National Park Service launches website for updates on Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (NC) renovations
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will undergo a complete makeover beginning this spring, and the National Park Service has launched a website to keep the public updated about the renovation. The lighthouse’s iconic black and white swirl will be repainted, the metal window frames will be repaired or replaced and the light itself may be changed to an LED optic. The park service is also looking into returning the first-order Fresnel lens, which now greets visitors to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum nearby.
The National Park Service has received funding for the massive repair project from Congress, and the items that need to be addressed stem from the results of a 2014 Comprehensive Condition Assessment Report, the Island Free Press reported last year.
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Structural study to be done on Hudson-Athens Lighthouse (NY)
A $4,000 technical assistance grant from the Preservation League of New York State will support an engineering study on the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. The lighthouse stands in the Hudson River between the city of Hudson and town of Athens. To create its foundation, nearly 200 wooden pilings were driven into the riverbed and surrounded by a slope of stones in 1982.
Dredging to make the channels deeper for large vessels has contributed to scouring away enough of the underwater protective stones to weaken the pilings. Without work to strengthen the foundation, the lighthouse itself will eventually be in danger.
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Piedras Blancas (CA) lighthouse tours are back after COVID closure
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has launched a truncated tour schedule about 11 months after Piedras Blancas Lighthouse closed for scheduled tours due to coronavirus precautions.
The Piedras Blancas Light Station tour experience now is somewhat different than it was before the COVID-19 closure, and more restricted than it likely will be once pandemic restrictions are completely lifted, according to Ryan Cooper, BLM light station manager.
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New replica fifth-order Fresnel lens installed new exhibit at Piney Point Lighthouse Museum (MD)
The St. Mary’s County Museum Division, which oversees several museums and historic sites throughout the county, has added yet another brand-new exhibit to Piney Point Lighthouse Museum — a replica fifth-order Fresnel lens.
This intricate and unique lens, an exact reproduction of the original apparatus that once lit Piney Point Lighthouse’s tower and guided mariners to safety on the Potomac, was purchased from, created and installed by Florida-based company Artworks Florida Classic Fresnel Lenses, LLC, after several years of fundraising by the Friends of St. Clement’s Island & Piney Point Museums. The reproduction lens is a complex and intricate device and costs around $30,000 to produce.
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Cordouan Lighthouse is France’s 2021 candidate for a place on the Unesco World Heritage list
Cordouan is the France’s oldest lighthouse and is still in operation. It is regarded as an architectural masterpiece and was classified as a historic monument in 1862, the same year as Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. “Henry III ordered it to be built at the end of the 16th century,” Florie Alard, heritage curator for the Drac Nouvelle-Aquitaine regional directorate of cultural affairs, said. “He had just become king and the position of the lighthouse at the entrance to France was perfect to show the world his power.”
The lighthouse took 25 years to build, as work was often delayed due to war, and construction could only take place in the summer. By 1722, the building was suffering from the continual pounding of the ocean. Cordouan is also important in lighthouse history because in 1823 it became the first to be equipped with a revolutionary new lens invented by Augustin Fresnel – the lens that saved a million ships. “It really deserves to be on the Unesco World Heritage list and for more people to learn about it,” Alard said. The decision to include the lighthouse among the 1,121 sites in the world on the Unesco World Heritage list will be taken in June or July.
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Klaipėda Lighthouse (Lithuania) to open to the public
The Klaipėda Lighthouse will be opened to the public this year. The Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration (LTSA), which manages the oldest and principal Lithuanian lighthouse, has decided to hand it over to Klaipėda City Municipality.
Once the municipality has taken over the lighthouse and opened it to the public, its function – to help ships enter the port – would be retained. Specialists from the LTSA Maritime Department would continue to take care of the navigation equipment.
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Historic abandoned Inishmore Lighthouse (Ireland) goes on sale for €550,000
An abandoned lighthouse on the largest Aran Island off Galway Bay is for sale. The Inishmore Lighthouse and its ruined buildings command a view of the Atlantic from the highest point on Inis Mór.
The site, owned by an Aran Island resident, sits on about five acres and takes its name from one of Inis Mór’s ring forts, Dún Eochalla. Dún Eochalla was constructed with an inner stone fort and outer rampart, as one of a series of ring forts on the island.
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St. Mary’s Lighthouse (England) lit up to mark LGBT+ History Month
St Mary’s Lighthouse is being lit up in rainbow colors all this week. LGBT+ History Month celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) people, their history, lives and their experiences in the wider community This year, North Tyneside Council has been flying its new Progress Pride Flag outside its council offices throughout February.
North Tyneside Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE, said: “We want to ensure North Tyneside is a place where people feel safe and no one experiences discrimination or disadvantage because of their characteristics, background or personal circumstances. We are a council that values and promotes equality and inclusivity, and this month’s celebration is a great opportunity to remind us all that promoting equality and challenging discrimination is everybody’s business.”
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Twin Lights Historical Society (NJ) keeps interest in site alive with internet efforts
For six decades, the Twin Lights Historical Society thrived where other organizations sometimes struggled, drawing a steady stream of visitors with the spectacular panoramic vista from its two towers, as well as a superb small museum and eclectic museum store. During the first few months of the pandemic, trustee Mark Stewart dug into the society’s immense collection of nautical, lifesaving and New Jersey cultural artifacts and began posting several images each week on Facebook.
The society launched a daily Facebook series titled “Twin Lights People,” which featured mini-bios of individuals with a connection to the lighthouse — often direct, yet just as often tenuous. The “Twin Lights People” series drew more than 350,000 views between July and October, not including the hundreds of “shares” it generated, and the society’s social media following increased by more than 25%, enabling the organization to keep in touch with its fans and update them as reopening day approaches.
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New tours at Split Rock Lighthouse (MN)
Visitors to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park can go back inside the towering structure on Lake Superior starting March 13, when park officials will begin offering a $25 guided tour of the lighthouse and keeper’s house. It will be the only way to go inside the lighthouse, officials said in a statement.
The 45-minute tour will be limited to 10 people at a time to ensure COVID safety. It will be offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. on Sundays during March and April, with more tours added starting in May.
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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 Jeremy@uslhs.org
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