I am in love with lighthouses. It is a love affair that goes back several decades. Whenever the opportunity arises I avail myself to the chance of venturing to the closest one in my general area. (In my book, general area can be a very loose term…at least in my younger days.)
I have trekked to obscure parts of Maine…parts that some native residents have never ventured to that are mostly populated along the way by moose, caribou and other strange and wonderful Northern type critters (in the summer time this would be a little bug called a “mingee” which is a bug with teeth and wings AND OMG black flies, did I mention those little buggers bite?!)…just to glimpse a long forgotten lighthouse. I’ve seen some of the most photographed lighthouses, ones with the most history in our nation and ones that seem like forgotten step-children.
Portland Head Light (ME) is one of lights commissioned by Pres. George Washington when the US was a young nation. The light still stands in Portland and serves as a reminder of the young industrious nation we once were and is a testimony to an industry that our nation depended on and has since long ago died out. Safe waterways were also crucial to the defense of our young country. You can see other relics of the seafaring days throughout Maine and New England. One of my favorite and most “romantic” is the widow’s walk seen atop old sea captain’s homes.
Over the years I’ve made pilgrimages to lighthouses in the Midwest on the Great Lakes, in Canada and to lighthouses in Hawaii sitting on dramatic bluffs overlooking some of the bluest water I’ve ever seen in the Pacific. Of course, then, there’s the one at Diamond Head on Oahu. Who would have thought of a lighthouse in a volcano?
Tall & Handsome has taken up my passion with me. When ever possible he now goes and shares the experience with me and is delighted to see them through my eyes. He like to find ones I haven’t seen yet and introduce them to me.
There is just something about what a lighthouse represents…a harbor and safety in a storm…a beacon of hope…and couldn’t we all use that nowadays? The keeps and their families had to be hardy souls to take some of the assignments for these lighthouse. Many were of the lights were miles off the coast, isolated from civilization, yet the families were doing a job for mankind…
Strangely enough the lighthouses I had seen the fewest of were…drum roll and hang head in shame…Southern lighthouse! I have been trying to rectify that of late. It started last year with a visit to Tybee Island Lighthouse (GA).
This past weekend I had the chance to visit St. Simon Island Lighthouse. The original lighthouse predated the Civil War. The builder was from Massachusetts and he became the first keep and held the position for several years at an annual salary of $400. Later, during the War, Confederate troops were encamped in the area and later they destroyed the lighthouse to keep it from falling into Union Army hands and aiding the navigation of Union troops.
In 1872, the US Government ordered a light be rebuilt in the area and there has been one standing there aiding the navigation of seafarers ever since.
I think the St. Simons Island Light and the Keeps brick Victorian house and the gazebo is truly a Southern gem.
© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Burch.