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.

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.

02 February 2017

Keepers' Endured The Elements

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of a MI lighthouse and its pier covered with ice. The picture was a good example of the harsh conditions some lighthouse keepers had to endure to do their work.

The other day a friend made a statement that he wouldn’t want to have been a lighthouse keeper in the winter time. I knew he was referring to the picture mentioned above, and I had to agree with him because I too don’t like cold weather. People asked me if I have taken any pictures of lighthouses in the snow. No, because of the cold and I never visited lighthouses during the winter months. 

Many U.S. lighthouses get ice and snow covered during the winter. However, there are also many located where temperatures do not get down to freezing. For example; on the west coast of CA, south coast of TX, most of the FL coast, and HI. Regardless of the lighthouse’s location, its keepers worked hard and long hours to perform their duties. Most all of the keepers had to deal with storms, i.e. wind, dust, hurricane, ice, and or snow. For those keepers who had to contend daily with ice and snow in the winter, their job was even harder.

In contrast, and to end this post on a warmer note, the Key West Lighthouse, pictured below, is Florida’s most “urban” lighthouse. The tower stands 85 feet tall and its keepers over the years have enjoyed average low winter temperatures of about 64 degrees.  No ice or snow for those keepers, but instead, at times they had to deal with hurricanes.

26 January 2017

Slang Opposed To Official Name

In my book, The Wickie, and in this blog I used a slang name to describe an area at the top of the lighthouse.  It’s the narrow walkway around the outside of the lantern room. I referred to this area as “the cat walk” but the official name is “the gallery.” 

The gallery of the Old Presque Ile Lighthouse is a good example of the gallery found on other lighthouses around the country. This lighthouse is located at Lake Huron, MI and is one of the oldest surviving lighthouses on the Great Lakes. In 1840, the lighthouse was built at a cost of $5,000 and stands 38 feet high. After restoration was completed in 1959, the station was turned into a museum. Visitors who climb the tower, to walk the gallery and enjoy the fantastic view, will walk the stairs made of stone.