Light Hearted

Light Hearted 149 – White Island, New Hampshire, and the Lighthouse Kids

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.

Sue Reynolds (in the blue jacket) with her son Pete Reynolds (rowing) and two of the Lighthouse Kids, circa 2002. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.
In this photo from 2002, the Lighthouse Kids measure the cracks in the exterior of White Island Lighthouse. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.
The Lighthouse Kids in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 2005. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

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.

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One thought on “Light Hearted 149 – White Island, New Hampshire, and the Lighthouse Kids

  1. Beautiful lighthouse. My son is Ed Latta and he had some great experiences while in the U S Coast Guard staying at the White Island Lighthouse .

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