable Edibles by Bayou Restaurant.
For Info/Reservations: Phone: 718-390-0040
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Hibbard Casselberry, Jr.  1923-2019

Hibbard Casselberry, Jr., 96, a man who was well known to Florida lighthouse aficionados and preservationists, died February 5, 2019, at John Knox Village, Pompano Beach, Florida. “Hib” was born on January 2, 1923, in Chicago, Illinois.

At the age of 72, he retired from the City of Fort Lauderdale Architectural Department, and then devoted the rest of his life to historic preservation with an emphasis on lighthouses. He was a founding member and past president of the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society, a founding board member of the Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation, and an original member of the Florida Lighthouse Association. He was honored in 2012 by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution with their Historic Preservation Medal in recognition of his work in historic preservation.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Martha, as well as their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Christ United Methodist Church, Fort Lauderdale, FL (, or the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society (

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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 in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member.

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