Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Lighthouse for the Old Bremerton Navy Yard

Not many miles from my home is the busy Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. It had roots beginning in the 1880s, I'm told, thanks to the entrepreneurial efforts of William Bremer. He sold land to the U.S. Government to establish a shipyard in his town, knowing it would create jobs and put the place on the map. (Postcard above shows the shipyard c1916.)

Bremer would be thrilled to see it today. It's huge and is probably the largest employer in Kitsap County. Below is an image of the giant Hammerhead Crane built for the shipyard in the 1930s. (Courtesy PSNS)

In 1895, business at the shipyard was on the upswing. Thus, the U.S. Lighthouse Board decided to put a lighthouse at Orchard Point on the south side of the entrance to Rich Passage. It was through this waterway that all vessels had to travel to reach Sinclair Inlet and then the shipyard. It was often a very foggy portal. But money was tight in Washington, D.C., so only a lens-lantern on a post was funded. A local lamplighter was hired to keep the lens-lantern clean, fueled with kerosene, and shining bright.

Above is an example of a lens-lantern like the one that would have been used at Orchard Point. The post beacon below is similar, only Orchard Point's post would have stood on shore. A pulley system allowed the lamplighter to raise and lower the lens-lantern. (Photos from Chad Kaiser)

Some changes occurred in the early part of the twentieth century, including a report in 1904 that the "light was suspended from a tree" on the point. The small beacon experienced several other evolutions of platforms.

Then, in 1929, the site was given a real lighthouse. A 20-foot-tall pyramidal reinforced concrete tower was built on the point by the crew of the lighthouse tender Heather. (She is pictures below courtesy of the Coast Guard Museum NW.) The beacon was transferred into the new tower and a reed foghorn was installed. Cost for the new sentinel and horn was $3,280. They went into service on February 26, 1929--86 years ago today!

The Lighthouse Service Bulletin, an in-house publication for the employees of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, reported that same year:

"The station is in the charge of two brothers who live about a half-mile distant but in sight of the light. Under ordinary conditions, they visit the station once a week to wind the clock and clean and oil the light and fog signal apparatus. When necessary, they can start or stop the fog signal with a push-button control located at their dwelling."

Coast Guard 13th District photo of the Orchard Point concrete lighthouse about 1970. Note the fog sensor on the top (small box on the left on a post) and the beacon in the center top. By 1970 a plastic automated beacon had been installed to replace the old lens-lantern. What fun it must have been climbing that ladder to check on the lighthouse!

Orchard Point Lighthouse still stands today and continues to shine a light for shipping headed into Rich Passage. It sits on gated property owned by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. It's an especially important navigational aid for the Bremerton-Seattle ferry, which passes it about  twenty times a day. Though many fog signals in Puget Sound have been decommissioned in recent years, Orchard Point still sounds a foghorn. The horn is activated on request by mariners via a radio signal--a great plan that doesn't mean it's honking all the time, but only when needed. 

Seeing the lighthouse is easiest from the ferry. I always walk to the south rail of the "boat" (nickname we Puget Sounders have for a ferry) when it passes by Orchard Point so I can see the lighthouse flashing white every 6 seconds.

Two recent images show the Orchard Point Lighthouse. Above photo on Panoramio by Tori Mac. Below is from Alex Trabas' and Mike Boucher.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Colonel Anderson's Flying Buttress Lighthouses

My friend, the late Ken Black, used to say lighthouses are like people. They come in all shapes and sizes!

One of the most curious shapes for a lighthouse is the flying buttress, an architectural style made popular by the Canadian lighthouse service a century ago. There are examples of this design all around the globe, but Canada takes the prize, thanks to the work of a civil engineer with the Canadian Dept. of Marine & Fisheries, the government agency placed in charge of Canada's lighthouses in nineteenth century.
Belle Isle Lighthouse, Canada (Public Archives of Canada)
Col. William Patrick Anderson (1851-1927) became chief engineer of the Dept. of Marine & Fisheries in 1880. He had worked in the department for several years as a draftsman and had exhibited skill in the design of several lighthouses and fog signals. By the time his career ended in 1919 he had designed and overseen the construction of 500 lighthouses and fog signal stations.

Col. Anderson in 1904 (Wikimedia Commons)
When Anderson took charge of Canada's lighthouses, he was ordered to update its antiquated system, which at the time was comprised mostly of small wooden towers that were decaying or inadequate. There had been little money for lighthouses in Canada in the early and mid-1800s. The Mother Country in England had many colonies to support and was unable to light the vast Canadian coastline with more than a few stone lighthouses with up-to-date lighting mechanisms. The rest were cheaply-constructed and illuminated wooden towers.

With a limited budget but great enthusiasm, Anderson set to work, and with industry and ingenuity, he put the Canadian lighthouse system on the map. Today, Canada has over 700 lighthouses, about 250 of them traditional styles.

The most famous of Anderson's lighthouses are the flying buttress towers. Only six of the nine he originally built remain standing, and only three of those six are active as navigational aids. They are considered national treasures today. Anderson was applauded and lauded in his day for his accomplishments, and these unusual lighthouses are his legacy.

Point-au-Père Lighthouse in Quebec (Wikimedia Commons)
Russ Rowlett, a lighthouse aficionado and keeper of the website "Lighthouse Directory," describes the design:

"The flying buttress design was the ultimate development of what Anderson called "ferro-concrete" lighthouse design, a marriage of steel and concrete to produce unusually sturdy towers. The central column has steel pillars at the corners, and each of the six buttresses is steel clad in concrete. The resulting lighthouses are durable through the most ferocious weather and relatively easy to maintain."

Additionally, it can be added that the flying buttress towers had a low center of gravity and an open framework design to reduce weight and allow storm winds to pass through without excess swaying. They were well-suited for unstable ground. Anderson also made sure the new lighthouses were equipped with state-of-the-art lenses and their keepers were well-trained. All nine flying buttress lighthouses were built between 1907 and 1915.

The oldest was built in 1907 at Cape Norman, Newfoundland; unfortunately it is gone.

The tallest at 108-feet  the Point-au-Père Lighthouse in Quebec. Though decommissioned since 1975, it is now a popular museum and national landmark of Canada. Belle Isle Lighthouse, Newfoundland is another of Anderson's creations. Others stood at Caribou Island and Michipicoten Island in Lake Superior and Bagot Bluff in Quebec.

By far, the most magnificent of Anderson's flying buttress lighthouses is the first-order sentinel at Estevan Point on the western shores of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It was a struggle to construct in the wilderness of Hesquiat Peninsula. Workers first cleared a 5-mile road through the dense rainforest of the area and then hauled all building materials across it.  Everything arrived by ship, was unloaded in a nearby bay, and then was carted over the rough road with teams of horses to the building site. The 100-foot light tower, still the tallest on Canada's western shores, was completed and lighted in 1910. Its Chance Brothers first-order lens was a work of art with a much-needed function marking the dangerous rocks off the point.

Estevan Point Lighthouse (Kraig Anderson Photo)

Life for the keepers was tough in such an isolated and lonely place as Estevan Point. Storms assaulted them in winter, fog was prevalent, and during World War II a Japanese submarine fired on the lighthouse. Little damage was done, but Estevan Point Lighthouse can claim to be the only spot in Canada attacked in the war.

The Canadian Coast Guard still keeps the Estevan Point Lighthouse staffed. A family lives on site and maintains the compound in apple-pie order. Thought they keep tabs on the beacon in the tower, their primary function is to report marine weather conditions every four hours. They also report any problems for vessels caught in the stormy, sometimes cruel, Pacific waters off the lighthouse. They are the last o a dying breed. Canada has made several attempts to de-staff all its lighthouses, with no success. Mariners always fight to "keep the keepers" --- their lifeline to shore and safety.

Colonel Anderson designed and built a number of fixed buttress lighthouses too. Good examples of this design still stand at Point Atkinson and Sheringham Point in British Columbia and Ile Parisienne, Ontario and New Ferolle, Newfoundland. There are many other examples around the world that copy this technology.

The fixed buttress lighthouse at Ostende, Belgium. It has since been replaced by a more modern tower. (Author's Postcard Collection)

Colonel Anderson died in 1957. He is buried in Ontario.

An interesting footnote--
The U.S. Lighthouse Establishment built just one buttressed lighthouse in the United States. It still stands at Sabine Pass, Texas. It is pictured below in its nineteenth century heyday and on a recent postage stamp. this historic tower has been decommissioned and abandoned. Sadly, it is rapidly deteriorating.


Friday, February 13, 2015

A Lighthouse Valentine

Lighthouses are all wrapped up in love! If you don't think so, check out the many pictures of people kissing at lighthouses and the large number of wedding pictures online that were taken at lighthouses. Many lighthouses around the world make a tidy income hosting weddings. After all, a lighthouse is a cathedral of sorts, or at the very least a country church. It's a picturesque and metaphoric place to tie the knot.
There are plenty of romantic stories set at lighthouses, fictional and true. In the fiction category, Susan Wigg's The Lighthouse Keeper is a steamy romance novel set at Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Washington. Wigg did her homework; many of the details about lighthouse work and technology are accurate!
My friend Debbie Maccomber has a few soft romance tales at lighthouses, one in particular that launched a TV series. A Light Between Oceans is a nice romantic novel. And the list goes on. Some of these reads are classy; some are cheesy. You pick.
And how about those lighthouse films about love?
Lighthouse records are rife with romance, albeit subtle. Keepers weren't supposed to write diary-type entries in the logbooks, so there aren't many details about relationships. Logbooks mention marriage proposals delivered in the lantern room, keepers getting married at their lighthouses, or keepers' daughters and sisters getting married at lighthouses, sometimes to an assistant keeper. The field of marriage candidates often was narrow for lighthouse women. If you didn't get ashore much, the bachelor keeper began to look really handsome! Of course, he had a good and well-respected government job and a regular paycheck, if you could accept the vagaries of his occupation. The opposite could be true. There was something appealing about the lighthouse keeper's daughter if she was the only available candidate for miles.
This is not to say lighthouse marriages weren't solid: If you were one of the above--a bachelor keeper or the daughter of a keeper, there was something to be said for choosing a mate who knew your lifestyle and could be happy with it. You'd be together 24/7, and you'd have to work out any issues on your own. The lighthouse inspector wouldn't have cared to be a marriage counselor.
Did lighthouse keepers and their mates exchange Valentines every February? I think some did. A few I've interviewed--mostly Coast Guard keepers--made sure to remember their spouses' sacrifices with a sweet Valentine gift. Nancy Johnson, whose Coastie husband was a keeper at Burrows Island Lighthouse in the San Juan Islands, WA, recalls that somehow her husband and his co-keepers got ashore for flowers and chocolates for the wives. It meant a lot, Nancy said. Her life on an isolated island wasn't easy.
Did you get a Valentine card for your sweetie this year? Maybe you found one with a lighthouse on it. Check out these cute ones I found on eBay--
Sailors made special Valentines in the days of sail for their girlfriends back home. It kept them busy, so they weren't "at loose ends," and kept them thinking of home and loved ones. Mystic Seaport Museum, where I worked for a number of years in the 1980s-1990s has a beautiful collection of these ornate Valentines. This one below, found eBay for a hefty price, features a lighthouse. It has a scrimshaw center, which makes it really valuable.
And speaking of sailors, many came ashore in the nineteenth century after a career at sea and became lighthouse keepers. Sailors had good knowledge of the sea--important aspects of it like the weather and the ways of ships, how to navigate, and how to handle a small boat. The lighthouse service saw these skills as a boon at lighthouses.
Whether or "knot" it's true, who can say?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Chapter from an Old Book

Project Gutenberg has some wonderful old books available online. This one, The Sea Rover, by Rufus Rockwell Wilson, penned in 1906, has a chapter called "The Lighthouse Keeper." It's good reading for anyone interested in maritime history, especially lighthouses. I've reprinted the chapter here. Enjoy!


Heroes, also, are the men who build and tend our lighthouses, and there are few finer stories than that which tells of the erection of Tillamook Rock lighthouse, probably the most exposed structure in the world. Tillamook is a basaltic rock, rising abruptly from the deep waters of the Pacific a mile off the Oregon coast, and eighteen miles south of the mouth of the Columbia River. Projecting to seaward, it receives the full force of the stormiest waves of the Pacific, which often break with appalling violence on its summit, ninety feet above the level of the sea, boats being able to reach it only when the sea is calm.

Four workmen in October, 1879, were landed on the rock with their tools, fuel, provisions, a stove, and canvas for a tent. They were in a few days joined by five others, who brought with them a small derrick. The foreman of the party lost his life in attempting to land, and the lot of the survivors was one of great discomfort and constant danger. To prevent being blown or washed away, they tied the canvas to ring-bolts driven into holes drilled in the rocks, and then quarried out a nook in which they built a shanty, which they also bolted to the rocks. Next a flight of steps was quarried up the steep side of the cliff, and the work of cutting down and leveling the summit began.

The weather often compelled a suspension of work for days at a time, and in January came a tornado which lasted for nearly a week. During this storm the shanty of the workmen was repeatedly flooded with water and their supplies were swept into the sea. They were able at the end of a fortnight to make those on the mainland acquainted with their condition, and fresh supplies were passed to them over a line cast from the rocks to the deck of a schooner, which had come as near as safety would permit.

When May, 1880, came, the dome of the rock had been cut down to a height of eighty-eight feet from the surface of the sea, and a spot leveled for the lighthouse. A small engine and more derricks were now landed, and with them came three masons, who in June laid the corner-stone of the lighthouse. The stones were made ready for laying on the mainland, and a fresh supply conveyed to the rock whenever the weather would permit. First, a square, one-story house for the keepers was built, and above this was raised a tower forty-eight feet high, raising the light 136 feet above the sea level. Sixteen months after work was begun the lamp was lighted for the first time, and has since prevented scores of wrecks. Over the beacon raised amid such difficulties, three keepers stand sentinel, and their lot is an exciting as well as a lonely one. A few winters ago a terrific storm broke upon the rock, and the water poured in torrents through the holes cut in the dome of the lighthouse to give ventilation to the lamps. Stout wire screen shutters protected the lantern and broke the force of the water hurled against the glass. But for this it would have been battered in, and the heavy plates might have killed the man attending the lamps.

Tillamook is known in the service and to mariners as a light of the first class, since lighthouses are roughly divided into three classes: First, those on outlying headlands and deep-sea rocks, the distinguishing features of a country's coastline, and the first to give the mariner warning of his nearness to land. The second grade of lights show him his way through the secondary shoals and rocks, and the third grade, or harbor lights, take him safely into port. There are fifty-two first-class lights on the coasts of the United States. New Jersey and Massachusetts have each a double light; and Florida, by reason of the treacherous reefs which girt its coast, has as many first-class lights as any other two States put together.

A majority of the lights of the first-class are housed in tall stone or brick towers, and a number of them stand upon very high ground. The light on Cape Mendocino glows from an eminence of 423 feet above the level of the sea, and is visible for twenty-eight miles. There are ten other lights whose elevation averages from 204 to 360 feet above sea level, and which are visible from twenty-one to twenty-six miles. The light at St. Augustine, Fla., is a fine example of its class. The strong and massive tower of brick rises 150 feet from the ground, and the light is reached by winding stairs. The apparatus for the light is twelve feet high and six feet through, and the lenses alone cost thousands of dollars. A powerful lamp in the centre of the apparatus sends its rays in all directions, the lenses being arranged at such angles as to gather the light and to send it out in parallel rays in the course desired. The cost of the St. Augustine lighthouse was $100,000.

Each lighthouse must have peculiarities of its own, so that both by night and by day the mariner can distinguish it from its neighbors, and thus guard against the mistakes that might otherwise prove fatal. The first result desired is accomplished by the use of fixed, revolving, blended, flash and intermittent lights, and as the timing of the second and the two latter classes is capable of great variety, it will be seen that the elasticity of the system is ample to meet all possible needs. To secure the second result desired the lighthouses are painted in different colors, and the application of the colors is varied in each instance. Some retain their natural colors, while others are painted black and white, or red and white; here broad horizontal bands alternating, and there slender spiral ones setting off the background of a sharply contrasting color. Again, the shape of the houses is varied, some being circular and others cone-shaped, some tall and others short, some square and others octagonal, while in many cases the shape and color of the keeper's dwelling nearby also help to make distinction easy. Thus the character of the light guides the sailor by night, and by day the form and color of the lighthouse give him welcome knowledge of his whereabouts.

The first lighthouses in this country were beacons, made by piling up stones, from the summit of which "firebales of pitch and ocum" were burned in iron baskets at night. It is a far cry from that time to this, and the construction of the lighthouse of the present day is, as has already been shown, a task demanding mechanical skill and engineering ability of the first order. A lighthouse on the mainland has few difficulties involved in its construction, but where the foundation is an isolated rock, a submerged reef, or a sandy shoal, the best resources of the engineer and mechanic are called into full play.

The lighthouse most difficult to build is that on the submerged rock or partly submerged rock. Race Rock Light, in Long Island Sound, belongs to this class. Portions of Race Rock are three and others thirteen feet under water. Diving-bells were used to level the foundations for the lighthouse, and the masonry and concrete under water were laid in the same way. The United States has two other lighthouses built on submerged rocks, Minot's Ledge in Boston harbor, and Spectacle Reef, on Lake Huron. The first lighthouse on Minot's Ledge was built above stout iron rods driven into the rocks. In April, 1851, there was a severe gale which lasted five days. On the third night of the storm the house was blown down and light and keeper went out together. Four years later a second structure was begun, this time with a foundation of masonry and concrete. Minot's is barely awash with the lowest tide, and so rare were the opportunities for work that three years were required to prepare the rock for the first course of stone, which was laid in 1857. In 1860 the structure was completed and has ever since stood proof against wind and storm.

Spectacle Reef lighthouse, near Mackinac, was built with the aid of a coffer-dam. A large wooden cylinder was constructed by banding long staves tightly together and towed out to the rock, where it was set up on the surface and the stones driven down into the uneven places. Then the crevices were filled with cement and the water pumped out. After this the rock was leveled and the limestone courses rapidly raised one above another. Spectacle Reef light stands eleven miles from land, and its base is seven feet under water.

Where there is a shifting shoal, whose unstable character no degree of mechanical or engineering skill can overcome, resort is had to the lightship. The United States has twenty-five of these vessels. Seven of them are employed off Massachusetts Bay to mark the Vineyard and Nantucket shoals, and a line of equal number lies along Long Island Sound stretching from Brenton's Reef to Sandy Hook. Four more are stationed off the New Jersey and Delaware coasts, one off Cape Charles, three off North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, and two off Louisiana and Texas. The life of a lightship crew, as will be told in another place, is a laborious and often a dangerous one.

The United States is divided into sixteen lighthouse districts, each one with its inspector and engineer. The former, drawn from the navy, inspects the lights under his jurisdiction at least every three months; the latter, a member of the Corps of Engineers, superintends the building, removal or renovation of the towers. Both are responsible to the Lighthouse Board, a body appointed by the President and composed of veteran naval officers of high rank, who are no longer fitted for active duty at sea.

The station of the third lighthouse district is on Staten Island, between St. George and Tompkinsville. Here over a hundred men are constantly employed and half a million dollars annually expended. From this station one hundred and eighty-nine lighthouses and beacon lights and seven lightships are maintained and supplied, while thirty-six day or unlighted beacons, thirteen steam fog signals, six electric light buoys, and five hundred and seven other buoys are looked after and kept in repair by the inspector and his assistants.

Fog often obscures the rays of the most powerful light, and it is then that the fog signal and the whistling buoy come into play. The most effective fog signal is the American siren, a steam machine worked under seventy pounds pressure, and from which a series of noises come forth that can be heard from two to four miles. Certain intervals in the sounds designate the nearest light and afford a welcome and often much-needed guide to the mariner enveloped in a cloak of fog. This system of fog signals extends along the entire seaboard, extra precautions being taken on the Northern Atlantic coast.

Mineral oil is the principal illuminant used in our lighthouses. It is selected with the greatest care, and is subjected to three several tests before being accepted. Gas has been tried as a lighthouse illuminant, but with inferior success, and there are at the present time only three lighthouses in which it is used. Experiments with electricity have also been only fairly successful, its light blinding instead of giving aid to the pilot. The lighthouse station on Staten Island is a busy place, and much work is done there, but the wheels of industry are so well oiled and run so smoothly, that a deep peace seems always to brood over the establishment. Day after day and year after year the work, moving in well-marked channels, goes on with quiet and certainty. Everywhere the neatness and order prevail that mark all departments of the lighthouse service.

Indeed, in no branch of the government service is stricter discipline and closer attention to duty insisted upon than is demanded from the brave and devoted men who tend our lighthouses. The pay of these keepers ranges from $1,000 to $100, the average, by an Act of Congress passed some years ago, being $600. The Lighthouse Board, which controls the service, selects as keepers the best men obtainable, preference being always given to men who have served for lengthy periods in the army and navy.

Members of this class know what discipline means, and hard experience has taught them that orders are to be obeyed to the letter. Many an old veteran, whose scars tell of valiant service in the Civil War or on the Western frontier, and many an old shipmaster or mate, whose weather-beaten face bespeaks long years spent on the quarter-deck, as lighthouse keepers now do duty on solitary and barren beacon rocks, where for months at a time, aside from their own voices and those of their families, the roar and moan of the ocean, as it beats against the breakers below, are the only sounds that are heard.

The life of the keeper—though many who follow it seem wholly contented with it, and doubtless would not leave it for any other calling—is thus a lonely and arduous one. Two breaches of the rules which govern the keeper's conduct bring as a penalty immediate dismissal from the service. The absence of a light for a single moment may bring disaster to life and property on the seas, and neither excuse nor previous good conduct can save from instant dismissal the keeper who allows his light to go out. He may plead that his wife or child was dying, but he is told that he must subordinate his light to nothing. And he must not only keep his light burning, but stay by it so long as the lighthouse stands. Some years ago an ice pack lifted from its foundations, overturned and carried away the Sharp's Island lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay. The two keepers had a staunch boat and could have made their way to shore. Instead, they bravely chose to remain at their post of duty, and for sixteen hours, without food or fire, drifted with the wreck at the mercy of the ice cakes. When the wreck finally grounded the keepers carried ashore all the movable portions of the light, the oil, and everything else they could take with them.

At the same time the keepers of another light, fearing danger, left their post and went ashore. They pleaded that the ice had rendered the light useless for the time being, but this excuse had no weight with their superiors. They had proven recreant to their trust and were dismissed from the service, the places they had filled being given to the two keepers who had refused to leave their post of duty, even when to remain seemed certain death. Drunkenness, when detected, also leads to removal from the service. That and allowing one's light to go out are the two unpardonable sins in the eyes of the lighthouse inspector.

Aside from his duties at night, the keeper finds plenty of work to do. Promptly at a given hour in the morning the lights must be extinguished; and during the day all put in order for the coming night. In the lantern room the lenses must be kept free from speck or tarnish, and the reflectors, the brass railings and the gun metal carefully burnished and polished to the last degree of brightness. The oil tanks must also be filled and the wick trimmed. Carelessness or negligence in any of these particulars is dangerous, for the visits of the inspectors are always unannounced, and may occur at any moment.

Most important of all, the lamp must be lighted on time, for a delay of even a few minutes will not escape notice. Each keeper is required to record the time the lights appear in the stations within his range, and tardiness in this particular is noted by watchful eyes, and at once reported. At inaccessible stations, as a rule, from three to four keepers are employed. In stormy months, when communication with the mainland is impossible, one or more of the keepers may die or be disabled, and experience has taught that, to insure safety, three men at least must be posted at every dangerous station.

No keeper is allowed to engage in any business which may interfere with his presence at the lighthouse. However, there are some keepers who work at tailoring, shoemaking, and similar trades; and there are others who are preachers, school-teachers and justices of the peace. The keeper whose lighthouse is located on land is encouraged to keep a garden, and a barn is provided for his horses and cattle. Until a few years ago many keepers greatly increased their incomes by taking boarders in the summer—life in a lighthouse has a strong attraction for those fond of the romantic—but the Lighthouse Board finally prohibited the renting of quarters to outsiders in buildings owned and constructed by the Government, and this pleasant and convenient source of revenue was cut off.

Whenever keepers are located at stations where the cost of carriage exceeds the cost of fuel and rations, they are furnished at the expense of the Government. This applies to the keeper of the lighthouse on a big rock near Cape Ann. No sea-going vessel can come within a quarter of a mile of his home, and it is impossible for a loaded boat to reach his abiding-place in safety. The coal he uses is shipped in bags from Boston to as near the lighthouse as the vessel can approach. The bags are then loaded into small boats and taken to the edge of the shoal water, inside of which it is dangerous to enter. From the boats the bags are carried ashore on the backs of the crew, who wade through the shoals, clamber up the rocks with their burdens and empty the coal in the lighthouse bin. Coal is worth thirty dollars a ton at Cape Ann lighthouse. The keeper's other bulky supplies are delivered in the same manner as his coal.


At all the lighthouses built on rocks and ledges the keepers have to be supplied with fresh water from the mainland, that collected from rains in cisterns and tanks being generally insufficient for their needs. Each lighthouse keeper is supplied by the Government with a well-selected library of fifty volumes. There are five hundred and fifty of these libraries, and they are continually kept moving from station to station, the inspector, when he makes his quarterly visit, bringing a fresh library, and taking the old one with him, to his next stopping-place.

Captain Oliver Brooks, now living in honored and well-earned retirement, besides being for thirty years keeper of the great light on Faulkner's Island, five miles off the Connecticut coast in Long Island Sound, was also one of the most remarkable men ever connected with the lighthouse service. He had been a sea captain before he became a lighthouse keeper and was a man of signal mechanical skill and marked inventive genius. His knowledge of electricity, and of light and sound was thorough and exact, and the results of many of his experiments, adopted by the Lighthouse Board, have contributed greatly to the improvement of the service. All the apparatus with which he conducted his experiments was constructed by him in a little workshop he had fitted up in the lighthouse tower.

But his fondness for the theoretical never caused him to neglect in the slightest detail the practical side of his work, and he was, indeed, a model keeper. Faulkner's Island lies directly in the path of all vessels passing either in or out of the Sound, and its light is one of the most important ones on our coasts, but there has not been a night in more than a hundred years that it has not flashed out its warning to sailors. The island was a barren and desolate spot when Captain Brooks settled there, but he and his family turned it into a paradise. All of his large family of boys and girls were born there, and there grew up to sturdy manhood and splendid womanhood. One daughter was an authority on ornithology; another, a gifted water-color artist, and every one of the children was a skilled musician, their family concerts, in which not less than five different instruments were brought into play, being treats to hear. All of the children had noble records as life-savers, and many were the men, women and children they saved from death in the treacherous waters surrounding their island home. It was not until his youngest child had left the island that the captain gave up his place as keeper to spend his last days on shore.

Even better known than Captain Brooks is the keeper of Lime Rock light in Newport harbor. Should you chance to be in Newport on some pleasant summer afternoon, walk out on the long wharf that runs from the mainland into the west side of the harbor, and when you have reached its end, wave your handkerchief toward the lighthouse opposite. Soon a woman will appear in the door of the tall gray tower, and running down to the boat moored to the stone wall, step into it, take the oars, and with graceful yet powerful strokes, pull rapidly toward the wharf. As she approaches her erect back and evident strength give the impression of youth, but as she turns the boat about to receive you for a visit to the lighthouse you discover to your surprise that she is a woman of middle age.

Your hostess is Ida Lewis, keeper of Lime Rock light and famous as the American Grace Darling, a modest and kindly hearted heroine, whose skill and daring have saved nearly as many lives as there are years in her own. In fact, it was due in part to her record as a life-saver, that she was given the place she now fills. Besides attending to her duties as keeper, there are other cares that keep her busy; she is a careful housewife, keeps abreast of current literature; and is a devoted churchwoman, spending her Sundays on shore whenever possible. To her credit, no light in her district is as regularly or perfectly attended to, nor does any other gain from the inspector so high a report as Lime Rock light.

There are several other women light-keepers, but none of them has ever had to face an experience as trying as that which a few years ago befell the wife of Angus Campbell, keeper of the light on Great Bird Rock, a lonely islet in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the farthest beacon to the harbors of Nova Scotia. When the late fall comes and the tardy fishermen hasten away to the mainland, the gulf turns to ice and hems the rock in with a clutch that only the returning summer can loosen. There, in the autumn of 1896, Angus Campbell took his newly wedded wife to share his loneliness. During the winter James Duncan and George Bryson, two of Campbell's friends, journeyed to Great Bird Rock to remain until spring. They were professional seal hunters, and a great many seals play around on the ice and rocks at the foot of the big cliff.

The men landed on the rock early in February. At that time there was no open water within five or six miles of the lighthouse in any direction. The men were landed on the ice and made their way up to where Campbell was waiting for them. On February 27, Campbell and his visitors left the rock to go in pursuit of the seals they had noticed on the ice the day before. His wife saw them start across the ice and then returned to her household duties. They had not been gone more than four hours, when the wind, which had been growing colder and blowing steadily from the eastward, shifted to the southwest. The southwest wind is the agency that dashes the ice fields against the cliff and breaks them up. She thought that the men, being so much lower, might not have noticed the wind, and she hoisted the danger signal. They must have seen it, for she soon caught sight of them hurrying over the ice toward the rock.

They were within gunshot of the lighthouse, when the ice cracked with a sound like thunder, and a long, blue line appeared, running east and west, parallel with the lighthouse rock and with North Bird Rock, about five miles to the westward. The big crack was followed by a general splitting up of the ice floe. She saw the men standing just the other side of the open water. She saw her husband wave his hands at her and she waved back. Then the darkness came, like a great blanket dropped from the wintry skies, and men and ice were blotted from her vision. But even in her sore distress she did not forget the duty incumbent on the lighthouse keeper. She clambered up into the lantern and lighted the great oil lamp, saw that it was filled, and attended to the other duties she had seen her husband perform.

Morning, when it came, gave no glimpse of her husband and his companions, nor did the third or the fourth day bring them back to her. After that the days grew into weeks, and the worse than widowed woman found herself confined to lonely and racking imprisonment on the ice-locked rock. But not for a single night did she fail to fill and light the lamp that had been her hapless husband's charge. When the Government steamer touched at Great Bird Bock, on May 5, 1897, the captain looked long and earnestly at the lighthouse perched far above him, and wondered why there was not the customary greeting. He saw no sign of life. There was the derrick rope swinging in the wind, but no moving figures at the top of the cliff, as there were wont to be.

Closely scanning the rock, he saw at last a white, gaunt face at the window. In a little while a thin, tottering figure crept to the brow of the ledge, but it was some minutes before the tender's captain could recognize in that wasted being the comely woman whom he had known as Angus Campbell's wife.

"Where is your husband?" he shouted.

"Angus is dead," came the answer, in a faint, palsied voice, "and so are Jim Duncan and George Bryson."

An instant later the captain had swung himself into the derrick ropes and was making his way up the rocks. When he reached the woman she burst into tears and fell at his feet. Calmed at last, she told her story.

"How did you stand it?" asked the captain when she had finished.

"God knows," was the reply. "I knew I had to keep that light burning, and that I think kept me alive. That was all I had to do, except watch the sea through my husband's glass. I got up night after night, and I do not think I ever slept two hours at a time. There were plenty of provisions, but I could not eat more than one meal a day, and sometimes I did not eat that. I had some hope on the morning after the boys were carried out on the ice floe, that they might be in sight and might be saved some way. But that morning there was nothing to be seen but water and ice. Then hope was gone. I knew there was nothing to do but wait for the spring. And I have done it. Every day I have swept the horizon with the aid of the glasses. It was merely a formality, after a while, but I kept on doing it. I do not know why. At last life got to be like being buried alive. I had no interest in living. I had no appetite, no thought of sleep. In all the time I do not suppose I have slept two hours in succession, nor at any time eaten more than one scanty meal a day. I was going crazy, and should have killed myself or died of starvation in another week."

A few days later Mrs. Campbell was removed from the rock to her former home in Prince Edward Island.

Many of the most picturesque lighthouses in the United States establishment are on the rocks and islands off the coast of Maine. Notable for its beauty is the one on Matinicus Rock. The first lighthouse thereon, erected in 1827, was a cobblestone dwelling with a wooden tower at each end. Twenty years later this was replaced by a granite dwelling with semicircular towers, which has since developed into an establishment requiring the services of a keeper and three assistants. Matinicus Rock rises fifty feet above the sea, and presents what seems a precipitous front to the ocean, but there is no more rugged, dangerous coast along the seaboard of Maine than here, and when a gale rages the waves pound the rock as if bent upon washing it away, the thunder of the green-gray wall that beats against it, sounding, at such times, like the cannonade of a hundred heavy guns. Life on Matinicus for years past has been a never ending struggle between man and the elements, and this lends peculiar interest to the history of the light and its watchers, bound up with which is a love story at once tender, wholesome, and true. Captain Burgess, keeper of the rock from 1853 to 1861, had a daughter Abby, a maiden as comely as she was brave, whom he often left in charge of the lights while he crossed to Matinicus Island. On one occasion rough weather for three weeks barred his return to the rock, and during all that time, Abby, then a girl of seventeen, not only tended the lights, but cared for her invalid mother and her younger brothers and sisters.

In 1861 Captain Grant succeeded Captain Burgess on Matinicus, taking his son with him as assistant. The old keeper left Abby on the rock to instruct the newcomers in their duties, and she performed the task so well that young Grant fell in love with her, and asked her to become his wife. Soon after their marriage she was appointed an assistant keeper. A few years later the husband was made keeper and the wife assistant keeper of White Head, another light on the Maine coast. There they remained until the spring of 1890, when they removed to Middleborough, Mass., intending to pass the balance of their days beyond sight and hearing of the rocks and the waves. But the hunger which the sea breeds in its adopted children was still strong within them, and the fall of 1892 found them again on the coast of Maine, this time at Portland, where the husband again entered the lighthouse establishment, working in the engineers' department of the first lighthouse district. With them until his death lived Captain Grant, who in the closing months of 1890, being then aged eighty-five, retired from the position of keeper of Matinicus light, which he had held for nearly thirty years.

Not less lonely, but far more perilous than the life of the keepers of a light like that on Matinicus is the lot of the crew of the South Shoal lightship, whose position twenty-six miles off Sankaty Head, Nantucket Island, makes it the most exposed light-station in the world. Anchored so far out at sea, it is only during the months of summer and autumn that the lighthouse tender ventures to visit it, and its crew from December to May of each year are wholly cut off from communication with the land. It is this, however, that makes the South Shoal lightship a veritable protecting angel of the deep, for it stands guard not only over the treacherous New South Shoal, near which it is anchored, but over twenty-six miles of rips and reefs between it and the Nantucket shore—a wide-reaching ocean graveyard, where bleach the bones of more than a half thousand wrecked and forgotten vessels.

The lightship is a stanchly built two-hulled schooner of 275 tons burden, 103 feet long over all, equipped with fore-and-aft lantern masts 71 feet high, and with two masts for sails, each 42 feet high. The lanterns are octagons of glass in copper frames, so arranged that they can be lowered into houses built around the masts. In the forward part of the ship is a huge fog bell, swung ten feet above the deck, which, when foggy weather prevails, as it frequently does for weeks at a time, is kept tolling day and night. A two-inch chain fastened to a "mushroom" anchor weighing upward of three tons holds the vessel in eighteen fathoms of water, but this, so fiercely do the waves beat against it in winter, has not prevented her from going adrift many times. She was two weeks at sea on one of these occasions, and on another she came to anchor in New York Harbor. Life on the South Shoal lightship is at all times a hard and trying one, and, as a matter of fact, the crew are instructed not to expose themselves to danger outside their special line of duty. This, however, does not deter them from frequently risking their lives in rescuing others, and when, several years ago, the City of Newcastle went ashore on one of the shoals near the lightship, all hands, twenty-seven in number, were saved by the South Shoal crew and kept aboard of her over two weeks, until the story of the wreck was signalled to a passing vessel.

Nor are the South Shoal crew alone among lighthouse keepers in displays of heroism outside the duties required of them. Isaac H. Grant holds a silver medal given him by the Government for rescuing two men from drowning while he was keeper at White Head; and Keeper Marcus Hanna, of the Cape Elizabeth station, Maine, received a gold medal for the daring rescue of two sailors from a wreck during a severe storm, while Frederick Hatch, keeper of the Breakwater station at Cleveland was awarded the gold bar. The last mentioned badge of honor is granted only to one who has twice distinguished himself by a special act of bravery. It was given Hatch in the winter of 1898. A wreck occurred at night, just outside the breakwater. The eight people aboard made their way to the breakwater pier, but the heavy seas swept several of them back, and one lost his life. Pulling to the pier in a small boat, Keeper Hatch took off the captain's wife; but she was hardly in the boat before it was swamped and capsized. The woman was utterly exhausted and almost a dead weight; but though nearly overcome himself, Hatch, at the risk of his life, maintained his hold upon her until he could reach a line thrown from the light-station, with which he and his helpless burden were drawn to the lighthouse steps. Before that, and while a member of the life-saving crew at Cleveland, Hatch had helped to rescue twenty-nine persons from two vessels on two successive days during a terrific gale.
 ****The End****