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.

26 May 2016

Both Lights Provide Navigational Aid

While visiting numerous lighthouses throughout the U.S. and Canada, I saw many different styles of lighthouses. Some were brick and mortar, some wood, some stone, and a few were metal. I think most everyone would agree that not all lighthouses are beautiful. Evidence of this is in some of the photos I’ve taken and previously posted to this blog. Regardless, lighthouses were built to aid mariners in ship navigation and not necessarily to add beauty to the local landscape. The following lighthouses represent two different styles, different materials, and depending on the observer, may see them as beautiful. Feel free to click on the pictures for an enlarged view.

The Sanibel Island Lighthouse in FL is an example of a pyramidal skeletal tower. Made of metal these type of towers could be built for roughly half the cost of a stone or brick tower of the same height. If needed, it was possible to disassemble and move the tower. Construction of the Sanibel Lighthouse cost $50,000 and was completed in 1884. Its 98-feet tower consists of four iron legs arranged in a pyramidal style around a cylindrical central column and topped by the lantern room. Originally, the lantern room was fitted with a third-order Fresnel lens. The center column on this lighthouse stops about twenty feet from the ground, therefore access must be by an external staircase.

 The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, FL was built in 1887 at a cost of approximately $200,000. This is an example of a brick and mortar tower. The lantern room was originally fitted with a first-order Fresnel lens. Its brick foundation extends to a depth of twelve-feet below ground to support the 175-feet double wall tower. Over one million bricks were used to construct this lighthouse. It is the second tallest brick lighthouse in the U.S. and its circular metal stairway consists of 194 steps. At the time of my visit here in 2001, a portion of the tower was surrounded by scaffolding to enable maintenance. (The tallest brick lighthouse is Cape Hatteras, NC.)

19 May 2016

The Name Can Make a Difference

Have you ever had hindsight about a big decision in your life? Most people have probably experienced such an event, but few will admit it when they later discover a different decision would have yielded a better outcome.

A big decision for most Authors is choosing a book title. Whether published independently or through the traditional publishing method, normally the author has a say in the book title. In my case, I named my book and my publisher gladly approved it without suggesting any alternatives. The Wickie is a story about two lighthouses in OR, the keepers and their challenges with weather, family, friends, and death. I chose the name Wickie as it was a nickname the keepers called each other in the early days. 

Although I think the title is great, not long ago, I was made aware that my book could not be found on the Internet when searching for lighthouse books. In hindsight, after seeking additional knowledge of the Internet, I realize a better title for my book would have been The Lighthouse Wickies’. This can be corrected if I republish the book. However, in the mean time, “The Wickie” can be found on Amazon or Barnes and Noble by entering The Wickie in either web sites search field for books. For your convenience, links to their web sites are provided under "Tabs" in the heading of this blog. Whether you order via the Internet or from myself, I hope you will join other folks who said they really enjoyed reading “The Wicki.”

12 May 2016

The Awakening

The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse at Lake Huron, MI was built in 1840. Although the tower is only thirty-eight feet high, its wall is twelve feet in diameter at the bottom with a thickness of three feet two inches. The wall tapers in until a diameter of six feet at the lantern room where the wall is one foot four inches thick. A unique feature is its stone stairway. This lighthouse was restored in 1959 and converted into a museum.

I saw this lighthouse in 1998 which was in the early days of my visiting lighthouses. Although I had seen and photographed a few lighthouses before this one, I had not gone inside and had paid little attention to their design, engineering, or the materials and skills involved in building a lighthouse. Those elements evidently didn’t stir my interest as they were not part of my job or training before retiring from the Army.

In my book, The Wickie, I wrote in the author’s note: “My initial thought was if you had seen one lighthouse, you probably had seen them all.” However, when I saw the steps of the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, I suddenly realized how wrong I had been. Those stone steps, cut approximately three feet long, eight inches thick and eight to ten inches wide, had skillfully been cut and laid along the wall forming a circular stairway to the top. This fascinated me. Since that awakening, I’ve learned many things about lighthouses to include that steps, in the early years, were built of wood. Since then, they have also been built of steel and or concrete.

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.