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.

09 March 2017

The Old and The New



The Morris Island Lighthouse is located on an island of the same name at Charleston, SC. There were two lighthouses built here prior to this one. The first light was built in 1767 after acting upon a decree from King George III to build a permanent lighthouse. It was the first in southern U.S. and stood 43-feet tall until destroyed during the Revolutionary War. The tower was rebuilt in 1790 at the southern entrance to Charleston Harbor. It stood 85-feet tall and was destroyed in 1861 during the Civil War. 

A new tower, pictured above, was built in 1876. This lighthouse stands 161-feet high and has 201 steps leading to the top. In 1885, the lighthouse survived a major hurricane and in 1886 the great Charleston earthquake. At one time there was a three story keepers dwelling located a few yards from the lighthouse.

In 1938 the light was automated and shined until the beacon was extinguished in 1962. Its navigational role was then assumed by the new lighthouse on Sullivan's Island, pictured below.  At the time of my visit here in 2000, the Morris Island Lighthouse was believed to still be structurally sound, despite the beating from Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Until recent years, the tower could be reached by foot at low tide from Folly Beach on James Island, SC. However, this is no longer possible because of heavy erosion.

The Sullivan's Island Lighthouse is the youngest lighthouse in the Charleston, SC area. It was built in 1962 to replace the aforementioned Morris Island Lighthouse. Unlike most lighthouses, the Charleston light, as it's known by the locals, was built of steel and has an elevator as well as stairs to the top. The light mechanism has the potential of 28 million candlepower and it thereby capable of being one of the most powerful lights in the world. The lighthouse stands 163-feet high, two feet taller than the old one on Morris Island . Originally, the tower was painted orange and white. However, those colors were not agreeable to island residents and the tower was repainted black and white. The light was automated in 1982 and is manned by the U.S. Coast Guard. The lighthouse is active and located near historic Fort Moultrie. At the time of my visit here in 2000, access into the lighthouse first had to be obtained from the Coast Guard office in Charleston.

02 March 2017

Can You Imagine How It Looked?



Can you imagine what this picture would look like if the lighthouse were painted brown and there was a white bridge connecting the lighthouse to the hill? That’s how it looked in the days when this light station was operational.

The Fort Pickering Lighthouse, built in 1871, is located at Salem, MA. It served as an official aid to navigation for only a quarter of a century. This is one of three lighthouses built in and around Salem during the early 1870's. Its conical tower and ten-sided lantern stands atop a concrete base. The cast-iron tower, brick-lined inside, originally was painted brown and connected to shore by a white bridge. As shipping declined in the late 19th century, usefulness of the light diminished and its use discontinued in 1897. The tiny tower, since painted white, is all that remains of the light station. The  keepers house, service buildings, and footbridge, which lead to the keeper’s house and service buildings, have all been removed. At the time of my visit in 1997, this active light, then solar-powered, was operated by the City of Salem as a private aid to navigation.    

23 February 2017

Actions To Preserve History



Built in 1866 on the high and rocky slopes of Cape Mendocino, CA. This like named lighthouse stood at a height of 422 feet above the sea. It served as a warning to mariners of the hazardous coastline for nearly a century before the Coast Guard discontinued its operation in 1951.


 The original first-order Fresnel lens was removed from the lantern after World War II. It was taken to Ferndale, CA where it was installed in a replica of the tower. However, due to uncontrolled environmental conditions for the lens, the Coast Guard determined the lens was deteriorating and could not remain there. Therefore, Ferndale took action to save the lens and build a new home for it at the Ferndale Museum.

For years the lighthouse remained unattended on the slopes at Cape Mendocino and deteriorated to extremely poor condition. The lighthouse was even in danger of sliding down the steep slope into the sea. 

The city of Shelter Cove, CA won a three-way bid for relocation and restoration of the historic Cape Mendocino Lighthouse. They dismantled the lighthouse and moved its components, minus the lens, approximately 25 miles north to its new location. In November 1998 they began restoration of the lighthouse and it now sits with the lantern glass installed at its new location, Point Delgada in Mel Coombs Park, Shelter Cove. Action is also underway by Shelter Cove to have the first-order Fresnel lens moved to Shelter Cove and reinstalled in the original tower. Time may tell the rest of this history story.




16 February 2017

A Reason To Celebrate



Birthdays. It’s a day we all celebrate and are reminded we’re another year older. Depending on your age, everyone has a different viewpoint on how soon their birthday reoccurs. I recall as a young person in school, my sixteenth birthday couldn’t come fast enough for me because I wanted to get my license to drive. Now that I’m much older, I no longer wish my next birthday would hurry up and get here. However, for some reason they seem to occur faster than in my younger years.

Besides birthdays, most people or organizations have anniversary’s they celebrate. For example their marriage, maybe the years they’ve lived in a particular home, the age of a historical building or an organization itself.

In thinking about birthdays and other events we celebrate, I want to share with you a birthday/anniversary the folks in Pacific Grove, CA can celebrate this month about their lighthouse.

The Point Pinos Lighthouse, pictured below, was built during 1853 and 1854. However, there was no lens to install after completion of the tower. Finally, in 1855 a third-order Fresnel lens arrived. It was installed and the lighthouse completed. It became a working lighthouse on 1 February 1855 and has remained a working lighthouse for 162 years.

The Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest existing lighthouse on the West Coast. Its tower and dwelling survived the earthquake that leveled San Francisco in 1906, but it was severely shaken. To strengthen the weakened structure, the original granite facade was coated with reinforced concrete.

The U.S. Coast Guard maintains the light but leases the buildings to Pacific Grove National History Museum. This museum was open to the public at the time of my visit there in 1999.