Lighthouses: Lamps & Lenses

We’ve spent the last few weeks talking about lighthouses along the U.S. coasts – New England, Middle Atlantic, Southern and Gulf, West, and Great Lakes. While we talked about architecture features, we didn’t focus on the absolute most important part of a lighthouse. In fact, take this factor away and you’d just have a building, just a house.

I’m talking about light. What produced the light and sent warning beams blazing into the darkness to warn or guide passing ships? That is today’s topic. Continue reading

The Lighthouse Board, 1852-1910

After investigations revealed neglect and penny-pinching by Stephen Pleasonton, the U.S. Government established it’s second agency: The U.S. Lighthouse Board. This agency would oversee the administration of all lighthouses within the United States, ensuring their upkeep, creating standardized rules, overseeing keepers, and allocating funds.

The “Lighthouse Board Era” is a fascinating, expansive, and detailed time in American lighthouse history. The era lasted from 1852 to 1910; at the end the Bureau of Lighthouses took over, followed by the Coast Guard in 1939.

This blog post will attempt to give some generalized historical information about the board, proceedings, and expectations – but there’s so much amazing information we can’t cover it all in 1,000 words! Enjoy the summary… Continue reading