It only took about eleven months, but lighthouse heritage champion Tim Harrison finally got the Ross Holland Award that the American Lighthouse Committee voted him last September. The award is the national preservation community’s highest honor for lifetime contributions to the preservation of America’s lighthouses and their history, and Tim — publisher of Lighthouse Digest Magazine, founder of the Lighthouse Depot and American Lighthouse Foundation and a tireless crusader for the cause, certainly deserves that.
After several missed efforts to mesh schedules, ALC co-coordinator Mike Vogel finally managed to make the long journey from the Dire Straits Lighthouse, ALC’s legendary headquarters, to the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, where Tim had journeyed for five hours from Cutler “Down East” for a museum board meeting. The journey from Dire Straits is always shrouded in time but considerably longer; the leg from Buffalo alone took about 11 hours.
Tim is the handsome guy on the right. Mike’s on the left, the award’s in the middle, and we’re not sure who the keeper in the background is. It’s not Wayne Wheeler, because Wayne is in constant motion.
Both guys got the memo about khaki slacks, and considering their divergent paths they also wound up kind of color-coordinated in the shirt department. Credit Stacey Vogel and Kathy Finnegan, who witnessed this transfer along with some Vogel kids and grandkids.
It was fun to catch up with Dot Black as well, and to see the museum surviving and its fabulous displays still unchanged. Hopefully, with financial support and Coast Guard cooperation on the artifact issue, that can continue.
I confess a bit of nostalgia for the old museum on Limerock Street, in an old Victorian house shared with the Daughters of the American Revolution. Ken Black had that set up so that kids could push a button on the first floor and activate a fog horn in the basement. That’s not a popular option in the new digs, as the basement houses the Rockland Police Department and the blast probably would be noticed.
That’s not a problem up in Dire Straits. Not only is the sound of the fog horn kind of exciting, there being not much else happening in these parts, but we don’t have to house a police station in the basement coal bin either. The area’s so poor that we don’t have crime, because there’s nothin’ worth stealing. Down at the corner store, Caleb Farnsworth keeps an old dog we call Offisa Pupp, and he’ll do. Sleeps most of the time, because with all the fog there’s not much to see and no perps to track anyway. He’s deaf in one ear, too, so he just keeps that side turned toward the fog horn and the other turned toward the pot-bellied stove.
And that’s the news from Dire Straits. If you recognize the allusion to Offisa Pupp, well, a lot of water has slid under your keel by now. We’ll keep the light on for ya.