Lighthouse News of the Week

News of the week January 6, 2023

New exhibit shines light on legendary Santa Cruz (CA) lighthouse keeper

SANTA CRUZ — Local artist, teacher and author Lynn Guenther has been fascinated by historic Santa Cruz lighthouse keeper Laura Hecox for more than two decades.

Lighthouse Keeper Laura Hecox – courtesy Kraig Anderson collection

In addition to keeping the light from 1883 to 1917, Hecox was a naturalist, activist and collector whose donation of about 2,000 artifacts and specimens to the city of Santa Cruz in 1904 became the foundation for what is now known as the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.

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Repairs being done to Cape Lookout (NC) Lighthouse ferry dock, service altered

The most recent winter storm did some damage to the ferry dock at Cape Lookout Lighthouse. 

Cape Lookout, NC – US Coast Guard Historian’s Office

Park staff reviewed the damage and determined the dock should be closed for public safety. 

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St. Joseph Lighthouse in Michigan turned into giant ice sculpture after being frozen solid by storm

A lighthouse is turned into a spectacular ice sculpture by the weather bomb-cyclone which has hit the United States.

St. Joseph, MI – US Coast Guard Historian’s Office

More than 60 people have died in the terrifying blizzards which reached a peak over the Christmas weekend – and mark the worst winter storm in the country in two generations.

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Absecon Lighthouse (NJ) seeks volunteer greeter

ATLANTIC CITY – The Absecon Lighthouse is seeing a volunteer to serve as lighthouse keeper.

Absecon, NJ – courtesy David Zapatka

According to a Facebook post, the non-profit organization is looking for a volunteer to welcome visitors to the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey.

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Plans to upgrade Needles (Isle of Wight – UK) lighthouse revealed

Plans to revamp a landmark Isle of Wight lighthouse have been unveiled. 

The Grade II red-and-white-striped tower at the Needles could be upgraded as part of a project that would update navigation aids, as well as electrical and mechanical systems.

Needles, UK – USLHS archives

The existing floor and door of the lighthouse, which dates to 1859, would also be replaced.

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Cruise To See Strombolicchio, Italy’s Most Unique Lighthouse

About 1.5 kilometers from Stromboli’s northeastern edge lies a sea stack known as Strombolicchio, believed to have been produced by volcanic activity. Sharp cliffs that plunge straight into the water give the island its distinctive appearance. The mountain’s slopes are of great ecological significance since they shelter numerous endangered species of plants and animals.

Strombolicchio, Italy – courtesy wikimediacommons

The underwater walls descend roughly 50 meters to a sandy floor and are inhabited by encrusting algae, sponges, marine annelids, bryozoans, and gorgonians. As a bonus, the Italian Navy owns and operates a lighthouse atop Strombolicchio, adding another attraction to the island.

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First and last female keeper of 300-year-old Boston lighthouse prepares to farewell job she loves

Waves crashed as the wind whipped and howled, sending eddies of snow and ice towards the two figures, illuminated by the 22-metre lighthouse.

Sally Snowman – courtesy USPS / Dan Afzal

Instead of being frightened by the wild Nor’easter, Sally Snowman – the first, and last, female keeper of the Boston Light – was exhilarated.

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Sarah Cleverly Atwood, Keeper of the Mayo Beach (MA) Light

With the April 1861 bombardment of Fort Sumter — the Union garrison in Charleston Harbor — civil war became a certainty. Appeals were made in the Northern states for troops, and in Massachusetts hundreds answered that call, among them a 40-year-old mariner named William Newcomb Atwood from a family that had been in Wellfleet for generations.

Sarah Atwood – courtesy Wellfleet Historical Society

Atwood, the son of William Atwood of Wellfleet and Polly Ryder Bush of Provincetown, was born in 1821. Living in Boston, he was married for the first time in 1843 to Eliza Jane Nickerson. Their son, Joseph Harding Atwood, was born in 1845. But Eliza Jane died that same year — likely from childbirth complications.

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Bustard Head Lighthouse (Australia) near Agnes Water a relaxing place for volunteers to house-sit

Sandra Pugh fell in love with lighthouses when she was a child in the 1960s.

Bustard Head Australia – courtesy

“We had a girl come and join us [at school] from Bustard Head where she lived,” Ms Pugh said.

“I just thought it would have been an amazing childhood.”

Bustard Head Lighthouse is perched on top of a remote coastal headland, about halfway between the tourist town of Agnes Water and the industrial city of Gladstone in central Queensland.

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Conservationists hail major victory in a decade-plus effort to preserve Plum Island (NY)

An effort to preserve a tiny island off the tip of Long Island got a major boost in the recently passed federal omnibus spending bill.

Plum Island, NY – US Coast Guard Historian’s Office

Language in a tiny portion of that $1.7 trillion spending package directs multiple federal agencies to brief Congress on potential costs for conserving and managing Plum Island.

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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

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