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 302 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.





26 February 2015

A North Carolina Beauty - Oak Island Lighthouse

Located on Oak Island, NC, this lighthouse, built in 1958, stands 169-feet tall. At the time of my visit here, it was the Coast Guard's newest reinforced concrete tower. The silo-style tower was erected by using a Swedish-developed "moving slip form." Concrete was poured in the form, and after the concrete dried the form was moved up to complete the middle section, and then later the third section. The color's were integrated into the concrete before it was poured. The top third black, middle third white, and the bottom third gray. These sections of the tower will never have to be painted. The foundation of the lighthouse is 70-feet down and sits on bedrock. The lighthouse is designed to sway 3-inches at the top in a 100+ MPH wind. The lantern room/gallery was set on top of the tower by use of a helicopter. The beacon in the lantern room is the second strongest light in the world, and has a range of  24-miles. Its light produces such a powerful heat that repairman must wear protective clothing when working in the lantern room. This lighthouse has 134-steps to that level but has no spiral staircase.

At the time of my visit here in 2000, the light was active, but the lighthouse not open to the public. However, photos could be taken from the outside. With permission, I was privileged to enter the lighthouse and go up as far as the first landing.

19 February 2015

A New Hampshire Beauty - Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

This lighthouse is located in the Fort Constitution State Park, New Castle, NH. Once known as Great Island, New Castle was originally a 17th century fishing village. Today's settlement, with its narrow streets and old homes, retains much of the Colonial charm.

In 1694, the British built Fort William and Mary on the northeast side of the island. The area's first navigational aid, little more than a beacon on a pole, went up at that site. The New Hampshire citizens replaced that primitive signal with a small wooden tower, which they subsequently ceded to the new federal government. The Lighthouse Services replaced the structure with an 80-foot, wood-frame tower officially called Newcastle Point Light. However, with establishment of the granite-blocked Whaleback Light at the harbor's entrance in 1820, it downgraded the New Castle Station to a "simple harbor beacon." Gradually deteriorating over time, the octagonal shingled tower was replaced in 1877 by today's white, cast-iron lighthouse, which is only slightly more than half the size of its predecessor. This light was automated in 1960 and flashes a green light from 52-feet above the fast flowing harbor water.

At the time of my visit here in 2001, this light was active.

12 February 2015

A New York Beauty - Dunkirk Lighthouse

The Dunkirk Lighthouse, also known as Point Gratiot Lighthouse, is located at Dunkirk Harbor, Lake Erie, NY.
The first lighthouse built here was in 1827. Except for a brief period during 1838, that lighthouse provided navigational aid to mariners on Lake Erie until 1875 when operation was discontinued due to its deterioration.

This current lighthouse with its square tower stands 61-feet tall with a spiral cast-iron staircase containing 55-steps. The light is a third-order Fresnel lens. In 1923 the light was electrified and then in 1960 it was automated. After automation, keepers were no longer needed and minimal maintenance was provided by the U.S. Coast Guard. The light station later was turned into a memorial park and lighthouse museum. 

At the time of my visit here in 2001, the light was active and the lighthouse open to the public.


05 February 2015

A New Jersey Beauty - Cape May Lighthouse

Located in the Cape May Point State Park, NJ, this lighthouse was built in 1859. It is the third known lighthouse to be built at Cap May Point. The first lighthouse was built in 1823 and the second in 1847. Due to erosion, the exact locations of those first two lighthouses are under water.

The tower of this lighthouse is 157-feet 6-inches tall and has a total of 218 steps from ground to the top, which 199 of those steps are in its cast iron spiral staircase. The lighthouse actually has two separate walls. The outside wall is cone-shaped, and is 13-feet 10-inches thick at the bottom, and 1-foot 6-inches thick at the top. The inside wall is a cylinder with 8.5-inch thick walls which support the spiral staircase. The walls were designed to withstand winds several times above hurricane force.

Three keepers, one head and two assistants with their families, lived at the lighthouse site until 1938 when the light was electrified. That action eliminated the need for keepers to be stationed at the site.

This lighthouse was darkened from 1941 until 1945 because of WWII. The Atlantic coast was on blackout due to the presence of enemy submarine's.

At the time of my visit here in 1997, the U.S. Coast Guard continued to operate the light as an active aid to navigation. The light is visible 24-miles out to sea and flashes every 15-seconds. In 1992, ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the State of New Jersey.