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Lighthouse News of the Week – April 30, 2021

Warwick applies for grant to fix Conimicut Shoal Lighthouse (RI)

Conimicut Shoal Lighthouse is often featured in videos and magazines promoting Rhode Island tourism, but after decades without any significant improvements, the historic beacon is in desperate need of repairs. The lighthouse is located roughly a half-mile off the coast of Warwick, and the city is now searching for funding to repair it. Warwick took ownership of the lighthouse about 17 years ago, but a $500,000 federal grant to make repairs never materialized. Since then, storms, waves and its age continue to take their toll on the Rhode Island icon.

Conimicut Lighthouse in 2007. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

The city recently applied for a Community Project Funding grant through Rep. Jim Langevin’s office. In the grant application, the city said the money would be used to cover the costs of weatherization, painting, improvements to the jetty, railing replacements and window replacements.

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Click here to hear an interview with former Conimicut lighthouse keeper Frederick Mikkelsen

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Town of Oak Bluffs (MA) approves lead testing near East Chop Lighthouse

The Oak Bluffs select board approved lead testing to be conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard on town land adjacent to the East Chop Lighthouse where it believes contamination has spread. The approval gives the Coast Guard access to several small areas outside the 60-by-60-foot parcel of land it owns surrounding the lighthouse, on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

East Chop Lighthouse. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

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National Lighthouse Museum (NY) resumes in-person events, kicks off lineup with Staten Island scavenger hunt

The National Lighthouse Museum is ready for its comeback. The museum, based in St. George on Staten Island, New York, plans to kick off its in-person events this month with a scavenger hunt titled “The Great Staten Island Lighthouse Hunt” on Sunday, May 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Courtesy of National Lighthouse Museum

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National Lighthouse Museum site

Interview with National Lighthouse Museum Executive Director Linda Dianto

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Volunteers live it up as lighthouse keepers at Battery Point (CA)

Rising high above the surf, the Battery Point Lighthouse has been a fixture of Crescent City since it was built in 1856. But who lives there? Meet volunteer keepers: Donna Butchino and Kittie Harrison. As the current live-in keepers, Butchino and Harrison are responsible for maintaining the lighthouse and its grounds. Beyond replacing the beacon lightbulb once every couple of months, keeper duties include landscaping, painting and in non-COVID times — lighthouse tours and gift shop duties. For now, they give keeper talks instead, which provides visitors with the history of the lighthouse, without the actual tour. The keepers live in the two-bedroom lighthouse for one month, and then a set of new volunteers take their place.


Battery Point Lighthouse, California. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

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Mukilteo Historical Society (WA) hosts May Day sale at Lighthouse Park on Saturday

Looking to pick up a gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or graduation? Then head down to the Mukilteo Lighthouse at Lighthouse Park on Saturday. The Mukilteo Historical Society is hosting a May Day sale from noon to 3 p.m., May 1, at the Mukilteo Lighthouse.

Mukilteo Lighthouse, Washington. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

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Browns Point Lighthouse (WA) is falling apart, but there are plans to restore its glory

“This is the welcoming beacon for maritime traffic into the port,” Harnish said this week of the historic Browns Point Lighthouse in Washington, which dates back to a lantern first placed on a pole in 1887 and now serves as the centerpiece of the 4-acre park that bears its name. “It’s very unique,” Harnish said with conviction, convinced the tower would have stories to tell, cataloging the lives of early light keepers who kept it running at the turn of the 20th century and the voyages of the massive ships it still welcomes to the Port of Tacoma today.

Browns Point Lighthouse, Washington. Photo by Chad Kaiser.

There’s just one problem. The lighthouse — a squared Art Deco tower constructed in 1933 — “looks terrible,” Harnish said. Although a functioning LED light still shines atop it, over the years the landmark has slipped into neglect and disrepair. Plywood now covers the windows, lead paint chips off its facade and the lantern encasement that once crowned the 34-foot-tall tower disappeared long ago.

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Montauk Point Lighthouse (NY) protection projection to begin next month

Work is set to begin next month to shore up the land around the Montauk Point Lighthouse. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has announced more than $28 million in federal funding for the project.

A U.S. Lighthouse Society tour group at Montauk Lighthouse, New York.

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National Park Service seeks input on Ocracoke Light Station (NC)

There will be two public meetings next month for Cape Hatteras National Seashore staff to hear site preservation ideas for the Ocracoke Light Station. Staff is seeking input on how to sustainably preserve the historic resources at the Ocracoke Light Station in the wake of recent storm damage and in consideration of future impacts from climate change and sea level rise, while providing visitor access to the site.

Ocracoke Light Station, North Carolina. U.S. Lighthouse Society photo.

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Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses (NH) launches 250th Anniversary Art Contest

Portsmouth Harbor Light Station in New Castle, New Hampshire, began service on June 8, 1771, as the first lighthouse north of Boston in the American colonies. This year Friends of Portsmouth Lighthouses (FPHL) will be celebrating the 250th anniversary with multiple events. Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, has launched an art contest that will run from May 1 through May 31. It is open to children and adults in four different age categories.

Painting of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse by Donald Mong.

Winners in all four categories will receive a private guided tour of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse for up to eight people. Two grand prize winners (one child and one adult) will also receive a goodie package of books and souvenirs from FPHL. The winners will be announced during a virtual 250th anniversary event on June 6. A gallery of entries will also be posted on the FPHL website and Facebook page.

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New book “The Foghorn’s Lament” by Jennifer Lucy Allan

The word obsession is overused. People say they are obsessed with something when what they mean is they have a passing interest. But Jennifer Lucy Allan is truly obsessed with foghorns, those obsolete warning honks around our coasts – not to be confused with ships’ horns. This esoteric obsession has taken her from Shetland to San Francisco, to a PhD on foghorns, a radio program, and now this original and absorbing book, which is much more interesting than a study of foghorns has any right to be.

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Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 (MA) is home!

For the second time since 2011-12, the LV-112 was relaunched from the historic Fitzgerald Shipyard in Chelsea, Massachusetts, after slightly more than seven months of a major and comprehensive $1.4 million structural restoration.

LV-112 is turned around, and the process of transporting the ship back to its homeport berth in East Boston begins with the aid of the Mantis and a smaller companion push boat. Photo credit: Ron Janard

The bow section of Nantucket LV-112 suffered the most stress during the historic lightship’s 39 years at sea as a commissioned lightship and serving in WWII as an armed examination vessel (1942-45). It was virtually always anchored in 200 feet of ocean on the remote and treacherous Nantucket Shoals Lightship Station, taking severe beatings from the constant banging and tugging of the heavy anchor chain, holding the ship in mountainous seas caused by hurricanes, gale winds and winter storms.

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Click here for an interview with Bob Mannino, president of the United States Lightship Museum.

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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

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