Lighthouse News of the Week – December 4, 2020

National Park Service hosts 150th anniversary celebration of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (NC)

On Dec. 16 at 4:45 p.m., Cape Hatteras National Seashore, in partnership with the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society and Outer Banks Forever, will celebrate the 150th anniversaries of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Dare County via special online video on the seashore’s Facebook page and Dare County’s CURRENTtv.

Circa late 1800s view of Cape Hatteras Light Station, North Carolina (National Archives)

The special 25-minute online video, shown on the 150th anniversary of the first lighting of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, will feature National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac; Dare County Chairman Bob Woodard; Captain Matt Baer, Sector North Carolina Commander, U.S. Coast Guard; historian Kevin Duffus; Bett Padgett from the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society; a living history presentation of Augustin Fresnel, inventor of the lighthouse lantern; park rangers and community members; and a tribute from lighthouses across the country.

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New Jersey couple fights to save historic lighthouse from rising river

New Jersey’s East Point Lighthouse spent decades guiding sailors through storms. Now, it is weathering a storm of its own. “The lighthouse basically is one good storm away from a major disaster,” said Nancy Patterson, President of the Maurice River Historical Society. She devotes her life to protecting New Jersey’s second oldest lighthouse, which is still active to this day. Patterson and her husband, Carl Tidy, spent time painting the staircase of the 171-year-old lighthouse Sunday morning. But that was the least of their problems.

East Point Lighthouse, NJ. USLHS photo by J, Candace Clifford.

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Listen to an interview with Nancy Patterson on the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast Light Hearted

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Oak Island Lighthouse (NC) to replace optic for first time in more than 60 years

Oak Island Lighthouse in North Carolina is set to get an updated look. It was built in 1958 and was once the brightest lighthouse in the country.

Oak Island Lighthouse, North Carolina. U.S. Lighthouse Society photo.

Its light has a distinctive characteristic that helps mariners know they’re near Oak Island and Caswell Beach. But the lighthouse hasn’t kept the same pattern for the past month due to a malfunction. It will be getting a new LED optic this weekend.

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Friends of Oak Island Lighthouse website

Listen to an interview with E. Gifford Stack of the Friends of Oak Island Lighthouse on the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast Light Hearted.

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Restoration work at Block Island Southeast Lighthouse (RI) honored

Block Island Southeast Lighthouse was among several Rhode Island landmarks to be recognized at the Rhody Awards for Historic Preservation, which was held at the Rhode Island State House in Providence on Sunday, Nov. 15.

Block Island Southeast Lighthouse is atop Mohegan Bluffs. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

The honor was specifically for the work that was done on the aging cast-iron platform and interior stairway of the lighthouse, as well as some work on the exterior. The restoration was performed by Abcore Restoration Co., which is based in Narragansett.

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Rehab On Hold as Currituck Beach Light (NC) Turns 145

Meghan Agresto has been the site manager for the Currituck Beach Lighthouse for the past 15 years and has extensive knowledge of the history of the lighthouse. As a project to repair and preserve the structure began earlier this year, new information has come to light. For example, cornices at the focal plane part of the tower had hidden the metal plates holding everything in place. Each plate is unique and bears an identifying mark.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse, NC. U.S. Lighthouse Society photo.

The project was long planned. Much of the work included repairing and maintaining the lighthouse, including things the public doesn’t generally see. The metal behind the cornices are an example. The restoration workers showed up in February, began their preliminary work and then left in March with plans to quickly return. “They left before the North Carolina lockdown. The week they were supposed to come back, they couldn’t. And they couldn’t because they were in New York on lockdown,” Agresto said.

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Battling cancer, longtime docent makes one more climb up Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse (FL)

Evelyne Bates has climbed to the top of the Jupiter Lighthouse countless times. But she’s never done it quite like she did on Tuesday. “Here we come!” she shouted triumphantly as she made her way up the first few steps.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, Florida. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont

Bates has spent 28 years volunteering at the lighthouse as a docent. During those years, Bates has given tours to thousands and thousands of people from around the world.

This climb was special because, at 90 years old, Bates thought her days of climbing to the top of the lighthouse were over. She’s a breast cancer survivor and now has metastatic bone cancer, stage 4 Her illness has forced her to stop giving tours.

But on Tuesday, the docent was back on the steps, sprinkling knowledge with every step.

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Listen to an interview with Josh Liller, Historian and Collections Manager for the Loxahatchee River Historical Society and Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, on the USLHS podcast Light Hearted.

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1,500 tons of rock placed to shore up Round Island Lighthouse (MI)

A contractor’s barge carrying 1,500 tons of big rock left its dock in northern Lake Michigan this week and headed toward Round Island Lighthouse, which sits just off the coast of Michigan’s Mackinac Island.

Round Island Lighthouse, Michigan. U.S. Lighthouse Society photo by Mike & Carol McKinney

Matt McMullen, chairman of the Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, said, “It’s just truly amazing to me still how many people were involved with this. From the biggest parts to the littlest parts, everything came together to pull this off this season.”

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Listen to an interview with Matt McMullen, chairman of the Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, on the USLHS podcast Light Hearted.

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Portugal’s iconic Alfanzina Lighthouse turns 100

U.S. Lighthouse Society photo

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Farol de Alfanzina in Carvoeiro (Lagoa), Portugal, celebrated its 100th anniversary on Tuesday, December 1.

To mark the milestone, the Association of Lighthouse Keepers and Lagoa Council are planning to carry out a series of activities at the iconic lighthouse throughout the coming year, including exhibitions, lectures, talks, artistic performances and guided tours. The program is to be revealed soon.

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Stevenson family lighthouses (Scotland) to be turned into art

Most of the towers erected in Scotland were constructed by successive generations of the Stevenson family. Adorning some of Scotland’s most starkly beautiful locations – from the Butt of Lewis to Bell Rock – the Stevenson lighthouses are among the nation’s greatest architectural and engineering marvels.

Bell Rock Lighthouse, Scotland. USLHS photo.

Now one of the UK’s leading architects is producing a series of drawings in tribute to the structures – and hopes his visual output might boost their fame and profile.

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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 D’Entremont at

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