Episode 91 – North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse, in the busy six-mile-wide passage between the southern point of Michigan’s North Manitou Island and the mainland, began service in 1935. It was virtually abandoned after automation in 1980. The lighthouse was auctioned by the GSA in 2016. The high bidders were a group of four Michigan families and they founded a nonprofit organization, the North Manitou Light Keepers. Dan Oginsky is president of the North Manitou Light Keepers.
Bob Trapani, Jr. is the executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation. He’s also a writer and photographer, and in recent years Bob has launched a new effort called “Moments in Maine.” He’s published a new book called “Rockland Breakwater: A Journey Through the Seasons.”
Episode 92 – The first lightship was stationed at the Nantucket South Shoals in Massachusetts in June 1854. The last vessel to serve on the Nantucket South Shoals was the LV-112, built in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1936. It was the largest lightship ever built in the United States. The LV-112 was removed from the Nantucket South Shoals in 1975. In 2009, the nonprofit United States Lightship Museum, or USLM, became the new steward. Bob Mannino is the president of the United States Lightship Museum.
Special Edition (Dec. 9, 2020) –The light station at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, began service in 1803. A new, taller brick tower went into service on December 16, 1870. Cape Hatteras Light Station was transferred to the National Park Service in 1937. December 16, 2020, marks the 150th birthday of the 1870 tower. Bett Padgett has served on the organization’s board of directors since 1999, and is serving her second stint as president. John Havel’s love for Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and its history led to John becoming a board member of the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society. He also serves as the historian for Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Episode 93 –The Chance Brothers and Company glassworks began producing glass in 1824 at their facility in Smethwick, England. In 1848, Chance Brothers began working on the manufacture of Fresnel lenses for use in lighthouses. The company’s lenses were eventually used in more than 2500 lighthouses worldwide. The Chance Brothers factory in Smethwick was officially closed in the early 1980s. Today, the Chance Heritage Trust is working to restore the remaining buildings at the nine-acre site. Mark Davies is the co-founder and chair of the Chance Heritage Trust.
Special Edition (December 15, 2020) – The Flying Santa tradition traces its origins to a pioneering Maine pilot named Bill Wincapaw. In 1929 he loaded his plane with packages containing gifts for lighthouse families, and he dropped the packages at lighthouses in the Penobscot Bay region. The flights expanded in the years that followed. Edward Rowe Snow, a popular author, got involved in the flights in 1936 and kept the tradition going through 1980. The flights continue today, with Friends of Flying Santa visiting Coast Guard stations by helicopter. In this interview, Dolly Snow Bicknell discusses her personal experience as the daughter of the popular historian and longtime Flying Santa, Edward Rowe Snow, and about her own participation in the Santa flights.The flights continue today, with Friends of Flying Santa visiting Coast Guard stations by helicopter.
Episode 94 – East Brother Island Light Station was established in 1874 on the east side of California’s San Pablo Strait. The station was automated in the summer of 1969. East Brother Light Station, Inc., a nonprofit organization, has lovingly restored the buildings, and by late 1980 the doors were opened for overnight guests. A longtime board member, Desiree Heveroh, interviewed in this episode, moved in as the resident “keeper” this summer. Ralph Krugler is the historian for the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society. His subject in this episode is the interesting life of Alfred Alexander Berghell, the first keeper at Hillsboro Inlet.
Episode 95 – After realizing he had a passion for documentary storytelling, filmmaker Rob Apse opened his own marketing studio, Wandergroove, helping small businesses and nonprofits tell their story. He’s spent five years working on his new documentary, The Last Lightkeepers, which focuses on a number of people in the world of lighthouse preservation. It’s available for viewing on Amazon. Also in this episode is a discussion with lighthouse aficionado Dwight Berry about visiting the lighthouses of the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
Back to Light Hearted Index front page
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