New Point Loma (CA) Lighthouse restored, VLB-44 optic optic installed
San Diego’s Old Point Loma Lighthouse, established in 1855, is a major tourist attraction in the Cabrillo National Monument. Because it was often obscured by low clouds, it was replaced by a cast-iron skeletal tower on lower ground in 1891. The ironwork for the new tower came to San Diego on railway flatcars from Trenton, New Jersey.
The New Point Loma Lighthouse has undergone a restoration to correct a three-degree tilt and to remove layers of lead paint. The $2.1 million renovation began in September 2017 and was completed a few weeks ago. The work was carried out for the Coast Guard by Ohana Industries, Ltd. Many cast-iron components were replaced. In addition, the active VRB-25 optic, which had been mounted on the railing outside the lantern, has been replaced by a VLB-44 LED optic inside the lantern, where a third-order lens once operated.
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Legacy of Light: New Dungeness Light guides northwest mariners
New Dungeness Lighthouse has guided mariners around the longest natural sand spit in the United States since 1857. Today, the light station is managed by the New Dungeness Light Station Association (NDLSA), a 501c (3) non-profit organization. Partners with the Association include the U.S. Coast Guard, which maintains the lantern, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. The episode of the USLHS podcast below includes an interview with NDLSA general manager Chad Kaiser.
There’s a very nice article by Walter Ham of U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters about New Dungeness Lighthouse here. The article quotes Jeff Zappen, a retired U.S. Coast Guard chief warrant officer with 29 years of service who serves as the civilian lighthouse coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound. The episode of Light Hearted below includes an interview with Jeff Zappen.
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Restoration of Bayswater Lighthouse in Saint John, NB, underway
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) planned to tear down the Bayswater Lighthouse in Saint John, New Brunswick in 2016 due to structural decay. Thanks to an outcry from local residents, it was transferred to a nonprofit group and it is now under restoration. Fundy Royal MP Alaina Lockhart visited the lighthouse Wednesday to announce $80,000 in federal funding for the renovations and ongoing maintenance. The lighthouse was built in 1914 as one of 21 operating lighthouses along the Saint John River system.
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Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, there aren’t a lot of projects happening at lighthouses. Many events have been canceled or postponed, and many lighthouses have been closed or had their seasonal openings delayed. We hope things return to normal for lighthouse organizations soon. More than that, we want everyone to stay safe and healthy, and we wish everyone all the best in these difficult times.
It’s in times like these that we look to the lighthouses as symbols of hope, strength, and resilience, and we realize how important it is to preserve them.
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