F. Ross Holland, Jr. has been called the “dean” of American lighthouse historians. His fascination with lighthouses began early when at the age of five, his family visited the Tybee Island Lighthouse while on vacation. Ross began a thirty-year career with the National Park Service beginning as a park historian in California . He worked at numerous National Parks, many including lighthouses, as well as Civil War battlefields and the C&O Canal. Ross became a research historian, supervisory research historian, associate regional director for planning for the National Park Service’s New England office, and finally associate director of the Service’s cultural resources management program in Washington , D.C. For this work he received the Interior Department’s Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to historic preservation and its Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the Park Service’s cultural resources management program. Among the lighthouse work accomplished by Ross during this time was the restoration of Old Point Loma Lighthouse, a history of Bodie Island Light Station, the historic structure report for the keeper’s dwelling at Cape Hatteras Light Station, and a history of Cape Lookout Lighthouse.
Upon retiring from the National Park Service in 1983, Ross became director of restoration and preservation for the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. Fittingly, this allowed Ross to stay involved with lighthouses as the Statue of Liberty was a functioning lighthouse operated by the Lighthouse Board from 1886 to 1902 (originally called Liberty Enlightening the World ). It was during this period that he became familiar with the historic lighthouse depot located at Staten Island , New York . As early as 1972 Ross had called for the “systematic collecting and preserving of specimens and examples of aids to navigation and related equipment, for, unquestionably, the evolution and technological development of lighthouses and lightships played a significant role in the nation’s maritime history.” In the mid-1990s he was among a group of visionaries who developed the idea of a national lighthouse museum to accomplish the very goal he expressed over twenty years earlier. Ironically, after a national search, the national lighthouse depot at Staten Island , overlooking the Statue of Liberty, was chosen as the most appropriate site for this museum. To this effort Ross donated his entire lighthouse library and archives including copies of all his numerous publications, manuscripts, correspondence and collections.
During Ross’ career he authored no less than eight lighthouse books and numerous articles, reports, and book reviews. His first book, America’s Lighthouses: An Illustrated History , first published in 1972 and republished numerous times, has been called “the first full-scale study of the United States Lighthouse Service.” His Great American Lighthouses , part of the National Historic Trust’s Guide Series, published in 1994, is the first national guide to lighthouses in the United States . Lighthouses , published in 1995, is a beautiful coffee-table type book. His most recent book, Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay , published in 1997, is considered by many to be his best due to the in-depth research and new information he presents. Ross was a member of the team which dealt with the various options for saving the Cape Hatteras Light Station from ocean encroachment. The team’s recommendation to move the light station back from the beach to its original distant relationship to the beach was selected and the controversial move eventually was successfully completed.
Ross once said, “an old friend of mine says there is no such thing as a bad beer; some beers are just better than others. That statement pretty well expresses my feelings about lighthouses. There is not a bad lighthouse because they come in such a variety of shapes and forms, and their settings – normally spectacular – increase their differences, their beauty and their charm.” Those who have had the pleasure of knowing, and in particular working with, Ross have felt his genuine affection and appreciation for lighthouses.
There was no American as deeply linked as Ken Black to the collection and preservation of the artifacts and equipment that tell the story of America’s lighthouses. As the almost accidental founder of what became the best lighthouse museum in the nation, Ken has spurred both regional interest in the coastal heritage of his adopted state of Maine and national interest in lighthouse lore and technology. He is a pioneer and an iconic figure in the lighthouse preservation movement in this country.
Ken’s interest in lighthouses blossomed during his years in the United States Coast Guard, where he served from 1941 to 1971 in posts that included the commands of rescue stations, a lightship and an icebreaker. His discovery and purchase of an old set of lighthouse postcards, and the interest that visitors showed in his Coast Guard station display of that set, started a lifelong collection process that culminated in the founding of the Shore Village Museum, now in the process of evolving with his guidance into the Maine Lighthouse Museum. That process was aided by the interest shown by a commander of the Coast Guard’s First District who was impressed by Ken’s station display and assigned him to gather artifacts for the district’s own first Marine Exhibit. Ken showed little reluctance in using that order and the admiral’s name — a combination now fondly referred to as a “license to steal” — to further the collection under his care.
That effort was of critical importance to lighthouse preservation. It came at a time when the Coast Guard was launching its automation initiatives, and much of the traditional equipment in lighthouses was being scrapped during the conversion. Ken offered an alternative to that scrapping and saved some 570 artifacts, some of them critically important to the understanding of lighthouse history. The value of that simply cannot be overstated. The debt owed by lighthouse historians to Ken Black is enormous.
After retiring as Chief Warrant Officer from the Coast Guard station in Rockland, Maine, Ken settled in the Rockland area and founded the Shore Village Museum to house and display a collection that had outgrown its space in working Coast Guard facilities and included precious lenses, fog horns, lifesaving equipment and other artifacts. The museum unofficially became “America’s Lighthouse Museum” and developed into a prime Rockland attraction. This year, is begins its move to new and better quarters on Rockland’s waterfront as the newly-renamed Maine Lighthouse Museum.
While developing his museum, Ken also supported the preservation movement at large through his distribution of an early and informative newsletter and his encouragement of local preservation efforts. He was instrumental in the success of the Maine Lights Program. He also served on a steering committee for the National Lighthouse Museum project, and is honorary chairman of the American Lighthouse Foundation. Recently, he was honored with the U.S. Coast Guard Public Service Commendation for lifetime achievement. The American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee is proud to have have added to that honor by presenting him the H. Ross Holland Award.
A true pioneer in the preservation of America’s lighthouse heritage, Wayne Wheeler has made unparalleled contributions to efforts to save lighthouses and lighthouse history nationwide. Any one of his initiatives, from the founding of the United States Lighthouse Society and the publication of a high-quality quarterly journal to his organization of worldwide lighthouse tours and his leadership in the restoration of a lightship, can be cited as a major contribution to the preservation movement; together, his achievements underscore his national leadership within that movement.
Wayne launched his lighthouse career while serving in the United States Coast Guard. He was a Coast Guard officer from 1963 though 1975, reaching the rank of lieutenant before becoming the civilian assistant chief of the Coast Guard’s aids to navigation office in San Francisco. In 1984, while still serving in that office, he launched the United States Lighthouse Society from his dining room table. The Society consumed his off-duty time to the point that he felt compelled to leave the Coast Guard in 1988 to devote his entire work week to the growing and increasingly influential society.
For lighthouses, his timing could not have been better. The 1980s saw the real birth of a lighthouse preservation movement, spurred by increasing Coast Guard automation of the lights and the emergence of national support for historic preservation in general. Wayne’s society provided a core for that movement, through its national membership base and its publications, which included newsletters and the quarterly “Keeper’s Log” that continues today as a full-color journal of high quality and high standards. Wayne also assembled his first lighthouse slide show in 1977 and spent years after that doing fund-raising presentations that aided lighthouse causes nationwide. He fought for the foghorns of San Francisco Bay, encouraged and educated enthusiasts who wanted to preserve their local lighthouses, and led a national celebration of the bicentennial of the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1989 at Newport, Rhode Island. In 2001, his 17 years of work and fundraising culminated in a dedication ceremony for a newly-restored lightship in Oakland, California.
Wayne headed a national society that grew to more than 10,000 members in chapters from the State of Washington to the Chesapeake Bay, and he has been active in both the newly-formed World Lighthouse Society’s optics task force and in the National Lighthouse Museum, where he served as a founding trustee and its first treasurer. His affiliations and accomplishments are many, but it is his assistance to fledgling preservation groups and his unflagging support of established lighthouse preservation efforts that earn him lasting gratitude and appreciation from the lighthouse community. The American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee is proud to present him the first national H. Ross Holland Award.
Cullen Chambers has earned respect and admiration throughout the lighthouse preservation community in the course of a preservation career that has included three difficult restoration projects interspersed with much-valued advice and assistance to lighthouse groups across the United States.
Cullen’s accomplishments included leadership of restorations at Key West Lighthouse from 1987 through 1989, St. Augustine Lighthouse from 1989 through 1994 and Tybee Island Lighthouse from 1994 through today. Together, those efforts represent more than $3,000,000 worth of restoration at nationally historic sites. Included in that total is work not just on the towers but on the keeper’s dwelling and four historic support structures at Key West, the keeper’s dwelling at St. Augustine and the keeper’s and assistant keepers’ dwellings along with three support structures at Tybee Island — all while supervising day-to-day operations and developing exhibitry, lecture series, membership expansion programs, fundraising efforts and publicity.
In addition, Cullen has represented the United States at international lighthouse seminars, has written — as a volunteer — historic condition reports for 11 lighthouses (and counting) from Florida to Oregon, has undertaken several lens projects and was a volunteer advisor to the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association during development of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act from 1997 through 2000. He also was instrumental in founding the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee and co-authored its position paper on “The Future of Historic Optic Preservation Policy.”
Quite literally, thousands of visitors have benefited from Cullen’s work on lighthouses and light stations; at Tybee Island alone, annual visitation has grown from 50,000 to more than 120,000 guests. He has been a friend to lighthouse preservationists and organizations across America, and this Holland Award testifies to the respect he commands from all in the lighthouse movement.
Dick Moehl is a tireless worker on behalf of lighthouses nationwide, but his energies have been most concentrated in his stellar leadership of the oldest and most respected binational lighthouse association, the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. He became the second president of that group two years after its formal organization in1983, and was still president as GLLKA celebrated its silver anniversary in 2008.
In that time, Dick not only shaped a vibrant and flourishing organization, he devoted time, resources, skill and unbounded enthusiasm — his personal hallmark — to the rescue and restoration of the remote St. Helena Lighthouse in the Straits of Mackinac. Under Dick’s leadership, the difficult-to-access island lighthouse became not just an exemplary restoration project but also a valuable teaching tool, providing well-organized lessons in heritage and preservation skills to Scouts, volunteers, church groups, students and teachers alike. In developing that beacon for the future, Dick became master planner, chief cheerleader, logistics expert, camp master, laborer, ship captain and cajoler-in-chief. St. Helena was added to the National Register of Historic Places and its restoration earned many awards — as did Dick — including the 630th presidential “Point of Light” award in1992 and recognition by the State of Michigan.
Dick also was instrumental in setting up GLLKA headquarters, first at the Henry Ford Estate in Dearborn, MI and later in more specialized quarters in Mackinaw City. Under his leadership, GLLKA developed tours throughout the Great Lakes, began a much-valued quarterly journal, joined with Central Michigan University to back research efforts, established sound fundraising and financial management practices including endowments, and partnered in lighthouse cruises in the straits. Dick also organized Mackinaw City’s bid to become the home of the National Lighthouse Museum, and during his tenure GLLKA also acquired the 1880 Cheboygan River Front Range Light.
Dick’s contributions on a national level are equally outstanding. He helped win congressional approval of a Bicentennial Lighthouse Fund for restoration efforts and played a key role in formulating the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. He was an organizer of the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee and was elected its first President. He testified repeatedly before Congress and the Michigan Legislature, becoming an expert and respected witness on matters pertaining to lighthouse transfers and stewardship. He has been a valued mentor and an inspiration to a generation of lighthouse preservationists, and his skills and enthusiasm are recognized in this presentation of the Holland Award.
Mike Vogel was the organizer and founding president of the Buffalo Lighthouse Association, which began restoration of the city’s historic 1833 lighthouse in 1985. He held that post for 22 years, leading an effort that included reinstallation of a Fresnel lens in the long-disused tower and its relighting for the opening of the U.S.-Canadian Friendship Festival in 1987.
A journalist, Mike also did extensive research on the lighthouse and Buffalo’s harbor history, authoring or co-authoring five books on maritime and lighthouse history and publishing articles in regional and national magazines. His work at the local level soon led to efforts for the national lighthouse preservation movement and participation in National Maritime Alliance conferences. After launching and completing the first compilation of surviving American Fresnel lenses an effort that later expanded into a complete national lighthouse lens inventory, he served on the National Lighthouse Museum steering committee and its site selection committee, becoming a founding trustee of the museum.
He was elected as the first First Vice President of the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee, taking over day-to-day operation of the ALCC under Dick Moehl’s leadership. Mike then was elected to the ALCC presidency and served two additional three-year terms, developing the committee’s bylaws and establishing its position as the national lighthouse preservation movement’s leadership council and forum. Several of the committee’s pioneering position and research papers were completed on his watch, and the ALCC was instrumental in helping the government develop implementation guidelines for the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.
As head of the ALCC and Buffalo Lighthouse Association, Mike partnered with the National Park Service to run the second national lighthouse lens conservation workshop in Buffalo in 2002. He also organized and ran the extensive lighthouse tracks at the national Maritime Heritage Conferences in Wilmington, NC in 2001, Norfolk, VA in 2004 and San Diego, CA in 2007. His service to the national lighthouse preservation committee is recognized though presentation of this Holland Award.
Founded in 1994 as a new addition to the lighthouse preservation movement with a national scope but a special focus on New England lighthouses, the American Lighthouse Foundation has emerged as a valued contributor to the effort to preserve the history and lore of lighthouses as well as the structures themselves.
Created in 1994 as the New England Lighthouse Foundation by a small group led by Lighthouse Digest and Lighthouse Depot founder Tim Harrison, who served as its president for the first 13 years, ALF has as its goals to save and preserve the nation’s historic light stations and their rich heritage, to halt the decline of this treasured but fragile resource, to garner support for preservation efforts and to enhance the educational and cultural values associated with lighthouse history.
To that end, in particular, the foundation has staged conferences and developed a “Kids on the Beam” program. Advocating for lighthouse projects and lobbying for preservation resources, the foundation – currently run by executive director Robert Trapani Jr. with Jeremy D’Entremont as historian – has added chapters throughout New England.
Its Museum of Lighthouse History, an independent venture from 2005 through 2007, has been merged into the Maine Lighthouse Museum, benefiting visitors interested in the lighthouse heritage of the Northeast coasts.
If preserving the story of American lighthouses depends upon thorough and accurate research, Candy Clifford is one of the main forces in the national effort to tell that story and preserve this aspect of America’s rich maritime heritage.
From her days as a consultant to the National Park Service Maritime Heritage Program from 1988 to 2001, to her current role as author and independent researcher, Candy has forged a trail of rediscovery that is unmatched in the national lighthouse preservation community. She compiled and edited the Maritime Heritage Program’s 1990 Inventory of Large Historic Vessels, HNSA’s first member directory (earning the Historic Naval Ship Association’s Russell Booth Award in 1993) and the 1994 Inventory of Historic Light Stations, created an inventory of historic lifesaving stations, produced the Historic Lighthouse Preservation Handbook and created the National Lighthouse Heritage Web site. During her years of government service she also edited and finalized lighthouse nominations to the National Register of Historic Places and the National Historic Landmarks lists.
In recent years, her Cypress Communications has published five books by Candace and her mother, Mary Louise Clifford, including “Women Who Kept The Lights,” an illustrated history of female lighthouse keepers. She also has documented two Fresnel lens projects, written several technical articles, run a research service, presented on research resources at national conferences and served as an American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee officer and electronic newsletter editor.
A passion for lighthouse optics has made Thomas A. Tag the premier American authority on the history and technology of lamps and lenses. Through the years, he also has been unstinting in his willingness to share his expertise with lighthouse stewards nationwide and, though a wide range of journal and magazine articles, blog postings and conference and workshop presentations, with lighthouse enthusiasts. Tom and his wife Phyllis also run Great Lakes Lighthouse Research, and have compiled lists of keepers and lighthouse tender crews who served on the Great Lakes, publishing those compilations in a five-book series.
Tom has been a valued presence in the national lighthouse preservation community for years, providing careful and solidly grounded counsel on a variety of issues. He has assumed leadership in continually updating the National Lighthouse Lens Inventory, and has launched a parallel effort to track and assess lighthouse lamps. In addition to his own work, he also has served as chair of the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee’s Artifact Committee, played the leading role in the World Lighthouse Society’s Optics Work Group and compiled its international lens technology glossary, and is a technical adviser to the United State Lighthouse Society.
Founded in 1983, the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association was the earliest of the large and wide-scope lighthouse organizations and set a high standard for all who followed. GLLKA is both a regional and binational association of lighthouse groups and lighthouse enthusiasts, and maintains chapters on all five Great Lakes.
Begun by a group of Michigan lighthouse enthusiasts led by Donn Werling, the organization has made outstanding contributions to lighthouse preservation and to the lore and heritage of light stations throughout the Great Lakes. Using publications, tours, and its magazine, The Beacon, GLLKA has documented the lakes’ lighthouse history and heritage and offers its members both lighthouse news and an informative mix of stories about lighthouses and related topics in both the United States and Canada.
GLLKA benefited from the leadership through most of its first 30 years of the indefatigable Dick Moehl, himself a Holland Award winner, who led the organization from 1985 through 2012. Noted Great Lakes historian researcher Terry Pepper assumed the executive director role, adding his skills to the continuing effort to document northern border lighthouses and tell their stories.
GLLKA also has been active in lighthouse preservation, most notably through its leadership in “The Miracle of the Straits,” the restoration of the abandoned and decaying St. Helena Island Lighthouse in the Straits of Mackinac. Under Moehl’s leadership GLLKA secured a 30-year lease for the 1873 lighthouse in 1986 and later converted that lease into a pioneering legislative transfer of the deed by Congress in 1997, an act that recognized the amazing work of scores of volunteers and Scouts who devoted time and energy into bringing the station back to life through work, educational programming and island encampments that included several Eagle Scout projects. GLLKA also has been instrumental in preservation of lighthouses in Cheboygan and at McGulpin Point, either through its own projects or its leadership in community efforts.
In recognition of its outstanding contributions to the lighthouse movement, and in honor of its 30th anniversary, the American Lighthouse Council is proud to present the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association the F. Ross Holland Jr. Award for 2013.
A Michigan native who adopted Maine as his home state – making lighthouses a natural lifelong calling – Timothy Harrison has been a major figure in the publication and preservation of Lighthouse Service history and lore, and of news within the lighthouse preservation community.
In 1992, he co-founded Lighthouse Digest magazine, following that a year later by opening the nationally known Lighthouse Depot gift store and mail order catalog, located in Wells, Maine. In 1994, Harrison launched the American Lighthouse Foundation and its adjunct Museum of Lighthouse History in Wells, later merging its collections into the Maine Lighthouse Museum where he serves as a board member.
Mentored by the late lighthouse preservation leader Ken Black, one of the first Holland Award honorees, Harrison also organized a national lighthouse education conference in New Bedford, Massachusetts, sponsored the Public Broadcasting System mini-series Legendary Lighthouses and other lighthouse documentaries, authored and co-authored a number of lighthouse books, founded the Friends of Little River Lighthouse and headed the group’s restoration of that lighthouse in Cutler, Maine.
Harrison retired from Lighthouse Depot in 2004 to spend more time on lighthouse research and writing and in 2007 ended his 13-year presidency of the American Lighthouse Foundation. He continues to be editor and publisher of Lighthouse Digest and, with the assistance of his wife, Kathleen Finnegan, who is the managing editor, maintains a Web site with information on thousands of lighthouses as well as an extensive archival collection of rare and many original historic lighthouse photographs and lighthouse related documents.
Harrison’s years of contributions have earned him awards from several nonprofit lighthouse groups, the United States Coast Guard’s Meritorious Public Service Award, and the rare designation from the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard as an Honorary Chief Petty Officer. The American Lighthouse Council is pleased to add to that list the nation’s top lighthouse community honor, the F. Ross Holland Jr. Award.
Envisioned and organized by lighthouse community leader Wayne Wheeler, the United States Lighthouse Society has played a seminal role in promoting lighthouse lore and awareness. As the largest of any of the national lighthouse groups during all the early decades of the lighthouse history and preservation community, USLHS has made a wide range of pioneering contributions to the cause of lighthouse heritage in this country.
Chief among its many contributions is the premier journal of lighthouse lore, history and technology, The Keeper’s Log. Evolving over time into a highly professional quarterly publication with original researched articles in a number of categories including American and international lighthouses, news items, reprints from U.S. Lighthouse Service Bulletin items and other topics, the Log has been a touchstone publication for the lighthouse community for decades. The Society also maintains an extensive research library and databases, and to mark its 30th anniversary has embarked on an extensive redesign of its Web site to provide in-depth online resources for the use of lighthouse historians and groups nationwide.
USLHS also has restored a lightship and two lighthouses, and will continue that program while also launching a pioneering preservation grant program, the first lighthouse preservation funding program generated within the lighthouse community itself for lighthouse projects. The program is expected to grow as the USLHS Preservation Fund continues to grow over time. The Society’s popular Lighthouse Passport Program also supports individual lighthouse organizations across the country.
USLHS also pioneered in the development of high-quality lighthouse tours both in the United States and abroad, and hosted a national event on Newport, Rhode Island for the bicentennial of the Lighthouse Service in 1989. The Society was linked by the U.S. Postal Service to the first of its series of stamp issues depicting lighthouses, and in 2009 First Lady Laura Bush presented USLHS and its Chesapeake Chapter the Preserve America Steward Award during its 25th anniversary year. The organization has been active in the development of national lighthouse preservation legislation and in lighthouse community efforts, as well as providing research assistance and advice to lighthouse groups and individuals.
Originally located in San Francisco, the Society now is headquartered at Point No Point Lighthouse in the State of Washington. Wheeler continues as president, with Jeff Gales serving as executive director. The American Lighthouse Council is proud to honor the United States Lighthouse Society.
As manager of the Minnesota Historical Society’s Split Rock Lighthouse Historical Site, Lee Radzak has lived in the keeper’s quarters of the iconic Great Lakes lighthouse on the North Shore of Lake Superior since 1982. He has raised a family there, and has had plenty of visitors – more than four million of them, during his tenure as the lighthouse keeper.
Under his stewardship, now covering nearly a full third of the light station’s history, Lee has undertaken and completed many preservation and history projects, including major restoration programs and constant smaller efforts to preserve the brick tower and other structures on the clifftop light station. In 1986, he led construction of the first visitor center at the historic site. In 2011, more years of work led to designation of Split Rock Lighthouse as a National Historic Landmark.
An extensive three-year restoration project culminated in 2010 with an dramatic celebration of Split Rock’s centennial, including year-long programming, the release of a high-definition video of “Split Rock, A Superior Light” to document the station’s rich history, and a spectacular site fireworks display. Annually, Lee and his staff stage a poignant and well-attended special Nov. 10 lighting of the tower’s third-order mercury-floated bivalve lens to mark the anniversary of the tragic loss of the Great Lakes freighter Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.
Beyond his tireless work to make Split Rock an exceptional visitor experience and his work on other publications and videos, Lee is a vice president and longtime executive committee member of the American Lighthouse Council, a contributor to the National Park Service’s Historic Lighthouse Preservation Handbook, a tireless friend and colleague to the entire national lighthouse preservation community and a source of wise counsel and encouragement. The American Lighthouse Council takes pleasure in presenting the lighthouse preservation movement’s highest lifetime achievement honor, the F. Ross Holland Award, to Lee Radzak, keeper of the Split Rock Light.
Donald J. Terras
Don Terras has been deeply involved in lighthouse preservation and lighthouse history since bringing his considerable skill as a curator, anthropologist and cultural resources administrator to the Grosse Point Lighthouse on Lake Michigan in 1983. He has coupled an outstanding career as director of the Lighthouse Park District of Evanston and Grosse Point Lighthouse National Landmark with exceptional projects as an historian and author, winning numerous Illinois local and state awards for his writing as well as for his historic preservation, museum and research work.
Don’s award-winning 1996 book on “Grosse Point Lighthouse: Landmark to Maritime History and Culture” was followed three years later by the selection of the lighthouse as a National Historic Landmark, on the strength of a nomination he wrote and championed. He subsequently published “Lighthouses of Chicago Harbor: Their History, Architecture and Lore” as a further contribution to his region’s maritime heritage.
As curator of a special 1992 exhibit at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, “Eyes on the Sea,” Don organized and produced one of the largest displays of lighthouse history and heritage ever staged. As an anthropologist and teacher of museum studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Northeastern Illinois University and the University of Wisconsin, Don has shared his expertise and experience with new generations of heritage keepers.
At the national level in the lighthouse preservation movement, Don served on the steering committee for an effort to site and establish a National Lighthouse Museum, and is a past president of the American Lighthouse Council, the lighthouse preservation leadership council and forum. Among his many achievements for the ALC (formerly the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee), Don organized the entire lighthouse track for the national triennial Maritime Heritage Conference in Baltimore in 2010, contributed a survey and study of visitor policies and practices at American lighthouse sites, and has been instrumental in ALC advocacy efforts for lighthouse causes and preservation funding. In recognition of his many contributions, his leadership and his efforts in the preservation of lighthouses and interpretation of their place in America’s rich maritime history, the American Lighthouse Council presents Donald J. Terras the movement’s highest lifetime honor, the F. Ross Holland Award.
Ralph E. Eshelman, Ph.D.
Ralph Eshelman got involved in lighthouse preservation in 1975 when, a year after he was appointed the first director of the Calvert Marine Museum, he led the team that moved Maryland’s 1883 Drum Point Lighthouse ashore for an accurate and meticulous three-year restoration and interpretation effort. He has been deeply involved in the movement ever since, making exceptional contributions to a lighthouse community that has benefitted deeply from his expertise, advice and leadership.
A geologist, paleontologist, polar tour and expedition guide, lecturer and the author of five books on the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Theater, Ralph has served as a trustee of the Maryland Historical Trust and in 1996 wrote that organization’s Lighthouse Preservation and Interpretation Plan. He also authored a context theme study and National Register nomination for 17 light stations in Maryland, and at the national level served as historian on several federal assessment teams that surveyed 31 historic lighthouses throughout the United States, co-authored the Maritime Heritage of the United States National Historic Landmark Theme Context Study for Lighthouses for the National Park Service, and prepared National Landmark nominations for three masonry lighthouses including Cape Hatteras.
Ralph was the historian for the team that wrote the Historic Lighthouse Preservation Handbook for the National Park Service and Coast Guard in 1997, and that year was one of three lighthouse leaders who formed the National Lighthouse Museum Steering Committee. He served as the committee’s president as it developed the national museum concept and also formed the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee, later renamed the American Lighthouse Council. He remained active in both of those organizations, serving as a vice president of the developing lighthouse museum.
A past president of the Council of American Maritime Museums and founding vice president of the National Maritime Preservation Task Force of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Ralph is an owner of a cultural resource management consultancy firm, a consultant to the National Park Service and the founding principal of a lighthouse preservation firm. A veteran member of the United States Lighthouse Society’s board of directors, he has played a leading role in the development of the Society’s Strategic Plan and grants program, and most recently has led the Society’s assessment of the Alcatraz Lighthouse in California as a step toward preservation and interpretation of that light in cooperation with state and federal agencies. His expertise, invaluable advice and outstanding leadership is recognized by this presentation of the H. Ross Holland Award, the lighthouse preservation movement’s highest lifetime honor.
In 1986, Anne Webster started her involvement with lighthouse preservation by fighting to save a hometown lighthouse. She went on to make invaluable contributions to the national lighthouse movement, including developing the lighthouse transfer program that became the inspiration and template for the transfer of historic light stations to stewardship groups nationwide.
Anne led a group of friends in forming the Friends of Seguin Island to preserve a light just offshore from her hometown of Georgetown, Maine. Starting with a ten-year lease for the station, the group successfully campaigned to have the Coast Guard retain a first-order Fresnel lens that had been scheduled for replacement with a modern optic, and won ownership of the station when the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 1996 established the Maine Lights Program for the transfer of more than two dozen lights to local communities along the Maine coast.
Anne was appointed director of the Maine Lights Program by the Island Institute, which oversaw the transfers. The process and guidelines developed by the program, and its outstanding success, would lead four years later to the similar federal program established by the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.
Anne also served on the National Lighthouse Museum Steering Committee, and as a member of its site selection committee, devoting long hours to that national effort at her own expense. When the steering committee also formed the national leadership forum and council then known as the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee, she was elected secretary and then vice president. Serving in that role for several years, Anne helped organize national conferences and played an important part in developing the NHLPA legislation and the implementation process set up by the General Services Administration.
Anne played a pivotal role in lighthouse preservation at seminal moments in its development as a state, regional and national movement, and helped immeasurably in shaping it into a strong and successful coalition of groups with a unified voice in the general preservation community. Her long service to the keeping of the lights and of their heritage is recognized by this H. Ross Holland Award, the community’s highest lifetime honor.
Terry Pepper has earned the admiration and respect of a binational lighthouse preservation community for his commitment to the lights of the Great Lakes and the extensive knowledge he shares so willingly with all those who share his interest in and love of the inland seas.
Born in the United Kingdom, Terry emigrated to Canada in 1964. After obtaining dual degrees in advertising and business management in Toronto, he moved to the United States in 1973 to begin a career in a number of manufacturing management positions in the automation and automotive fields.
Terry first became interested in Great Lakes lighthouses while living in Indiana and vacationing in Michigan in 1991. Frustrated in his attempts to find accurate historical information on the lighthouse he encountered, he began visiting more lighthouses and spending every spare minute he could muster in libraries, museums and archives digging up information. He also began sharing his research on his superb website, “Seeing the Light,” in 1995.
After being asked to serve on the board of directors of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association in 1998, he was subsequently hired six years later as the Association’s first Executive Director. He led the Association from 2006 until late 2016, when medical issues necessitated his resigning the position. He continues to serve on the Association’s board as Director Emeritus, and helps out in any way he feels he can.
Now recognized as one of the foremost authorities on Great Lakes lighthouse history, Terry’s writings and photography have been published in numerous books, newspapers, magazines and maritime history periodicals. He speaks on lighthouse history and preservation throughout the Great Lakes, and is well known for his spirited and humorous interpretation of the stories of the men and women who served to protect mariners as they navigated their way around the treacherous lakes.
Terry continues to willingly share his research and knowledge freely with other lighthouse groups, answering questions, researching specific questions of concern and openly sharing his vast research collection.
He has been honored by the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association with its prestigious “Richard L Moehl Award For Excellence In Volunteerism” and by the Essence Of Emmet Groups with its “Lifetime Achievement Award” for spreading awareness of the Emmet County area’s rich maritime heritage. And he continues his hands-on work in lighthouse preservation by contributing his considerable skill as a woodworker, devoting his workshop to such projects as the faithful replication of storm-destroyed tower windows for the St. Helena Island Light Station.
Terry’s talents, enthusiasm and deep knowledge of Great Lakes lighthouses, as well as his superb leadership of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, is recognized and proudly saluted by the United States Lighthouse Society with this presentation of the F. Ross Holland Award, the lighthouse preservation movement’s highest lifetime honor.
Cheryl Shelton Roberts and Bruce Roberts
Lighthouse preservation and heritage throughout all of the Outer Banks owes an immense debt of gratitude to Cheryl Shelton Roberts and Bruce Roberts, who have brought history to life through indefatigable research, writing and photography as well as devoting much of their lives to saving lighthouses and the stories of the people who served them.
Cheryl and Bruce co-founded the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society in 1994, incorporating that very active regional group a year later and devoting long service as officers and directors of the Society. Together, they also authored nearly 20 books on lighthouses and lighthouse families, with Cheryl’s meticulous research paired with Bruce’s incomparable photography.
Cheryl is a former teacher and curriculum developer with decades of special education experience, and Bruce was a veteran award-winning newspaper and magazine photographer and the former director of photography for Southern Living magazine. Together, their concentration on lighthouse heritage and history for the past three decades has chronicled not just lighthouses but lighthouse preservation on all four coasts, an immense and valuable contribution to the preservation movement.
Their regional focus on the Outer Banks and North Carolina contributed in another major way, as well. When it was determined that moving the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was the best way to save that tower from the sea, Cheryl and her Society became the voice of that effort and overcame local opposition to the project. Cheryl first saw the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse when she was just a few months old, she learned from her mother; years later, she played a key role in preserving it for future generations.
Working with the National Park Service a year later, she organized a reunion of the descendants of its keepers and engravings of keeper names on a tribute ring of repurposed lighthouse foundation stones. Working with Sandra MacLean Clunies, she would also preserve oral histories and organize a reunion of Bodie Island Lighthouse families. Early this year, Cheryl also was elected to the board of directors of the United States Lighthouse Society.
In recognition of the outstanding contributions made by both Bruce and Cheryl to the lighthouse legacy of North Carolina and all of America, the United States Lighthouse Society and the American Lighthouse Council are pleased to present them with the F. Ross Holland Award, the lighthouse preservation movement’s highest lifetime honor.
Paul St. Germain
Cape Ann author and historian Paul St. Germain has tended three lights on two islands off the coast of Massachusetts, with the help of a corps of volunteers he increased and led through his years as president of the Thacher Island Association. His contributions to the lighthouse history and lore of that region are a lasting legacy, and his books and participation in conferences have taken those inspiring contributions to the wider lighthouse community.
Paul became interested in the lights off his coast, and primarily in the twin lights of the Cape Ann Light Station on Thacher Island, in the early 1990s. President of the Thacher Island Association since 2001, he worked closely with the Town of Rockport, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Massachusetts Audubon on lighthouse projects before stepping down this year as president of the Association and earning the well-earned title of president emeritus.
Since 1998, when Paul first joined the Association, the group has raised more than $3.2 million to repair and restore the structures, some of them more than 150 years old, on Thacher and nearby Straitsmouth Island. On the lighthouses lanterns were rebuilt, stonework restored, stabilization bands installed, metalwork replaced or refurbished, and boat ramps repeatedly replaced. None of the offshore work was easy, but decades of neglect have been turned into decades of care and the islands have been opened to the public.
In 1975, during the automation era, pieces of the historic Fresnel lens from Thacher’s North Tower simply were tossed over the side, but the First Order lens from the South Tower was removed for display at the Coast Guard Museum and eventually placed in storage. Paul was instrumental in tracing that lens and winning its relocation back to Cape Ann as an exhibit in the Cape Ann Museum. His research on Thacher Island also led to the station’s designation as a National Historic Landmark in 2001.
In 2010, the Town of Rockport, Mass Audubon and the Thacher Island Association joined to save the deteriorating structures and make other needed improvements on Straitsmouth Island to provide safe access to the wildlife refuge and historic lighthouse for naturalists and the general public. With an array of projects completed, the island was opened to the public in 2019 for the first time in 180 years.
Paul’s passion for history has led to four books on the lights and on Cape Ann maritime history, and his passion for sharing that history led to the development of summer keeper programs for both islands. He continues on the Association board as a source of advice and information for those who will guide the Thacher Island Association into the future. The United States Lighthouse Society and the American Lighthouse Council are pleased to honor his commitment to lighthouses with this presentation of the F. Ross Holland Award, the lighthouse preservation movement’s highest lifetime honor.
James S. Woodward
One of the last remaining old-school lampists, James S. Woodward is a master craftsman with a passion for preserving the techniques of a disappearing profession and passing them on to a new generation of preservationists as intrigued as he is by the beauty and the ingenuity of classic lighthouse lenses.
Assigned to a buoy tender as a new Coast Guard recruit who enlisted in 1963, “Woody” went on to a long civil engineering career as a Coast Guardsman and then as a civilian employee of the Coast Guard’s Great Lakes district headquarters in Cleveland. When former U.S. Lighthouse Service lampist Arthur Meinhold, who had honed his own skills at the USLS Buffalo Depot, was pestered into letting a young engineer help in the restoration of a Fourth Order Fresnel lens from Lorain, the old veteran had no idea what a long and dedicated career he was launching.
Woody took to lenses in a big way. Wielding the lampist’s most important tool – patience – he would be involved over the years in more than 200 lens preservation projects across America. Perhaps even more importantly, he shared his advice and expertise with preservationists at large stations and small stations alike, developing important manuals on proper non-destructive lens care and offering carefully considered opinions on lens projects at more than 40 stations from Bermuda to Hawaii.
At the peak of the lampist profession the Lighthouse Service had more than 800 lampists working on America’s lighthouse lenses. In recent years, that has dropped to as low as four. Often working with other members of that small group of qualified lampists, Woody has made lasting contributions to the preservation of the lenses that are the heart of historic lighthouses. Lampists keep lenses working and keepers keep them lit, and Woody’s work with the Coast Guard’s automation program in the 1970s and early 1980s left him with mixed feelings about the end of the keeper era. His counsel then and now, though, always has been based on the good of the lens, including advice on proper exhibition of the many lenses that have been removed from their towers.
After retiring from the Coast Guard as district environmentalist in 2004, Woody – who jokes that his bone infusion from work with at least 15 mercury-float lenses makes him change height from summer to winter – formed his own firm to continue the focus on lighthouse work he formed during his service career. As The Lighthouse Consultant, he continues to contribute to lighthouse preservation. America’s senior lampist, he has worked with, and learnied from, classic Fresnel lenses for more than 54 years. His work has been invaluable, and the United States Lighthouse Society and the American Lighthouse Council offer thanks with this presentation of the F. Ross Holland Award, the lighthouse preservation movement’s highest lifetime honor.