Historic lighthouses in the Florida Keys being sold at auction
A trio of 19th-Century cast-iron structures in the Florida Keys, each with a keeper’s quarters, are being sold by the U.S. General Services Administration. The catch: They’re at least six miles offshore. Bidding began at $15,000 on Feb. 22 and increments were set at $2,500. The land beneath each house doesn’t come with a sale, and two are in preservation areas that contain protected marine species – meaning no fishing.
The oldest is the Carysfort Reef Lighthouse, built in 1852 and in service as a navigational beacon until 2015. It’s about six miles off Key Largo, within a protected area, and has a 124-foot tower in an octagonal screw-pile design and a landing dock. Bidding ends April 2. Then there’s the Sombrero Key Lighthouse, built in 1858 and also in use until 2015. Soaring 142 feet from the waves seven miles off Marathon, it’s the tallest lighthouse in the Keys and its original Fresnel lens is on display at the Key West Lighthouse Museum. Bidding lasts until April 29. The third lighthouse is the 1880 American Shoal Lighthouse, a 109-foot tower about six miles from Sugarloaf Key.
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Marblehead Lighthouse (OH) turns 200 this year
Plans are underway to celebrate an Ohio landmark’s birthday. Volunteers representing the Marblehead Lighthouse Bicentennial Anniversary Committee announced a series of family-friendly events to commemorate its 200th anniversary occurring later this year.
The lighthouse, lifesaving station, gift shop and museum are all open for tours from Memorial Day through Labor Day, seven days a week, from noon to 4 p.m. To stay updated on dates and times of events, visit the Marblehead Lighthouse Website at marbleheadlighthouseohio.org
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New book on Bolivar Point Lighthouse, Texas
The historic Bolivar Point Lighthouse turns 150 years old in 2022 and is in dire need of preservation. The landmark lighthouse has survived numerous natural disasters, including the infamous storms of 1900 and 1915, Hurricane Ike and hurricanes before such storms had names. A new book, The Bolivar Point Lighthouse by Denise Adams and Russell Autrey, is a collection of beautiful photographs of the lighthouse and personal memories of those who grew up seeing the lighthouse every day.
A book signing will be held from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, March 6 on the grounds of the lighthouse. The event is being hosted by the Bolivar Point Lighthouse Foundation’s chairperson, Amy Maxwell Chase, and her husband, Pete, as well as members of the foundation. Proceeds from the sale are being donated to the foundation to help in the restoration effort.
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Concord Point Lighthouse (MD) is lit up to honor Ukraine
Concord Point Lighthouse in Havre de Grace, Maryland, is illuminated in blue and yellow in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Blue and yellow are the colors of the flag of Ukraine, which is currently being invaded by Russia.
“By order of the Mayor and City Council, Concord Point Lighthouse has been illuminated blue and yellow in solidarity with the people of Ukraine,” city officials said Monday.
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Whitley Bay’s St Mary’s Lighthouse (England) to turn blue and yellow in solidarity with Ukraine
As the world unites in condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the North East’s most iconic landmarks will be lighting up in solidarity. From Wednesday night St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay will be illuminated in the national colours of Ukraine – blue and yellow.
At the same time North Tyneside Council’s Killingworth site will also be lighting up in blue and yellow in support of the people of Ukraine, whose lives have in the past week been torn apart by war. The Ukrainian flag will also be flown from the council’s main offices across the borough, as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s troops continue their advance on Kyiv and other major cities.
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Point Sur Light Station (CA): Reopened and restoring
In early March 2020, Point Sur Light Station welcomed its largest volunteer training class in years. Approximately 80 people were ready to give their time to the historic site. But the first day of training took an unexpected turn.
“We were introducing ourselves to each other, and the (state park) ranger came in and said, ‘You can’t meet’” because of COVID-19 safety protocols, recalled Carol O’Neil, a volunteer at Point Sur Lightstation and historian of the Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers. California State Parks owns Point Sur Historic State Park and manages volunteers while the nonprofit CCLK supports activities.
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Whale of a Day Celebration returns to Point Vicente, CA, on April 9
The 37th annual festival celebrating the migration of the Pacific gray whale from its summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas in Alaska, to the winter breeding and calving grounds in Baja California, will be held in person for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event will feature children’s games and crafts, tours of the Point Vicente Interpretive Center museum, live entertainment and an array of marine-themed vendors and organizations, plus food trucks, a beer and wine garden and a silent auction and raffle. Tours of the Point Vicente Lighthouse will not be offered at this year’s event, as the lighthouse remains closed by the U.S. Coast Guard due to its COVID-19 protocols.
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Free tours of Hook Lighthouse (Ireland) for all Patricks and Patricias this St. Patrick’s Day
Hook Lighthouse, at the tip of the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, is offering visitors named ‘Patrick’ and ‘Patricia’ the chance to enjoy a free tour this St. Patrick’s Day.
The medieval lighthouse is celebrating all that is uniquely Irish from a green theme at the café and a celebration of people names Paddy, Patrick, Pat and Patricia plus there will be a Snake Hunt at 2 pm and 3 pm on the lighthouse lawns.
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Restoration of 186-year-old lighthouse in Pondichery (Puducherry), India, picks up pace
The restoration of the 186-year-old lighthouse, a Grade A listed heritage structure, on the Beach Promenade has picked up pace. Deactivated in the 1970s, the iconic structure finally got its due in 2020 after the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) commenced work to restore the structure. The work would be completed soon, a senior official said.
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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