About Me

My photo
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.

19 January 2017

Connection - Old Cape Henry Lighthouse and Our Presidents

This week in Washington DC our country inaugurates the forty-fifth President of The United States. There is one lighthouse that has a unique connection to Washington and some of our presidents.

Old Cape Henry Lighthouse is the first lighthouse ordered and financed by the federal government. Said lighthouse is located approximately 209 miles east from Washington on the Fort Story, VA, Military Reservation. It sets at the south entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. At the time this lighthouse was built and first lit in 1792, George Washington was our first President of the United States serving his second term.

This lighthouse is an octangular truncated pyramid of eight sides, rising 90-feet from the ground, and sits on a hill approximately 650 yards from the beach. Sandstone used to build this lighthouse came from the same Virginia quarries that provided material for Mount Vernon, the U.S. Capital Building, and the White House. The original staircase in the lighthouse was built of wood. However, after several years it became oil soaked, a fire hazard, and deteriorated. The wood staircase was replaced by a cast-iron spiral staircase. Light provided in the lantern room was originally projected by a series of lamps strategically placed in the room. Those were eventually replaced by a second-order Fresnel lens. Years later, due to vertical cracks appearing in the walls and fear the lighthouse would fall into the sea, it was closed in 1881 after construction of the new Cape Henry Lighthouse.

Also occurring in 1881, our country had three different individuals serve the office of President of The United States in that same year. First, Rutherford B. Hayes who served out his elected term. Second, James A. Garfield who was shot and killed. The third President serving in 1881 was Chester Arthur.

The Old Cape Henry Lighthouse, built during the reign of our first President, George Washington, still stands only a few hundred feet from its replacement. Congress transferred deed in 1930 of the old tower with 1.77 acres of land to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. At the time of my visit here in 2000, the lighthouse was open to the public and received approximately 60,000 visitors annually.

12 January 2017

Grand Haven Pier, Summer and Winter

The Grand Haven Lighthouses are located at Grand Haven, MI. The red cylindrical tower stands 52- feet tall and was first lit in 1839. Its light can be seen for 15 miles out on the lake. This tower and the red lighthouse at the end of pier are both situated on the South Pier which juts out into Lake Michigan.

The two lighthouses are positioned to create a range light system. These pictures also show a good example of elevated cat walks built to enable lighthouse keepers to get to the lighthouses during times of ice and high water from storms.

I visited these lighthouses in the summer of 1998. The public was not permitted inside the lighthouses but were free to enjoy the pier. Evidenced by the attire people were wearing in my picture, it was a much warmer time than the winter conditions depicted in the other picture. (Credit - Google) The bottom picture shows the hazardous conditions which lighthouse keepers often had to work in during the winter, sometimes worse than pictured.

05 January 2017

Evolution of Responsibility for U.S. Lighthouses

In my book, The Wickie, I mention the Lighthouse Board several times. The story relates to some of the responsibilities of that board and their interaction with the lighthouse keepers. Although my book is historical fiction and takes place in the 1860s, the Lighthouse Board was a true entity of the U.S. Government. However, it was not the first entity/agency responsible for construction and maintenance of lighthouses.

The first agency was named the Lighthouse Establishment. It operated under the direction of the Department of Treasury and functioned from 1791 to 1852.

In 1852, the Lighthouse Board replaced the aforementioned Establishment. The Board continued to serve under the Treasury until 1910. At that time the Board was replaced by The Lighthouse Service and moved under the direction of the Department of Commerce.

The Lighthouse Service was responsible for lighthouses from 1910 to 1939 when it was merged into the U.S. Coast Guard.

The United States Coast Guard has continued to be responsible for construction and maintenance of all U.S. lighthouses and navigational aids since 1939. 

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter approaching the Salmon Harbor Dock at Winchester Bay, OR. Located approximately one mile from the Umpqua River Lighthouse.

29 December 2016

My New Years Wish

            I wish you and your family a very
                        Happy New Year.

     May you let your light shine to those around you.