Lighthouse News of the Week

Kate Walker at Robbins Reef Lighthouse

Statue of Keeper Kate Walker to be constructed at the Staten Island Ferry landing

A statue honoring one of America’s most famous lighthouse keepers, Katherine “Kate” Walker, will be erected by New York City at the Staten Island Ferry Landing on Staten Island.

Born in Germany, Kate Walker immigrated to the United States just eight years before she took  on the job of keeping Robbins Reef Lighthouse in the Kill Van Kull, a shipping channel between Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey. Standing four foot ten and weighing about 100 pounds, Walker saved at least 50 lives during her nearly three decades at the lighthouse. She also made sure her son, Jacob, received an education by rowing him to shore each day on Staten Island. Jacob eventually succeeded his mother as keeper.

Robbins Reef Lighthouse (Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont)

The statue of Walker is one of four works honoring trailblazing women announced on Wednesday, as part of an effort to honor women who have helped shape New York City and to address the lack of female statues in public places. The City will also construct a statue of jazz legend Billie Holiday in Queens, civil rights leader Elizabeth Jennings Graham in Manhattan, and Dr. Helen Rodríguez Trías in the Bronx. These women were chosen through an open call that drew more than 2000 nominations.

The search for artists is expected to begin at the end of this year with the statues being installed by 2022.

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Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse (MO) to be reconstructed

The Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse is surrounded by 10 acres of parkland on Cardiff Hill in Hannibal, Missouri, near the banks of the Mississippi River. A tower was originally built on the site in 1935 to commemorate the centennial of the birth of Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, Hannibal’s favorite son. It was rebuilt after being heavily damaged by a windstorm in 1960. Although lighted, it serves little navigational value. The interior is not open to the public, but the area around it affords a panoramic view of Hannibal and the river.

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse (Wikimedia Commons, photo by Jens Bludau)

Hannibal Parks and Recreation officials now say that the current lighthouse is beyond repair, and they are set to spend $135,000 for reconstruction. The work is set to take place this summer.

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Huron Harbor Lighthouse (OH) to be illuminated

Huron Harbor OH 2008 Mike & Carol McKinney
U.S. Lighthouse Society photo by Mike & Carol McKinney

After two years of efforts, Huron, Ohio, city officials have received permission from the U.S. Coast Guard to illuminate the Huron Harbor Lighthouse with four LED lights at night.

According the Sandusky Register, the lighthouse will be illuminated beginning this spring, and it will glow with different colors for special occasions. “For instance, officials could project green and gold lights during St. Patrick’s Day; red, white and blue lights for the Fourth of July; or orange lights for Halloween.”

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Report commissioned for Eagle Bluff Lighthouse (WI) restoration and maintenance

A report has been commissioned by the Door County Historical Society that will set the stage for a plan to restore the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Museum to a historically correct condition. The report also will include a plan for long-term maintenance of the lighthouse and other structures on the site.

Eagle Bluff WI - Sandy Karnes

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse (U.S. Lighthouse Society photo by Sandy Karnes)

“The restoration will take a long time,” Executive Director Bailey Koepsel said. “I’m sure it’s something that will have to be done in phases. But, that’s something the (Historic Structure Report) will tell us.”

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Upcoming Events

Weather Forecasting Seminar at National Lighthouse Museum, Staten Island, NY, March 28, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

The National Lighthouse Museum and the America’s Boating Club (US Power Squadron, Established 1914, Staten Island Club) have teamed up to present a Basic Weather and Forecasting seminar on March 28, 2019, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. This seminar could be a lifesaver for boaters and a valuable resource for weather enthusiasts.

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Spring Fling for Lighthouse Preservation, Kittery Lions Club (Kittery, Maine), Saturday, April 6, 2019, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Join Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses for a fun event that will include live music and dance, a raffle and silent auction, food, and more! Admission is free but donations are welcomed. At the Kittery Lions Club at 117 State Road (Route 1) in Kittery, Maine.

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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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3 thoughts on “Lighthouse News of the Week

  1. The rebuilding of Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse is great news. It’s one of only a few traditional lighthouses on the Mississippi River. Mark Twain himself was a lighthouse in American literature!!

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