Selected Keeper's Log Articles

You can access a selection of articles from past issues of The Keeper's Log magazine here. Simply select from the sections below.

Morris Island Lighthouse, nicknamed the Old Charleston Light, has served the citizens of South Carolina in various ways, for three centuries. The need for safe passage into Charleston Harbor was immediately recognized in 1670 when Albemarle Point was first settled.

One of the most important aspects of America’s far flung light stations was the question of supplying water, not only for domestic use but, in some cases, for the boilers that supplied steam for sound (fog) signals.

Like many of its sister sentries on the West Coast, Lime Kiln Lighthouse had an ignoble beginning. It was an important site located along the vital route north from Puget Sound into the Strait of Georgia, the sheltered portal at the southern end of the Inside Passage to Alaska.

The Point Wilson Lighthouse, marking the entrance to Admiralty Inlet, was built by the Lighthouse Service. At 51 feet above the water, the lens is the highest of all the lighthouses on Puget Sound. The 1914 lighthouse replaced an earlier wooden lighthouse which was con¬structed in 1879. The Point Wilson Lighthouse, lo¬cated in Fort Worden State Park near Port Townsend, is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Washington State Heritage Register. It is one of the most important navigational aids in Washington, a link connecting Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

This article is an attempt to correct some of the myths that have been perpetuated for some time concerning lighthouse locations, lighthouse structures and, most importantly, the illuminating apparatus used in them. I have little expectation that I will put an end to such tales but if I can correct any of the confusion that exists about lighthouses then this will have been a worthwhile effort.

About 1876, the Lighthouse Service decided it would be a good idea to provide a small library at isolated stations to improve morale. The Annual report of that year States, "During the past year the board has collected fifty small libraries, consisting of about 40 volumes each, for use at the more isolated light stations. It is intended that each library remain about six months at a place, when it will be exchanged for another.

In October 1804, John Cooper (or Couper) sold four acres
of land, known as Couper’s Point to the government for one dollar.
Finally, three years later, an act passed on March 3, 1807, authorizing
$19,000 to build the lighthouse. This amount far exceeds
funds authorized for other lighthouses in this era. As an example, in
1806 $5,000 was authorized for each of the following lighthouses: on
Fairweather Island, Connecticut, and Franklin Island, Maine, and a
two-towered station at Chatham, Massachusetts. The extraordinary

The tower of the old Cape Henry Lighthouse still stands, gaunt and silent, perched atop a dominating sand dune at the edge of the sea at the junction of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Though its light is gone and repairs would be helpful, it continues as a noted, familiar and ancient landmark. Such it has been since its construction was begun in 1791.

No location is more emblematic of the blend—or clash, depending on how you view it—of Newport’s maritime past with modern development than Goat Island, where this modest and relatively ancient stone lighthouse stands alongside the massive Hyatt Regency Hotel. For almost 350 years, Goat Island, about six-tenths of a mile long in a north–south direction and now attached to the rest of the city by a causeway, has been utilized in just about every way imaginable—from fort to hotel, torpedo station to marina, barracks to condominiums.

One third of the way up the California coast from Mexico, the shoreline curves west and then makes an abrupt 90- degree tum north. Early on, this point of land - this cape, was tenned the Cape Hom of the Pacific. One 19th century marinei; sailing north in the relative calm of the Santa Barbara Channel, responded to a new seaman who thought the sailing conditions idyllic, "It may be fine now, but when we get north of Conception we'll catch hell!"