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. This 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: awbates1955@gmail.com. The Book is $15 plus tax and shipping.

My book is also available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Use the Tabs below for links to these websites. At their website, click on books - In the Search area enter The Wickie.





30 July 2015

A Wisconsin Beauty - Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Lighthouse

The Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Lighthouse stands in the center of a working Coast Guard station. It is located on the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, Sturgeon Bay, WI. The lantern room houses a third-order Fresnel lens from which its light is visible for 18-miles. Although the lighthouse was built in 1898, it did not become operational until 1899 due to instability and vibration problems with the 102-foot tall tower. For the next few years, different types of supports were tried, but it wasn't until 1903 when the current skeletal steel framework was installed did the tower become study. Originally, the tower was painted a brownish red color, but in 1900 it was painted white.

This lighthouse was active at the time of my visit here in 1998. Condition of the tower and nearby buildings reflected that Coast Guard personnel took great pride in maintaining these assets.  During my travels to visit the many different lighthouses around the country, red roofs, like those shown above, were typical of most Coast Guard buildings.

23 July 2015

A Washington Beauty - Alki Point Lighthouse

The Alki Point Lighthouse is located at West Seattle, WA. The first light displayed at the Point was a lantern hung out by a landowner in 1880 to warn ships of the Point because it sticks out so far into Puget Sound. The Lighthouse Service built a lens lantern in 1887 and mounted it on top of a post. Then in 1913, this 37-foot octagonal tower was built along with the attached fog-signal building. The tower's lantern room originally housed a fourth-order Fresnel lens.

The U.S. Coast Guard took over operation of the lighthouse in 1939. They replaced the Fresnel lens in 1962 with a rotating beacon light, similar to those used at airports.

The light station was automated in 1984, which eliminated the need for keepers on site .

At the time of my visit here in 1999, the lighthouse was active and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

16 July 2015

A Washington Beauty - Mukilteo Lighthouse

Original construction of the beautiful Mukilteo Lighthouse and station, including the tower, two houses, and pump house began in August 1905. They were completed in March 1906. This light station was built at a cost of $27,000. Thirty-six steps lead up to the lantern room. The station is distinguished by its Victorian style wooden structure, surrounded by the white picket fence.The original light, no more than a small kerosene lantern, sat 40-feet above the tide and provided minimum navigational aid to mariners.

This lighthouse was converted to electricity in 1927. It was at this time the current fourth-order Fresnel lens was also installed in the tower. Its light flashes every five seconds and can be seen 12-miles away. When a bulb burns out, three others are in place to rotate into use. If the light totally fails, such as during a power failure, the system automatically switches to a 12-volt light with battery backup. That light can be seen for only about 4-miles. This battery backup can operate for approximately four days on the stored power.

The fog horn at this lighthouse is a first-order horn operated by compressed air, and it can be heard from six to eight miles away. The original air horn was replaced in the 1970's with the current horn, which blasts on for three seconds and then is silent for twenty-seven seconds. The horn is automatically activated by a sensor unit which detects fog within a half-mile range of the light station. If power is lost to the main horn, there is a 12-volt backup system.

This lighthouse and station were turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard in the early 1930's. They automated the light in July 1970, and then the on site staff were reduced from a three man unit to a one man non-resident caretaker. The lighthouse and both of the keeper's quarters were remodeled in early 1972. Between Aug 1987 and early 1988, the lighthouse was restored to its original appearance.

In 1991, custody of the lighthouse was given to the City of Mukilteo. Then in 1998, the federal government awarded the entire light station to the City, with one exception. The light would be maintained and operated by the Coast Guard.

This was an active light and still maintained by the Coast Guard at the time of my visit here in 1999.

09 July 2015

A Washington Beauty - Point Wilson Lighthouse

Point Wilson Lighthouse is located in Fort Worden State Park at Port Townsend, WA. (Port Townsend is one of only three registered historic U.S. seaports; the other two are located at Cape May, NJ and Galveston, TX.)

The fourth-order light in this lighthouse was built in 1879 and originally located in a lantern room atop the keeper's house. The light was moved to this 46-foot, concrete octagon tower structure when it was built in 1913 . The lighthouse closed to the public when the light was automated in November 1976.

This was an active light and Coast Guard personnel occupied the keeper's residence at the time of my visit in 1999. The light provides navigational aid for ships past the famous riptides off Point Wilson. This is where the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound meet.