Jul 7, 2011

For lovers of Lighthouses

Aficionados of lighthouses will find them just about everywhere. Not only are they along the coast but also along lakes, rivers, and canals. There are about 1000 lighthouses of various designs in the United States with Michigan having the most with over 150. Some are now automated, others are museums, and some even offer accommodations to the public. The oldest working American lighthouse is the one on Sandy Hook, New Jersey. When it was lit in 1764 it was only 500 feet from the tip of Sandy Hook. Due to changes in the shoreline it is now nearly 1.5 miles from the tip.

1. New York: Tibbets in Cape Vincent is located where the St. Lawrence meets Lake Ontario. The Lighthouse features the only original working Fresnel lens in Lake Ontario. In 1991 the Lighthouse Quarters became part of Hostelling International.
2. Maine: The Nubble Lighthouse in York is a complex of several buildings. Next to the 88-foot tower is the two-story, six-room lighthouse keeper’s house, a workshop, generator building, and the boat house. One unique aspect on the island is the Trolley – a basket on a cable – that allowed goods to be transported to the island.
3. Connecticut: Mystic Seaport Lighthouse is located on the grounds of the Museum of America and the Sea. It is a replica of the Brant Point Lighthouse on Nantucket. The original was built in 1746 and was the second operative lighthouse in New England.
4. New Jersey: Barnegat Lighthouse is known affectionately as ‘Old Barney.’ The name derived from the Dutch word, ‘Barendegat,’ which means ‘inlet of breakers.” It was operational for nearly 100 years. Today visitors can see the original Fresnel lens.
5. South Carolina: The Hunting Island Lighthouse is South Carolina’s only publicly accessible historic lighthouse in the state. At 132 feet high it rewards those willing to climb its 167 steps with breathtaking views of the Hunting Island State Park, the sweeping Lowcountry marshland and the Atlantic Ocean.
6. Florida: Visitors who are more than 44-inches in height may climb the Crooked River Lighthouse. The iron and steel structure guided fishermen and oystermen through the treacherous pass between Dog and St. George Islands, and along Florida's Panhandle for nearly 100 years. The keeper’s house is now a museum.
7. Michigan: Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was established in 1892, and is located at the southeast end the Mackinac Bridge. It was originally constructed in 1890 to signal fog, with the light being added in 1892. It was deactivated in 1957, and currently serves as a maritime museum.
8. Wisconsin: The Cana Lighthouse was built in 1869 and lit in 1870 and is now a museum. Step inside the Keepers' House where, beginning in 1869, the first of a number of lighthouse keepers tended to the light, which guided sailors and protected them from the dangerous shoals extending out from the island into Lake Michigan.
9. California: The Port Hueneme Lighthouse in Oxnard was established in 1874 to guide shipping through the Santa Barbara Channel which runs between the California coast and the Channel Islands. The two-story Victorian building has a twin at Point Fermin with both being lit on the same day in 1874.
10. And more: There are many lighthouse associations. Some protect one specific lighthouse, others list all those in an individual state, and others are organized by area. The United States Lighthouse Society’s web site, www.uslhs.org, list many of the associations.