The western edge of the stateof Michigan was a lush, densely wooded area in the early 1800s. The land was covered by a massive forest of pine and hemlock, and lesser numbers of hardwood trees such as maple and oak. In 1838, Charles Mears built the first sawmill on White Lake, approximately six miles east of the old White Lake Channel to Lake Michigan. This mill used water power cut logs into high grade pine planking. Charles built several mills in the area in the following years, some of which also produced wooden shingles.
From pre-Colonial times through the mid to late 1800's, the development of business and industry of the mid-coast and Penobscot Bay region of Maine was highly dependant on sailing vessels to transport to market the raw materials and finished products of coastal and inland areas. Fish, lumber, ice, lime and granite were the significant products derived from the abundant natural resources of the coast and inland along the extensive Penobscot River system.
One might think this is a trick question, similar to "Who's buried in Granet's Tomb " There really was a question about the inventor of the famous lighthouse lens. From 1822, when Augustin Fresnel first published his paper Memoire sur un Nouveau Systeme d'Eclairage des Phares, Sir David Brewster, in Scotland, claimed that he was the true inventor, and his claims were not fully resolved until after his death in 1868. This story will discuss the various claims made by Brewster and the counter arguments made by Alan, David, Thomas Stevenson and others.
In a recent book, an author described the fact that most Americans know about lighthouses, but very few, if any, even realize there existed a U. S. Life-Saving Service. The writer goes on to state " [i]t took neither courage or bravery to run a lighthouse.
Since settlers began populating Washington Territory - the present states of Oregon and Washington - the mighty Columbia River has been a major water highway for the transportation of goods. Much of the river between its mouth and Portland, Oregon is wide and runs deep. But there are shallows and a few islands to restrict navigation. From the Lighthouse Service's earliest presence on the west coast, aids to navigation were provided on the Columbia River.
John Meares was an independent British fur trader commanding the East India Company ship Felice Adevturer. While exploring the Washington coast in 1788, he attempted to enter a bay sheltered by a cape. He wrote in his log, "We shoaled our water gradually to six fathoms. We immediately hauled off the shore until we deepened our water to sixteen fathoms" [Ed. a fathom is six feet]. With this attempt, he named both the cape and the bay 'Shoalwater.'
Prior to the absorption of the U.S. Lighthouse Service by the Coast Guard in 1939, four individuals - more than any others - shaped the establishment and operation of lighthouses in the United States. For better or worse, these men are Winslow Lewis, Stephen Pleasonton, RADM William Bradford Shubrick and George Putnam. Lewis came on the scene in 1812 as contractor for the government and ultimately helped hold back our system of aids to navigation with his numerous antics.
In 1855, after a three-year absence, James Douglass returned to Trinity House as the Chief Engineer. Trinity House is the corporation in charge of aids to navigation for England. During the next five years, he oversaw the construction of several lighthouses, many situated on shore, and one, The Smalls, a feat of some ingenuity. As it turned out, constructing The Smalls was good practice for what Trinity House handed him next. It was to be one of the most difficult and challenging that he or any other lighthouse builder was ever called on to undertake.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 changed life for everyone in America, including those living at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. On December 12, the light station was closed to the public, and unauthorized persons were not allowed on the beach. (Eventually, civilian guards would be stationed to check every car that crossed the bridges onto the peninsula.) The two keepers at the lighthouse were ordered to stand eight-hour watches to spot possible enemy activity, and on December 29th, the Coast Guard decided to require round-the-clock watches.
"Moderate to fresh breezes S. To S.E. these 24 hours last 12 hours some damp fog sea moderately smooth Keeper Capt. S. L. Wass died at 2 P.M."
-February 9, 1886, keeper's log, Yaquina Head Lighthouse.