Lighthouse News of the Week – January 24, 2020

Fort Gratiot Light Station; U.S. Lighthouse Society photo by Tom Tag.

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse celebrating its 190th birthday this year as oldest operating light in Michigan

Michigan’s Fort Gratiot Light Station  is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. with no charge. The Port Huron Museum offers tours of the buildings, including a climb up the light tower from May to December. The site includes the Light Keepers’ Duplex, built in 1874; the Fog Signal Building, 1900; the Single Keeper’s Dwelling, 1932; the former Coast Guard Station, 1932; the Equipment Building, 1939, now the gift store; the tower itself, and Fort Gratiot Hospital, both 1829.

The station was built on a swampy, sodden spot where St. Clair County bulged into junction of the St. Clair River and Lake Huron. It was first lighted in the spring of 1830. “This was frontier when the tower was built,” said Dennis Delor, special events coordinator and site historian with St. Clair County Parks and Recreation.

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Museums planned for interiors of Grand Haven lighthouses (MI)

The Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, is attempting to raise $1 million to fix the interiors of the Entrance and Inner Lighthouses, which have stood off the South Pier for more than a century. The group seeks to open them up to the public for educational purposes by 2021, said David Karpin, the conservancy’s president.

The two Grand Haven lighthouses. U.S. Lighthouse Society photo.

A benefit event will take place on Saturday, from 2-7 p.m. at the Grand Haven Eagles clubhouse, 20 N. 2nd St., Grand Haven.

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Get shipwrecked at Hillsboro Lighthouse (FL)

You are invited to attend the Shipwreck at the Lighthouse 113th Anniversary Fundraising Gala at the Hillsboro Lighthouse on Friday, March 13, 2020, from Sunset (7 p.m.) to Moonrise (11 p.m.). Last year, the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society (HLPS) sold out their 2019 event in less than two weeks. Each year, this evening gets better and better. This is the fourth year that the non-profit has invited the community to celebrate and help preserve its historic aid to navigation.

Sunrise at Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse. U.S. Lighthouse Society photo by Ralph Kruegler.

For $170.00 per person, or $1,313.00 for a Captain’s Table of Eight, guests will dine on waiter- served hors d’oeuvres, plated signature salad, assorted fresh rolls, plated duet entrée with Maine lobster tail and filet mignon served with whipped Yukon gold potatoes, grilled asparagus spears, baby French carrots, and a dessert bar … especially prepared and served by Hugh’s Catering of Oakland Park. Plus, there will be an open bar with liquor, beer and wine. The Promise Band will provide live music of the 60s, soul and Motown.

This will be the only night of the year when guests can climb the 175 stairs to the top of the Lighthouse to enter the Lens Room, where you will see the brightest and only working second-order bivalve Fresnel lens in the world!

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Birthday celebration for Point Conception Lighthouse (CA)

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM), home of the giant first-order Fresnel lens from the Point Conception Lighthouse, will celebrate the 164th anniversary of the lighthouse’s first lighting on Feb. 1, 1856.

The Point Conception lens at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

An afternoon reading and discussion of the lighthouse and its lens, followed by a birthday cake will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at the museum, 113 Harbor Way. To attend, register at or call 805-456-8747. The event is free and open to the public. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to learn the history of the lighthouse and the men and women who braved the rugged terrain, heavy fog, and strong winds of Point Conception to keep mariners safe. Award-winning historical fiction author, lecturer and historian Willard Thompson will lead the event and read from his book “Keepers of the Light: The History of the Point Conception Lighthouse.”

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Lecture on Sunday, Jan. 26: Fire Island Lighthouse (NY): A Docent’s Experience

A ten year veteran of volunteering at the Fire Island Lighthouse, Harold “Harry” Stumme recalls the changes, history, and surprises at weekly tours of this historic landmark located just across the Great South Bay. 

At the Long Island Maritime Museum, 88 West Avenue, West Sayville, New York. Light refreshments: 12:30-1 p.m. Lecture 1-2 p.m. Lecture is free for museum members, $10 suggested donation for non-members.

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Presentation on efforts to save Morris Island Lighthouse (SC)

A group working to save the Morris Island Lighthouse will present new efforts to protect the Folly Beach landmark before the Charleston County Council on Tuesday. The group, Save the Light, says the lighthouse could help solve problems with guiding shipping into Charleston Harbor. Dr. Richard Beck plans to make that presentation to the Charleston County Finance Committee.

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Meet Linda Dianto, executive director of National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island, New York

Linda Dianto joins any project she feels needs a strong supporter, and she doesn’t give up fighting for its cause until she sees it reach its pinnacle of success. She describes herself as an advocate, always seeking to support underdog projects that never get sufficient recognition, and she never gives up easily.

“I will be continuing fundraising efforts to see the museum rise to its next level and finally to see it reach all its goals,” she says.

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“Floating Palaces: The Great Atlantic Liners” at the National Lighthouse Museum (NY) on January 30, 6:00 p.m.

Bill Miller, Mr. Ocean Liner, will give a talk on Floating Palaces: The Great Atlantic Liners. Bill Miller is an international authority on the subject of ocean liners and cruise ships. This includes those great ships of the past, those “floating palaces,” as well as the current generation of cruise ships, the “floating resorts.” Called “Mr. Ocean Liner,” he has written over 80 books on the subject: from early steamers, immigrant ships and liners at war to other titles on their fabulous interiors. He has done specific histories of such celebrated passenger ships as the United States, Queen Mary, Rotterdam, France, Queen Elizabeth 2, Costa Victoria, Super Star Leo and Crystal Serenity.

Thursday, January 30, 2020 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, National Lighthouse Museum, 200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point, Staten Island, NY, 718-390-0040. $10 for guests, $5 for members.

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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.

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

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