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: 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.

28 April 2016

The Light - A Mariner's Joy

Since ancient times, mariners have depended on light to warn them of dangerous shores and to guide them safely to their ports. In the beginning, navigational aid was as simple as a fire. They were kept burning at selected locations where mariners could see them from a long distance.

Like other things in life, mankind keeps trying to make things better. Consequently, lights to guide mariners have greatly improved over the years. Navigational aid has gone from burning a fire to hanging a lighted lantern on a post to burning candles in a window. Towering lighthouses were built and fitted with lamps and reflectors, and then lighthouses were later fitted with oil lamps and sophisticated and complex Fresnel lenses. Then, electricity came to lighthouses and the oil lamps became obsolete due to the electric light bulb. Many lighthouses still use the Fresnel lens with the electric light bulb. But, some lighthouses have had their bulb and lens replaced by a beacon type of light similar to one at an airport.

Surely, the modern day mariner without a Global Positioning System (GPS) appreciates and enjoys using any of the current navigational lights.

21 April 2016

In Memory

The Pensacola Lighthouse is located on the Pensacola Naval Air Station, FL on Pensacola Bay. In 1825 the first lighthouse built by the U.S. on the Florida coast was constructed about 1/2 mile from the one pictured above. The light in that original lighthouse was provided by a series of lamps and reflectors until after the Civil War when a first-order Fresnel lens was installed.

Because the original lighthouse proved to be inadequate as aid to coastal navigation, in 1858 the current lighthouse was built and it towers 191-feet above sea level. The beacon from its first-order lens can be seen at a distance of 27-miles out to sea. A new keeper's dwelling was built in 1869. Responsibility for the tower was transferred in 1939 from the Light Service to the U.S. Coast Guard. The light was automated in 1965 and therefore no longer required full time keepers. The first-order lens still operated as an active light at the time of my visit here in 2000.

By now, you know this blog post is very different than any I've done in the past, but I want to share with you the special meaning of  21 April for me. This date is also the anniversary of my late wife's birthday. I don't remember a time since I've been posting my blog that her birthday fell on the same date of my blog post. You may be wondering what the Pensacola Lighthouse in FL has to do with my memory of Rose. Except for one thing, it would make no difference what lighthouse picture I posted in memory of her, because she loved all the lighthouses we saw together.

The keeper's dwelling at the Pensacola Lighthouse is leased to the Pensacola Lighthouse Association and serves as the museum. Approximately two years ago, I discovered museum officials use a procedure to help raise money to support the museum. That procedure enables individuals to purchase a brick which would be used to build a walkway to the lighthouse. I felt moved to purchase a brick in memory of my late wife, Rose. Her memory brick is pictured below. (This post is not made with the intention of promoting sales for the museum, but only to spotlight a memory of my late wife.)


14 April 2016

A Unique Lighthouse - Gone

The West Rigolets Lighthouse at Pontchartrain Lake, LA was a unique style and size lighthouse. Built in 1855, the lighthouse was a small square building that held a fifth-order lens in its circular lantern room centered on top of the hipped roof. The light had an elevation of 30-feet above the lake, and was visible for 10-miles. Due to the Civil War, the light was darkened from 1861 to 1862. In 1917 the station was raised six-feet and placed on ferro-cement columns. Navigational aid was discontinued in 1945 and the lighthouse abandoned.

At the time of my visit here in 2000, the lighthouse was in bad physical condition. Endangered, there were plans by officials to relocate the lighthouse to Madisonville, LA, but instead it was later sold to a private owner. Before the owner could do much to repair the lighthouse he died. His relatives were unable to do anything with the lighthouse before it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in Aug 2005.

Click on the picture to better see this lighthouse that no longer exists.

07 April 2016

The Moloka'i (Kalaupapa) Lighthouse, HI

           (Photo Copy Right approved 6 Apr 2016, Kraig Anderson via Lighthouse Friends.)
Construction on the Moloka'i (Kalaupapa) Lighthouse began in Jun 1908. It replaced a temporary light that was positioned on top of a thirty-four-foot mast at the peninsula point. That light was fixed with a red lens-lantern but was only in service for one year beginning in Mar 1906.

The Kalaupapa Lighthouse sets on twenty-two-acres of the Kalaupapa Peninsula, Hawaii. Building was completed in 1909 and its second-order Fresnel lens first lit on 1 Sep 1909. The white flash of light was provided by an incandescent-oil-vapor lamp which shined 213-feet above the water. The tower is 132-feet high and is the tallest lighthouse in HI. It is also the only other eight-sided lighthouse in the United States. (The other eight-sided tower is Cape Meares in OR. Reference Blog post 31 Mar 16.)  The stairs leading up to the fourth landing, inclusive, are constructed of concrete and from there on up to the lantern room the staircase is made of cast-iron. A total of 189 steps.

Unlike construction workers building other lighthouses in the U.S., all workers on this lighthouse were required to obtain permits from the Board of Health to enter or leave the area. This requirement was because the Kalaupapa Peninsula was also home to those banished there after having been diagnosed with leprosy. The banishment law began in 1865.
The Kalaupapa Lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

After Jan 1985, the second-order Fresnel lens was removed and replaced by a rotating beacon.

This is one of many beautiful and unique lighthouses in Hawaii that I have not been privileged to visit.