The Isles of Shoals are a cluster of nine islands located several miles off the seacoast of New Hampshire and southern Maine. A lighthouse on White Island — the southernmost of the island group — went into service in early 1821. It was a stone tower, later encased with wood and shingled. A new 58-foot brick lighthouse tower was built on White Island in 1859, and the new tower was fitted with a second-order Fresnel lens.
In 1993, White Island became the property of the State of New Hampshire. Over the years that followed, the lighthouse tower developed major cracks in its exterior, mostly on the northeast side that bears the brunt of storms. The good news is that Sue Reynolds, a seventh-grade science teacher at the North Hampton School on the New Hampshire seacoast, started a nonprofit organization called the Lighthouse Kids to save the lighthouse. The effort led to a 2005 restoration.
There are four guests in this episode. Sue Reynolds was a public school educator for 40 years and for more than 20 years was the captain of the tour boat Uncle Oscar. She was also the founder of the Lighthouse Kids. Nancy Frye Bergeron is a longtime resident of the New Hampshire Seacoast who serves on the board of directors of the Lighthouse Kids, and she’s also an author. Ed Latta was a Coast Guard light keeper on White Island in the early 1980s. And Kyla Cunningham, formerly Kyla Briggs, was a Lighthouse Kid circa 2002 and 2003.
Listen to the podcast with this player:
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