About Me

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I worked as a tour guide for two summers at the Umpqua River Lighthouse in Oregon. This opportunity enabled me to learn more about that lighthouse than any of the others I've seen. Although I have personally visited and photographed over 300 lighthouses in the United States and three Provinces in Canada, the Umpqua River Lighthouse has special meaning for me. All pictures posted in this blog were taken by me, unless noted otherwise. The Umpqua River Lighthouse is where I was inspired to write my book titled, "The Wickie."

Book Info.

I invite you to read my book, "THE WICKIE." Preview the book's cover and watch the trailer below.
(Wickie was a nickname used by the early lighthouse keepers at the Umpqua River Lighthouse in OR.)

This 1860's story about the lighthouse keepers and their families at the Umpqua River Lighthouse will warm your heart. Discover the challenges they met but never expected, and their determination to maintain navigational aid to mariners on the Oregon coast.

To order your signed copy of "The Wickie", send me an e-mail to: awbates1955@gmail.com. The Book is $15 plus tax and shipping.

My book is also available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Select the appropriate Tab below for a link to your favorite websites. At the website, click on books - In the Search area enter The Wickie.

20 April 2017

Would You Have Exercised More?

Most everyone knows exercise is good for our health. Knowing some of the lighthouse keepers duties caused me to ask the question. If you had been one of the keepers of a lighthouse, would you have done additional exercise beyond that required to do the job?

Before modern day technology, dedicated and hard working keepers had to tend lighthouses. These men and women walked up and down the stairs of the lighthouse several times a day. They carried five gallon cans of oil up and empty cans down. Multiple times a day, they went up and down the steps to service the light and perform other maintenance to the tower. Some keepers walked more in a day than others, depending on the height of their respective lighthouse. The lighthouse pictured above has 144 steps leading to the lantern room. Those steps provided a lot of exercise each day for the keepers. In addition, they performed labors taking care of gardens in summer, animals, and in winter dealing with ice and snow.

The Wind Point Lighthouse is located at Wind Point, near Racine, WI. It, like others, required manual labor to operate. Built in 1880 by the Lighthouse Service, its tower stands 112 ft high. A kerosene "Aladdin's" lamp supplied the light until 1924 at which time it was replaced by an electrified lamp. A lighthouse keeper and two assistants manned the light. They, along with their families, lived in the dwelling adjacent to the tower.

In 1964 the Coast Guard replaced the lens with a fully automated system. With the use of radar on ships, the foghorn was no longer needed and was dismantled. The light now consist of a 1,000 watt bulb and a reflector which magnifies the light to two million candlepower. Its beam of light is visible for nineteen miles, and the rotation is timed so it flashes every twenty seconds. Timers and photo-electric cells activate the light, which turns it on thirty minutes before sunset and off thirty minutes after sunrise, or whenever visibility is less than five miles.

Once the light became automated the Coast Guard sealed the tower, and no one except officials are permitted inside the lighthouse. However, visitors were welcome to walk around the grounds at the time of my visit. 

After considering the daily activities of a keeper, I’m tired. I answered the question no. How about you?

13 April 2017

Unique Square Shaped Tower

The Escanaba Harbor Crib Light sets in the harbor near Escanaba, MI - Lake Michigan. This square shaped tower is located several hundred feet off shore and marks a shoal. Built in 1938 to replace the Sand Point Lighthouse, the Escanaba Light was automated in 1976 and continues an active light providing navigational aid to mariners.

06 April 2017

Survived Earthquake Tremors For Over A Century

The original Point Arena Lighthouse, built here in 1870, was constructed of masonry. Atop its 100 foot tower the lantern contained a first order Fresnel lens. This location is just west of the San Andreas Fault in CA, which subjected the lighthouse to multiple earthquakes over the years. It survived the earlier earthquakes, but collapsed during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. 

The replacement tower, pictured above, was completed in 1908 and constructed of reinforced concrete. This was the first time this “new material” was used to build a lighthouse. The supporting buttresses at the base of the tower have helped the lighthouse survive earthquake tremors for over a century. As part of the reconstruction, the height of the tower was increased from 100 to 115 feet. Instead of rebuilding the original multi-level keeper’s dwelling, which housed the keeper and his three assistants plus their families, lighthouse officials agreed to build four separate cottages for the keepers and their families.

During World War II, several military actions were witnessed from this lighthouse. One example is when the U.S. Navy defeated three Japanese destroyers on 12 Aug 1945, two days before the end of the war.

The U.S. Coast Guard automated the lighthouse in 1977 and installed a beacon. The Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers Association, CA, originally leased the property from the Coast Guard but since have been awarded ownership. The association opened the lighthouse to the public for year-round visits. I visited the lighthouse in 1999 and, to my knowledge, the keepers association continues to maintain a museum on site and provides teachers/instructors for the tours. The association also rents the aforementioned keepers dwellings to overnight visitors.

30 March 2017

Unique Style of Lighthouse

Hog Island Shoal Lighthouse is located in Narragansett Bay, west of the entrance to Mount Hope Bay near Portsmouth, RI. This spark-plug style lighthouse was built in 1901 to replace an 1886 wooden lightship. Constructed of cast-iron, the lighthouse stands 60-feet above the water line. 

This lighthouse consists of five levels plus the lantern room which housed a fourth-order Fresnel lens.  The lower four levels were utilized by the keepers for work space, galley, and living quarters. The watch room, located just below the lantern room, occupied the fifth level. In 1964, the light was automated. The lighthouse was declared excess in 2006 by GSA, and sold as surplus to a private individual.