About Me

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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.

30 November 2017

Only U.S. Twin Light in Official Operation

The Cape Ann Light Station was established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Their authority and funding provided for building this twin-light station on the northeast side of the fifty acre Thacher's Island, Rockport, MA. The original twin rubble masonry lighthouses were built in 1771 and stood 298 yards apart. The north tower was only 39 feet high and the south tower 35 feet high. They were oriented in a northeast-southwest alignment. 

Both of the aforementioned lights operated until 1861 when they were replaced by the pair of 124-foot high cut granite structures pictured below. Each tower is 30 feet in diameter at the base, 18 feet at the top, and the lantern rooms equipped with first-order Fresnel lenses. Originally, both towers displayed fixed white lights. When the beacon in the north tower was extinguished in 1932, as an efficiency move, the south tower light was changed to a more intense flashing white beam. The light was later changed to red and continues to be operated by the U. S. Coast Guard as an official aid to navigation. Cape Ann Light Station is the only twin light in official operation in the U.S.

 In 1980, Thacher's Island became the property of the Town of Rockport, the same year the south light was automated. At the time of my 2001 visit, the property was managed by the Thacher4's Island Association in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. One of its notable achievements was the successful restoration of the long-neglected north tower, which was relighted in 1989 as a private aid to navigation. That same year and for the next several years, the Association operated a launch for island visitors until a winter storm in 1995 destroyed the landing ramp. The group hoped to renew the trips once the landing area was restored, and most likely have done so before the time of this posting.

17 November 2017

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.

Now 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 also be seen in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

Would the Pilgrims 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. Instead, they landed safely at Plymouth Rock without a lighthouse and established the town of Plymouth in the 1620s. 

The first lighthouse at Plymouth wasn't built until 1768. It began with two lanterns located at opposite ends on the roof of the keeper’s wooden dwelling. This lighthouse was replaced in 1803 by twin lighthouses built thirty feet apart and twenty-two-foot-tall. Known to locals as "Gurnet Lighthouse," they stood 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.) Officials tore down the northeast lighthouse in 1924.

A couple of years ago, I was provided the picture below of the Gurnet Lighthouse after it had been remodeled. I lost track of his name, but my thanks to that Plymouth lighthouse enthusiast who followed my blog.