News

Lighthouse News of the Week

Crew of the J.B. Leslie Company at work on Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse; photo by Jeremy D’Entremont

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse (NH) getting an overhaul

After nine years of assault by salt air, waves and wind, Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse is getting a new paint job, thanks to a project initiated by Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation. The project, which began in mid-June, is being carried out by the J.B. Leslie Company, which has worked on more than 20 lighthouse renovation projects including the Cape Neddick “Nubble” Light Station last year.

About 5,000 people tour the lighthouse each year, including hundreds of schoolchildren on educational tours. The time it will take to complete the project is largely weather dependent, but it will probably be done by the end of next week.

The $34,000 project includes the first complete exterior repainting of the 1878 cast-iron tower in nine years. It also includes the repainting of the interior of the lantern room, window repair, and the repair of a broken finial on the lantern gallery.

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Cedar Key Lighthouse (FL) to be lighted tonight (July 5) for one hour

Florida’s Cedar Key Lighthouse, located on Seahorse Key in the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, was built in 1854 and has been inactive since 1915. It consists of a hexagonal tower on a brick keeper’s house, which now serves as a dorm for the University of Florida Marine Laboratory.

Cedar Key Lighthouse, also known as Seahorse Key Lighthouse.
USLHS photo by J. Candace Clifford.

A replica Fresnel lens has been recently installed in the lantern, and tonight (Friday, July 5), the site’s historical museum will be open from 7 to 9 p.m. and the light in the lighthouse will be lit for one hour beginning at 9 p.m. The public is invited to enjoy the festivities.

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Gathering recalls Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (NC) move 20 years ago

This past Monday, July 1, a celebration was held recalling the dramatic move of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to save it from the forces of erosion. The event was attended by representatives of the National Park Service, the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society, and the Hatteras Island community, as well as contractors and coastal scientists who were involved in the move.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse before it was moved in the summer of 1999. Michael Booher/National Park Service

“By moving the lighthouse, we did not just move a brick structure,” Scott Babinowich, the National Park Service’s Outer Banks Group chief of interpretation, told the audience. “This lighthouse has become a silent witness to the history of the Outer Banks.”

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Morris Island Lighthouse (SC) restoration moving forward, light is illuminated on July 4 and 5

Tonight from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., for the second night in a row, the 140-year-old Morris Island Lighthouse will be shining a light like it once did. The event is being put on by a partnership between Dominion Energy and Save the Light, the group which has been working to restore it. A full restoration is expected to cost between $6 and $7 million.

Morris Island Lighthouse, USLHS photo

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Students from Central Michigan University excavate sites by Fort Gratiot Lighthouse (MI)

About a dozen undergraduate and graduate students from Central Michigan University’s archaeology field school recently began excavating two spots by the Fort Gratiot LIghthouse in Port Huron, Michigan. One student showed a pre-Civil War, 1850s penny; another showed off a small, fully-intact glass bottle. Both had been found by the old keeper’s quarters. Julian Noyola, an undergraduate from Lansing, pulled out two small porcelain fragments — each with organ designs etched in.

Fort Gratiot Light Station; USLHS photo by Chad Kaiser.

The archaeology camp was financed by a $900 grant from the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. The six students applied for the program and were able to join at no cost.

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GOFUNDME page for Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse (MD)

Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse was built in 1875. The iconic lighthouse is the last surviving screwpile lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay, and has been a National Historic Landmark since 1999.

The lighthouse was transferred to the City of Annapolis, the United States Lighthouse Society, and the Annapolis Maritime Museum in 2004. The Chesapeake Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society has managed the renovation, and countless volunteers have renovated the exterior and interior of the structure to pre-1939 condition. The U.S. Lighthouse Society, in cooperation with the Annapolis Maritime Museum, conducts tours of the lighthouse for the public throughout the summer.

Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, USLHS photo by Ralph Eshelman.

The structure of the lighthouse is showing severe deterioration, and bids are pending to complete a major restoration of the steel beams that hold up the structure. The USLHS has received a grant from the Maryland Historic Trust for $100,000, but it will not be enough to complete the restoration. You can help. Donations are tax deductible, and donations of all sizes are a great help. Donations of $100 or more receive a special edition 8×10 print of the lighthouse by artist Terell René Theen.

Click here for the GOFUNDME page

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Whitehead Light Station (ME) programs

Whitehead Light Station offers programs for adults at an historic lighthouse in the heart of the Maine coast. This year’s offerings include: Knitting Retreat with Mim Bird, July 11-15; For the Love of Craft Beer and Brewing with Charlie Papazian, July 18-22; Writing a Personal Essay: A Writing Workshop with Linda Buckmaster, August 1-4; History of New England Lighthouses with Jeremy D’Entremont, August 8-11; Knitting Retreat, Sep 5-10; Stack of Books Week, Sep 20-25.

For more information about the programs and everything that Whitehead Light Station has to offer, click here.

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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.

If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to Jeremy at Jeremy@uslhs.org

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