This is a special edition of Light Hearted in honor of National Lighthouse Day, August 7. It was on this date in 1789 that the first Congress approved an act for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and public piers.
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the signing of that act and the commissioning of the first federal lighthouse, Congress passed a resolution that designated August 7, 1989, as National Lighthouse Day.
On that day in 1989, Light Hearted host Jeremy D’Entremont attended and recorded a celebration at Portland Head Light Station in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Not only was that gathering an observance of National Lighthouse Day, it also marked the automation of Portland Head Lighthouse and the transfer of the last two Coast Guard light keepers in the state of Maine, as well as the leasing of the light station property to the Town of Cape Elizabeth.
This special edition includes audio excerpts from that 1989 celebration: Rear Admiral Richard Rybacki of the Coast Guard, Senator George Mitchell of Maine, and lighthouse historian F. Ross Holland. Also featured is an audio clip of Connie Small, author of the classic book The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org