About Me

My photo
For two summers, I worked as a tour guide 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 July 2017

Most Beautiful Lighthouse Lens I've Every Seen



This beautiful first order Fresnel lens is located atop the Umpqua River Lighthouse at Winchester Bay, OR. Barbier and Cie of Paris, France manufactured this lens in 1890. The lens consists of six hundred sixteen prisms and includes twenty-four bulls-eye panels. The lens completes a revolution every two minutes, and its signature light is two white flashes followed by a red flash. This lens is nine-foot seven-inches tall and six-foot two-inches wide, and weighs two tons. The original lamps, which provided the light, were replaced by electricity in the 1930's.  A 1,000 watt quartz bulb currently powers the light, and its light can be seen for nineteen miles out to sea on a clear night.

This lens is only one of two first-order lens' you can climb up inside to see the massive lens close up. This pleasure is only possible via a guided tour. To my knowledge, the other lens is in Brazil. The light in the Umpqua River Lighthouse operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and is operated by Douglas County, OR and maintained by the US Coast Guard. The Coast Guard, in 2011, reclassified the light from a Primary to a Secondary aid to navigation.


The Umpqua River Lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the nearby former USCG Station Umpqua River. The former USCG Station is now home of the Umpqua River Lighthouse Museum. Seasonally, both the museum and the lighthouse are open for daily tours.

You can also read about this lens in my book "The Wickie." It’s a heartwarming story about the lighthouse keepers, their families, and the many challenges they faced at both Umpqua River Lighthouses. (There were two? What happened to the first? Read the book.)

06 July 2017

Restored To An Active Aid To Navigation



The Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, built in1874, was originally equipped with a fourth order Fresnel lens. The lighthouse stood firm against the onslaught of winds, rains, and tides for 40 years at its original location. Then, in 1913 a severe storm significantly damaged the foundation. This required moving the lighthouse westward about 150-feet to where it now sits at the north end of Five Mile Beach, North Wildwood, NJ.


The lighthouse is a wood frame residential design style known as "Carpenter/Swiss Gothic" or "Stick Style" making for a very picturesque but substantially built structure. It is the only one of this type on the East Coast. The tower is 49 1/2 feet high with the light elevation rising to 57 feet above sea level. The light was visible at a distance of 13 nautical miles. Its purpose was to mark the entrance of the inlet for ships supporting the coal trade, and to aid the whalers hauling in their catches to butcher.

For the next 50 years the lighthouse continued in operation, but in 1964 an iron light tower was erected behind the lighthouse. (Left side of picture.)  The iron tower was fitted with a modern automatic marine beacon. After this change, the lighthouse and its entire property was closed, including the old Coast Guard Station, and transferred to the NJ Marine Police. Boarded up, the lighthouse remained so for the next 18 years to deteriorate. In 1977, the lighthouse was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

In 1982, a lease was signed with the City of North Wildwood stating: "Whereby the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection turns over the stewardship of the Lighthouse to the City of North Wildwood."  The city then began restoration, operation, and maintenance of the lighthouse.  In 1986, the modern marine beacon was removed from the iron light tower and placed inside the lighthouse lantern. This action restored the lighthouse once again to a fully active aid to navigation