Lighthouse News of the Week – June 19, 2020

Port Isabel Lighthouse (TX) to reopen

The Port Isabel Lighthouse will reopen at the end of this month. On March 17, the Port Isabel Lighthouse, along with all of the City of Port Isabel’s parks, closed over concern for COVID-19’s spread.

Port Isabel Lighthouse, Texas. U.S. Lighthouse Society archives.

Weather permitting, hours of operation will be Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets may only be purchased through the Visitors Center by calling (956) 943-2262 and then presented to the attendant at the Lighthouse. Tours of the Lighthouse will be self-guided, by appointment only and are limited to 15 minutes. Groups of six or less are allowed. One party at a time will be allowed access. Masks are requested to be worn in the Lighthouse. Hand sanitizer will be available at the Lighthouse and all ticket holders are advised to sanitize their hands before and after the tour.

Click here to read more

Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site

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Split Rock Lighthouse (MN) grounds to reopen July 15

Split Rock Lighthouse will reopen its grounds to the public July 15. The lighthouse grounds will be open seven days a week. Guests can purchase a timed-entry ticket for $8 at or inside the visitors’ center. MNHS is limiting the number of daily visitors, and tickets will go on sale July 8. Other indoor spaces, such as the lighthouse and keeper’s residence, will remain closed. A pop-up store will be set up outside so guests can shop for souvenirs.

Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota. U.S. Lighthouse Society archives.

Split Rock Lighthouse website

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Pandemic delays work at Saugerties Lighthouse (New York)

A dock and part of a trail were to be replaced at the Saugerties Lighthouse in New York early this year, but the pandemic forced a construction halt. The virus-related shutdowns also have cut off revenue generated by the lighthouse because the bed-and-breakfast there has not been allowed to operate. The Saugerties Lighthouse, located where the Esopus Creek flows into the Hudson River, draws 50,000 to 60,000 visitors per year, and the trail is used by as many as 300 people per day in the summer.

Saugerties Lighthouse in 2017. USLHS photo by Teri Knouse.

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Fairport Harbor Marine Museum and Lighthouse (OH) will open for season on July 1

The Fairport Harbor Marine Museum and Lighthouse in Ohio will launch its 2020 season under state guidelines. Opening day at the museum and lighthouse is set for July 1, about a month later than the site’s traditional season kickoff on Memorial Day. This year, the museum and lighthouse will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays as well as on legal holidays. State requirements related to COVID-19, including six-foot social distancing and frequently sanitizing of high-touch items, will be in effect, said Mary Alyce Gladding, president of the historical society.

Fairport Harbor Light Station, OH. USLHS photo by Tom Tag.

Private tours of the museum and lighthouse will be provided this year by appointment only and “on a very limited and modified basis,” the Fairport Harbor Marine Museum and Lighthouse stated on its website.

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Jim Gibbs: Lighthouse historian brought stories to life

Jim Gibbs

The late Jim Gibbs was one of our country’s greatest maritime historians, and his specialty was lighthouses. He knew them intimately; he lived in one of the most isolated and dangerous light stations on the West Coast (Tillamook Rock) for a year, and he built his own Coast Guard-approved lighthouse. He was editor of Seattle’s Marine Digest for 20 years, and he wrote more than 20 books, mostly about the lighthouses of the West Coast and their keepers.

There was an excellent article about the life of this fascinating man in the Chinook Observer yesterday. Click here to read it.

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Annual Huntington Lighthouse (NY) MusicFest canceled

The annual Huntington Lighthouse MusicFest, scheduled for September 5, is being canceled for the second year in a row, another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s gut wrenching,” said Pam Setchell, lighthouse preservation society president. “We have tried to figure out 85 different ways that we can do it and we just can’t, taking into consideration the safety of the bands, the volunteers, the enormous crew it takes to put it on in a confined space, it’s just impossible.”

Huntington Lighthouse, New York. 2009 USLHS photo by George Doerner.

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Marquette Maritime Museum (MI) and lighthouse open to public

The Marquette Maritime Museum and lighthouse in Michigan opened their doors to the public on June 16. “All employees and volunteers will be wearing masks,” said Hilary Billman, director of the Maritime Museum. “They will also have to fill out a COVID–19 survey as soon as they get to work. People seem to be excited. We’ve been getting phone calls asking about the times and what’s going on, and Facebook messages and different things. So I think people are excited that we are finally going to be open.”

Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, USLHS photo.

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Vermilion Lighthouse (OH) is getting a makeover

Vermilion Lighthouse in Ohio is getting a makeover thanks to several grants. Formed in 2014, the Main Street Vermilion’s Lighthouse Preservation Committee serves as guardians of the lighthouse, working to educate the public about the historical significance of lighthouses. Within two years, the committee raised funds to have a 5th order Barbier and Fenestre Fresnel lens fabricated and installed in September 2016. The structure now stands as an active navigational aid.

Vermillion Lighthouse; USLHS photo by Tom Tag.

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Flooding and high water close parts of Tawas Point State Park, including lighthouse (MI)

Popular trails, tourist destinations and camping facilities are closed for the summer at Tawas Point State Park due to high water levels and flooding. The main road entering the park and the historic Tawas Point lighthouse inside are among the closures. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says record high water levels on the Great Lakes are causing flooding and erosion at several lakefront state parks and harbors.

Tawas Point Light Station, Michigan. 2009 USLHS photo by Chad Kaiser.

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Sapelo Island Lighthouse (GA) undergoing restoration

Sapelo Island Lighthouse is one of only five lighthouses remaining in Georgia.  It will be celebrating its 200th anniversary this year.

Sapelo Island Lighthouse; USLHS photo by Ralph Eshelman.

Freedman Engineering Group has prepared plans and specifications for lighthouse improvements including stucco repair, repainting the red and white stripe day mark on the lighthouse, metal repairs, painting of the lantern room, as well as metal repairs and painting of the front range beacon.

Click here to read more

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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.

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