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.

07 December 2016

Remembering Pearl Harbor and The Lighthouses of Hawaii

This is a re-post from my blog post of December 2015, and like then, I only wish to highlight the lighthouses. Let me be clear. There is no intent on my part to take away or decrease the honor and respect we all should have for those individuals who gave their lives in service to the United States of America.

On Dec 7th 1941 at 7:48 am, over three-hundred-fifty Japanese fighter planes attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. This attack destroyed many lives and property, and also started World War II. 

 In school as a young boy, I learned about the attack on Pearl Harbor. For you it may have been a different time and place. In fact, you may have a loved one who was there and told you of his or her personal experience on
that dreadful December morning. No matter when we learned of the attack, each year since the tragedy we are reminded via various media of the tragic event. As it should be, the spotlight is on the attack and the loss of many lives. To my knowledge, none of the reports say anything about whether or not lighthouses were impacted. In remembering Pearl Harbor, for some reason I wondered about the lighthouses.

 So, did the attack on Pearl Harbor have any impact on Hawaii's lighthouses and their keepers? My research revealed several examples to the affirmative, but for brevity I'll share these few. 

The Barbers Point Lighthouse pictured below, the Makapu'u Lighthouse, and Diamond Head Lighthouse are all located near Honolulu
on the eastern end of the island of Oahu. These three are part of the major lighthouses mentioned below the picture. Most likely, the Keepers for each of these lighthouses saw some of the fighter planes flying overhead or nearby their lighthouse that morning.

The Head Keeper at the Barbers Point Lighthouse documented his observation of the attack. In a letter he wrote a few days later, he described several events which occurred at his light station that morning. About one of those events he wrote the following: "At 8:00 am many planes were seen overhead, both Japanese and ours. Dog fighting continued for twenty minutes, bullets hitting the ground in bursts. Then all planes headed south, our planes chasing them. Seemed to have come from the windward side, and left the island on Barbers Point side." (Credit: LighthouseFriends for the quote from Keeper's letter.)

                     (Credit: Kraig Anderson; LighthouseFriends)

Throughout the islands of Hawaii there are a total of forty-three (43) lighthouses. Nine (9) of them are classified as major lights and thirty-four (34) are minor lights. After the attack on Pearl Harbor,
every lighthouse had its light darkened and continued dark for the duration of the war. (Credit: LighthouseFriends.)

During the war, the Keeper's Dwelling at Diamond Head Lighthouse housed a Coast Guard Radio Station. 

I've been to Hawaii and visited the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, but regret I was not able to visit a lighthouse.

01 December 2016

Few Keepers Lived In Dwellings Located Like This

 The Sombrero Key Lighthouse is located near Marathon, FL. Built in 1858, it is the tallest at 142-feet of the six skeleton towered Florida Reef lighthouses. It was the third one built in the series and the last of its type in which engineer Lt. George Meade played a significant role. The huge cast-iron structure stands on a coral bed almost five miles south of Vaca Key, FL.

 The one-story, thirty-foot, keepers dwelling was built of quarter-inch boiler iron and consists of four rooms. It was built on a platform forty feet above the water. The keepers could access the lantern room via an enclosed central circular stairway, or climb down a ladder to the water.

Over the years, this rugged tower has survived the mighty blows that Mother Nature has thrown at it, suffering only minimal damage. Periodic scraping and painting of the metal has kept the entire framework in remarkable shape. Coast Guard keepers left the station for good in 1963. The original glass-prism Fresnel lens was removed in 1982 and is displayed at the Key West Lighthouse Museum. A modern twelve-volt optic, which replaced the Fresnel lens, routinely furnishes a flashing white light that guides mariners past the surrounding reefs.

This light was active at the time of my visit in 2001. I saw the lighthouse from U.S. Highway 1 on my way to Key West, FL, but didn't get to photograph it. The above picture and some data was taken from a lighthouse magazine to document part of this lighthouse's history.

24 November 2016

No Lighthouse, Just The Rock Where The Pilgrims Landed

Plymouth Rock (America’s Cornerstone) located at Plymouth, MA is the symbolic stepping stone from the old world to the new. In 1741, Thomas Faunce, elder of the Plymouth Church, identified the Rock as the place where the Pilgrims first landed. Elder Faunce’s father, who was a passenger on the ship Ann in 1623, presumably heard it firsthand. In the late 1700s, the desire to have a lasting symbol of the forefathers quickly brought the Rock to the forefront of the popular consciousness.

Plymouth Rock became one of the earliest places of pilgrimage for Americans. It served as the symbol of the landing, the origin of Plymouth Colony and, by extension, the rest of New England and the entire nation.

Situated in the portico on the waterfront, Plymouth Rock is approximately one-third its original size. Over the years the Rock has been in various locations where souvenir hunters chipped away at it. Finally, officials relocated the rock on the waterfront and provided protection for viewing . A piece of the Rock, equal in size to the piece on Plymouth’s waterfront, can be found in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

No lighthouse, just the rock where the Pilgrims landed. Would they have felt safer arriving at Plymouth if there had been a lighthouse to guide them? I believe it's safe to say they and their leader, William Bradford, would have been thankful for a lighthouse to help them navigate to shore. Instead, they landed at Plymouth Rock without a lighthouse and established the town of Plymouth in the 1620s.
There is a lighthouse at Plymouth, but it was not built until years after the Pilgrims landed. It is known to locals as "Gurnet Lighthouse," and stands at the southern tip of the sandy peninsula known since the Pilgrim days as the Gurnet. (The word Gurnet derives from a fish of the same name and is plentiful along the Devonshire Coast of England.) 

Happy Thanksgiving.

10 November 2016

In Appreciation

Most everyone knows from following my blog, I enjoy lighthouses. For me, the blog is a way to share pictures of lighthouses and short narratives of each one.  My goal is for others to learn, appreciate, and enjoy the historical light towers which provide, or have provided, navigational aid to mariners. Throughout the time of my blog, many of you have responded with comments about your enjoyment or appreciation for posts referring to particular lighthouses. Your comments are very much appreciated and a barometer for me of other lighthouse enthusiasts.

I’ve had individuals tell me they thought of me when they saw a lighthouse while watching TV, or saw one when they were on vacation, etc. Each person said the lighthouse caused them to have a memory of my blog. It’s amazing what people remember us for.

Over time, my friends and family have also remembered me in the gift department. They have gifted me with miniatures of lighthouses, framed wall hanger of a lighthouse, scenting machine resembling a lighthouse, large framed puzzle of a lighthouse, coasters with lighthouse picture, and a candle holder representing a lighthouse. Other gifts were postage stamps and a book about lighthouses. I am humbled at their thoughts of me in this way.

In appreciation for the kindness of everyone, I’d like to share a video featuring most of the aforementioned items.