The United States Lighthouse Society
The United States Lighthouse Society is a non-profit historical and educational organization incorporated to educate, inform, and entertain those who are interested in America's lighthouses, past and present.
Modern technology has doomed the classic lighthouse. The Coast Guard, in its role as custodian, has automated all the light stations in this country and, in the process, has eliminated the need for operating personnel. Sterile, rotating aerobeacons on monopoles have replaced many of those proud coastal ladies of former years with their sweeping towers of brick and Victorian gingerbread.
In selected cases, the Coast Guard is licensing some formerly-manned and discontinued light stations to qualified groups. Many of the light stations that were considered as no longer functional have been transferred to various states, counties, or to non-profit groups and are now serving as museums, bed-and-breakfast inns, or youth hostels.
Although the almost 300-year-old era of manned light stations in this country has come to a close, those remaining symbols of our maritime heritage can, and should be, preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. With this in mind, the U.S. Lighthouse Society was founded to assist in the preservation of America's lighthouses and to help qualified groups in their efforts to return the nation's lighthouses to the public domain.
. . . to assist in every possible way, the restoration and preservation of America's lighthouses.
. . . to continue researching the history of lighthouses, lightships, and related aids to navigation.
. . . to collect artifacts and lore.
. . .to sustain a program whose purpose is to put concerned parties in touch with local restoration groups.
. . . to serve as the means of communication between all who care about the preservation of these unique symbols of our maritime heritage.
. . . to continue publication of The KEEPER'S LOG, a wholly unique quarterly publication dedicated solely to interesting historical aspects of these sentinels; also to detail current happenings and, in general, to inform and entertain concerned people.
. . . to maintain and constantly update a comprehensive library and photographic archive containing material relating to lighthouses, lightships and navigational aids.
. . . to raise funds for a future national lighthouse museum.
. . . to maintain the society vessel RELIEF as a floating museum.
ACCOMPLISHMENTSSince our inception in the Fall of 1984 the Society has accomplished much.
- We were presented a Department of Transportation award for Outstanding Public Service to Transportation and Historic Preservation in 1986.
- We have developed a comprehensive research library and photo archive (over 6,000 color transparencies and hundreds of historical black and white photos). We maintain files on almost every lighthouse ever constructed in this country and a great deal of information on foreign lighthouses as well. The library is open (admission free) to the public and our staff provides information at no cost to non-profit groups restoring lighthouses.
- We have restored the lightship LV 605 which served on the OVERFALLS Delaware and BLUNTS REEF California stations and was also RELIEF, relieving all west coast lightships when they came in for maintenance. Society members have expended well over 10,000 hours restoring the ship and over $80,000 has been donated by society members, Chevron USA, and other entities. The ship is interpreted and has many historical artifacts on board. She has been designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
- We have obtained a license from the Coast Guard for the Gurnet Point Lighthouse (run by the Massachusetts Chapter of the Society) near Plymouth, MA. We have also obtained a license for the New Dungeness Lighthouse (run by the New Dungeness, Washington Chapter). Both lighthouses are open to the public.
- We conduct several regional lighthouse tours every year, and have started hosting foreign lighthouse tours as well. Tours in the U.S. usually last three or four days and include ground (occasionally boat) transportation, most meals, lodging, entrance fees, speakers in the evening, tips, taxes, and a tour patch for each participating member. We have had tours in Maine, New Jersey, Dixie, the Pacific NW, San Francisco and Russia, to name but a few.
- We also act as a speakers bureau. Our President has appeared on numerous radio and television shows and has spoken to groups from Maine to Florida to California.
- State chapters of the Society are operating in Virginia, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
The Thread That Binds The SocietyOur KEEPER'S LOG, a 48-page glossy quarterly, is "the thread that binds the society." The first section is historical in nature, featuring a famous American Lighthouse cover story, a human interest article, and usually a foreign lighthouse story. Other subjects explored in this section are Related Aids to Navigation (history of lightships, fog signals, etc.) and Clockworks (technical). Every issue also features Pages from the Past (excerpts from old Keepers' logs), and articles from the "U.S. Lighthouse Service Bulletins" (published every month from 1912 to 1939).
The second section, Notice to Keepers, is contemporary, telling about current events in our various Districts (New England, Great Lakes, Gulf Coast, etc.). Information about newly-restored lighthouses, those open to the public, groups looking for caretakers for their lighthouses and even the occasional lighthouse for sale is included in this section. Also featured in the second section of the LOG are book and video reviews, foreign affairs, letters to the Keeper, stamp news, a poem, and a modest amount of advertising related to lighthouse articles for sale. The entire LOG is laced with historic and contemporary photographs.
With the KEEPER'S LOG, members also receive an 8-page Society Bulletin detailing our various projects around the country, regional lighthouse tours and products for sale.
If you are interested in lighthouses, lightships, and kindred subjects, the U.S. Lighthouse Society is for you. Membership in the Society (a strictly non-profit organization) is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
|KEEPER||$25||Basic annual membership, which includes The Keeper's Log, newsletter, a bumper sticker, and membership card|
|KEEPER'S FAMILY||$35||Same as above plus multiple membership cards, window decal and 10% discount on Keeper's Locker items|
|DISTRICT INSPECTOR||$60||All of the above plus lighthouse surprises during the year|
|DEPUTY COMMISSIONER||$250||All of the above plus additional lighthouse surprises during the year|
|COMMISSIONER'S CIRCLE||$500||Lifetime membership plus all the benefits of the Keeper's Family|
|PATRON OF PHAROS||$1000||Same as above plus a special plaque and personal updates from the Head Keeper|
For additional information, contact:
The U.S. Lighthouse Society
244 Kearney Street -- Fifth Floor
San Francisco, California 94108
Phone: (415) 362-7255
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