Lighthouses

Pennsylvania Jack has several hobbies. One of them is serving as a Volunteer Lighthouse Keeper. So let’s call him “Lighthouse Jack.” Each summer, Jack and his wife travel somewhere in the good old U.S.A. and volunteer their time and knowledge as “keepers/ tourguides/ docents” at a Lighthouse somewhere. So far they have been at two lighthouses in Maine, one in Oregon, six in southern Michigan including one “in” Lake Michigan, two on Lake Superior on the “UP” (Upper Peninsula – it really is different “up there”), another on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, and one in Maryland. In 2018 and 2019 they went “international” when they were volunteers at a lighthouse in New Brunswick, Canada. Information and photos of all of these are found in this section of the website. When we first volunteered back in 2005, we really knew very little about lighthouses, and in fact didn’t even know we liked them all that much. Many summers later it has become a journey that we just can’t imagine never having embarked upon. Who knows where we will be next!

Along the way we have learned much about lighthouses, their operation, history, and lore, and would like to share it with you. So these pages will include some lighthouse information and lore, as well as photos of all of the places at which we have been volunteers, and links to some very interesting websites about lighthouses too. Then you too can claim to be a “Pharologist,” one who studies lighthouses.

The pics above show Jack and Tobi in some of their various roles as costumed lighthouse interpreters.

P.S. Interested in lighthouses and their history? Consider subscribing to the “Lighthouse Digest,” a bi-monthly magazine chock-full of informative articles and historic photos. Visit the “Lighthouse Digest” website.

P.P.S. To find out about almost any lighthouse in the U.S. or Canada, use the “Lighthouse Friends” website.

P.P.P.S. For almost everything else you’ll ever want to know about lighthouses, visit the website of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, the foremost lighthouse education and preservation organization. “U.S. Lighthouse Society”

P.P.P.P.S. A wonderful new resource for lighthouse information has recently opened. The new National Lighthouse Museum is located in several of the buildings that were once the main Lighthouse Depot. This is on Staten Island, New York. www.lighthousemuseum.org.

P.P.P.P.S. The photo above is a sunset shot of the LITTLE SABLE POINT Lighthouse on the east shore of Lake Michigan, one of the lighthouses where we have been volunteers. More on this one, and all the others where we have served is found elsewhere in this section. Lighthouses, in addition to usually being architecturally pleasing structures located in scenic locations, provided much needed beacons of light to guide mariners along treacherous shores. The first lighthouse in the original thirteen colonies was built in Boston harbor in 1716, and over the next two centuries, hundreds more were built along the coasts and rivers of our nation. Today, far too many are gone. Those that remain display either no light at all, or an automated one, but these historic structures have captured the imagination of historically minded Americans. Although a few remain under the juristiction of the U.S. Coast Guard, the agency that took over American lighthouse administation in 1939, most are owned and maintained by federal, state, or local parks, town governments, or non-profit “Friends” groups formed to preserve a specific light. Seek one out. Volunteer today. They need your help.