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Beacons From the past - Lighthouses I've seen

Bolivar Lighthouse

The Bolivar Lighthouse was built by the federal government in 1852 and was later dismantled by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. It was rebuilt in 1872 and was the beacon that guided thousands of mariners into port until 

Point Bolivar Light

The lighthouse withstood three of the worst storms hitting the peninsula; the 1900 and 1915 storms and Hurricane Ike in 2008. During the 1900 and 1915 storms, the light-house harbored a number of peninsula residents, saving them from certain death. Ac-cording to an inspector’s report after the 1900 storm, over 6,000 lives were lost on Galveston Island.

The Bolivar Lighthouse was officially retired on May 29, 1933, after 61 years of service. The lamps and reflector lenses have been reassembled and are a key artifact in the On the Water exhibit displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The Fresnel lens, named for French scientist and inventor Augustin Fresnel, could be seen for miles.

Life at the Lighthouse

Life in the Bolivar Lighthouse was lonely and somewhat monotonous. Mrs. H.C. Claiborne, wife of the first lighthouse keeper said, “Life at the lighthouse is very lonely and friendless. There is very little visiting because travel is nonexistent from the point to Galveston. We pass most of our time by reading books.”

Entries in the Lighthouse keeper’s journal suggest a busy and repetitive schedule kept by the keeper and his family. On November 1, 1902, the keeper’s wife wrote, “Scrubbing and washing floors and steps to lighthouse.” “Working all day cleaning brass and plate glass,” was her en-try in July, 1903. A very cold winter in February, 1903 yielded this entry, “Lots of frozen fish in sight.” The keeper’s wife wrote in May, 1903, “Saved Jack Houleham’s life as he was almost dead from drowning.”

Post-Retirement and Stardom

In 1968, the made-for-television movie My Sweet Charlie, starring Patty Duke and Al Freeman, Jr. was filmed at the lighthouse. Ms. Duke won an Emmy Award for her work in the ground-breaking movie. In the opening scene, Ms. Duke is seen walking up the road to the lighthouse.  

Mary and I visited Galveston in 2014 and took a ferry boat over to the area around the lighthouse. We also visited some of the fishing villages in the area. This area is again has been hammered by a tropical storm. 

 

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SUNDAY - NOVEMBER 20, 2022 1:10PM EST

 

Hi @DaveMcK thank you for sharing the information about you and Mary's Yaquina Bay Lighthouse Retirement trip. Luv your lighthouse pictures. Nicole 🙂

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Yaquina Bay Lighthouse on the Central Oregon Coast. We were there in the fall of 2009. It was one stop of our retirement visit to the West Coast.

The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse is 2 hours from Portland, in the central Oregon Coast town of Newport.

It sits on a spectacular bluff overlooking the entrance to the Yaquina River, and is the last wooden lighthouse still standing in Oregon.

It's free to visit the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, although donations are appreciated.

We Toured the two story Yaquina Bay Lighthouse which had a lot of furniture from the period it was built. We then head down to the basement to see the gift shop and fascinating movie on the history of the area.  Cover off two lighthouses in one day, with a visit to the even more popular Yaquina Head Lighthouse, 15 minutes drive north.

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Sherwood Point Lighthouse
The last manned lighthouse on the Great Lakes, Sherwood Point was established in 1883 and automated in 1983. It is only open to the public during the Lighthouse Walk, held the second weekend in June. The rest of the year, the facility is operated as a rest-and-recuperation area for active members of the U.S. military on a rental basis.

 

 

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✈SUNDAY - NOVEMBER 20, 2022 1:15PM EST✈

 

Hi @DaveMcK :

 

Thank you for sharing you and Mary's Retirement trip to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.

 

Luv all the pictures you have posted. I have never been to one.

 

Nicole 🙂

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I have been to Sanibel Island but didn't see the Lighthouse.

Before and After - It is a very sad day for “Sanibel Island Lighthouse.” ALL of the outbuildings/Keepers quarters dating back to 1860 are gone forever! All that is left is the tower. She remains and stands tall in all her glory. All of us from the Lighthouse community are praying for the safety of everyone on Sanibel Island and all over Florida.

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Stories of the Door County Shoreline

Door County lighthouses, many of which were built in the 1800s, have saved countless lives as they guided ships to safety. While the lighthouses are impressive when seen by land, there’s nothing quite like getting out on the lake to see these icons from the water just as the early ship captains did as they navigated their way to safety. So whether you’re a maritime buff, architecture aficionado, or just on the hunt for vacation photo-ops, all 11 lighthouses are must-see attractions. 

See a link below for history of Lighthouse's

 

I have visited many of these Door County Lighthouses over the years. 

 

 

Link: https://www.doorcounty.com/experience/lighthouses/

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My photos of some of the lighthouse I have taken visited to over the years. 

 

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Over the years I have explored Door County’s most iconic lighthouse a couple of times, which in 2019 celebrated 150 years of standing watch on the shore of Lake Michigan. Ride a hay-wagon over the causeway to explore the island, including the 89-foot-tall light tower, oil storage house and lighthouse keeper’s home. The highlight of my Cana Island first  visit was climbing the 97 steps of the tower’s spiral staircase to reach the gallery deck, which delivers a sweeping panoramic view of Lake Michigan and the Door County peninsula.

 

 

Cana Island Lighthouse County Park is a shining star in the Door County park system.  Not only is it unusual to have a lighthouse as a county park, it is also unusual to have a lighthouse so well maintained to    offer as one.  In 2008, with the opening of the lighthouse tower for the public to climb and the magnificent view to enjoy, the number of visitors to the park has soared.  Many people are drawn to Cana to catch a glimpse as well as many photos of an era long past and an 86-feet high view of Lake Michigan that is incomparable to any other location along the Peninsula.

For a modest admission fee, visitors can climb the 102 steps of the spectacular tower, experience the same captivating view from the cat walk that the lighthouse keepers took in and peer up at a working Fresnel lens.  The lens gathers light from a series of circular prisms, creating a continuous beam of light.

Although the lighthouse is the main attraction, visitors can also enjoy the natural beauty of the island’s rocky shoreline and tall evergreen trees.  Although there are no designated trails, footpaths lead out to the shore.

The area is also popular with divers, who enjoy viewing the wreck of the Frank O’Connor, found just off the island’s shore.  The 300-foot steamer built in 1892 burned to the waterline in 1919.  The steel components—propeller, shaft, boilers, winches, anchors remain at the bottom of the lake for viewing. The area waters also offer a beautiful paddle in a canoe or kayak.



History: 

Built in 1869 for $12,792.55, Cana Island Lighthouse’s tower, made of cream city brick, was the tallest building in Door County.   The first official lighting of the beacon was on January 28.  Verified by telescope during the first year of operation, 4,862 ships passed the station during daylight hours.  Keepers filled the oil and kept the beacon shining until the lighthouse was automated in 1944.  It remains a functioning navigational light of the Great Lakes. 

Residents of the island not only included past lighthouse keepers and assistants, but also the McCarthy family, who leased a summer residence from the Coast Guard for 25 years starting in 1945, and Louis and Rosie Janda, who served as caretakers from 1976 until 1995. 

The oil house once stored the fuel for the lighthouse lamp; it is the only six-sided stone structure of its kind in the Great Lakes. 

Cana Island Lighthouse was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. 

On April 27, 2006, a new era began for Cana Island. The Bureau of Land Management transferred ownership of the land free of charge to the County of Door to be used as a park as well as to preserve the lighthouse while allowing public access to it.  To fulfill the stipulations, the County of Door partners with Door County Maritime Museum to manage the island and lighthouse, something Door County Maritime Museum had done in partnership with the US Coast Guard since 1970.  Fees generated are shared but designated for lighthouse preservation and restoration. 

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This is a great place to get some great photos.

 

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Cana island Light Station, Oil House, Cana Island Road, Baileys Harbor, Door County, WI white stone building next to large pine.

 

 

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Split Rock Lighthouse is a lighthouse located southwest of Silver Bay, Minnesota, USA on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The structure was designed by lighthouse engineer Ralph Russell Tinkham and was completed in 1910 by the United States Lighthouse Service at a cost of $75,000, including the buildings and the land. It is considered one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the United States.

These are winter internet photos of this spectacularly scenic lighthouse! The seen in the summer was also worth the trip.

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Eagle Bluff Light House Museum is OPEN! Our hours are 7 days a week from 10:00am – 3:30pm!

**Please note that Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Museum does have private tours daily and we operate on an arrival basis. Oftentimes these tours fall around 10:00am – 11:00am and we remain closed for these tours. Please plan accordingly!

10249 Shore Road • Fish Creek • Wisconsin

As the Civil War’s firestorm was extinguished, and the North and South stood once more united, pioneers discovered the riches of northeastern Wisconsin. But the trek westward from the cultured east coast was challenging, an arduous journey of hundreds of miles across the frontier. Traveling through the St. Lawrence Seaway, down the Erie Canal, and through the Great Lakes, the schooners and steamboats carried immigrants and settlers. The journey was long and difficult…the waters dangerous.  If not for the lighthouses hugging the shoreline, clinging to rocky bluffs, or speckling solitary islands, many a ship would never have seen dry land.

Perched on a bluff 76 feet above Green Bay’s glistening waters, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse’s lamp brought solace to many a sailor suffering through a storm’s gale or the dark of night. Today the tradition of the lighthouse continues. Restored to its past glory, by the Door County Historical Society, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse is a tribute to the keepers who kept the lamp burning on many a dark and stormy night.

Guiding guests through the lighthouse and its grounds, knowledgeable tour guides share the personal stories of the keepers who manned the light from 1868 – 1926. Decorated with some of the keepers’ original furnishings, as well as authentic period antiques, the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse tells the story of not only the men who toiled through the night, but also their wives and children.

A visit to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Museum provides a glimpse into the past…the maritime and navigational history that is the peninsula’s legacy to the future. In memory of the past keepers and their dedication to providing safe passage, that Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Museum continues in their tradition.

As the Civil War’s firestorm was extinguished, and the North and South stood once more united, pioneers discovered the riches of northeastern Wisconsin. But the trek westward from the cultured east coast was challenging, an arduous journey of hundreds of miles across the frontier. Traveling through the St. Lawrence Seaway, down the Erie Canal, and through the Great Lakes, the schooners and steamboats carried immigrants and settlers. The journey was long and difficult…the waters dangerous.  If not for the lighthouses hugging the shoreline, clinging to rocky bluffs, or speckling solitary islands, many a ship would never have seen dry land.

Perched on a bluff 76 feet above Green Bay’s glistening waters, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse’s lamp brought solace to many a sailor suffering through a storm’s gale or the dark of night. Today the tradition of the lighthouse continues. Restored to its past glory, by the Door County Historical Society, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse is a tribute to the keepers who kept the lamp burning on many a dark and stormy night.

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Posted by Dave the Lighthouse Keeper
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