A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

February 2007 Archives

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February 26, 2007

02/26-27/07 CPR/First Aid Training for LAMP Scientific Divers

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMP Events

CPR/First Aid Training for LAMP volunteers
When: 26-27 February 2007
Where: Red Cross Office, U.S. Highway 1, St. Augustine
Instructor: Rick Cain

February 25, 2007

When you feel better than you look.........

Posted by: in Flights of Fancy


We have a nighttime tour at the St. Augustine lighthouse called the “Dark of the Moon”.
On a recent Dark of the Moon tour a young & attractive female heard a male voice say:

“HELLO PRINCESS”
(note: no mortal male near her)

It is time for me to rethink my daily routine……..as I do not get such comments.
(I am feeling better than I look, though)
Added to my list of goals……I want a ghostly voice to say:

“HELLO BEAUTIFUL ONE”

I am hoping that the ghostly realm will be responding to body and spirit……

ONE HOUR LATER…SOMEBODY IS LISTENING!!!!!
I was talking with a guest who says I must be much younger than she is…….turns out she is at least 15 years younger.
Just this kind statement has me feeling younger.

I am not immune, as I too rely on the kindness of strangers.

BE KINDER THAN NECESSARY, FOR EVERYONE YOU MEET IS FIGHTING SOME KIND OF BATTLE.


Windy but Great

Posted by: Beau Phillips in Barely Legible

Sometimes I think people have a hard time believing me when I tell them that I enjoy my time atop the tower because it is often different. Its true, there are not always optimal conditions, certain times of the year staying the duration of your two and a half hour shift can be a chore. However, there are always at least 20-30 minutes that your glad your up there.

Today wind gusts in the high thirties closed the deck to children, and kept the adults allowed onto the bright red observation deck on their toes. Grip your hat, grip the rail, hug the wall, there is no prize for making it all the way around the 360-degree deck without holding on, so why do it. No one dared, not that the tower would ever be open if there were winds nearing speeds that could possibly lift a person of any size off the deck itself. Our restrictions are there because there is no emergency elevator and if someone was to bump their head on the railing there isn’t an expedient way down there is only the staircase.

No one else that spends time with me on top of tower is thinking the same thing, but it’s cool to see someone step out – one step at a time- into the wind. If you don’t believe me when the weather channel goes to its live remotes during the next tropical storm, watch. The reporter isn’t doing their standup from inside a room with their back to a window he/she is standing out in it. I’m not advocating people to dare hurricanes to feel the wind in their hair, but trust us we would not let you go out into the wind if it was to dangerous. So if your lucky enough to come to the lighthouse on a day when it’s a little windy lean into it and imagine your in your very own Weather Channel weather update, live from the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

February 24, 2007

02/24/07 Lecture: Lake George, New York's 1758 LAND TORTOISE Shipwreck: The History and Archaeology of "The Lost Radeau"

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMP Events, LAMPosts

radeux_diveronbow.jpg

Underwater archaeologist Joseph W. Zarzynski will present a program on the flagship of "The Sunken Fleet of 1758," a British fleet from the Seven Years War (French and Indian War). He will history, discovery, and underwater archaeological study of the "The Lost Radeau," a strange seven-sided floating gun battery, a type of floating fortress, that was discovered by archaeologists in Lake George in 1990. The British warship, lying in 107 ft. of water, is often called "North America's oldest 'intact' warship" because of its incredible structural integrity, preserved by the cold freshwater of the Adirondack Mountains waterway.

Continue reading "02/24/07 Lecture: Lake George, New York's 1758 LAND TORTOISE Shipwreck: The History and Archaeology of "The Lost Radeau"" »

February 23, 2007

Psychotherapy the Lighthouse Way

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room

I feel like I’ve been running a lot and getting nothing done, so I took a climb up the lighthouse this morning to check on things. I go up once a day anyway, but usually in the afternoon. Spending time in the tower always helps me focus and quiet down. It really is remarkable. Once in the rotation room, I listen to the hum of the motor to see if anything is amiss. No problems there. I can keep my hand on the motor housing for several seconds, which tells me the motor isn’t working too hard. The gearbox is next, an older piece of equipment from the early 1960’s installed by the Coast Guard. I hold a screwdriver handle to my ear, placing the other end on the gear housing and listen to each of the bearings. They are purring today as usual. The lens is turning smoothly and everything is in order. My only concern is the condition of the friction rollers. There are eight bronze friction rollers or “Chariot Wheels” that turn the flash panels. The flash panels are the part of the lens that produce the “flash” for the ships at sea.

Friction roller inspection

We use bronze for the wheels because it is softer than steel and we don’t want the steel tables to wear. About one-half the weight of a 2-ton Fresnel lens turns on those wheels and for a time I have been watching some degradation of the bronze on the contact surface. They are all OK today.

Up around the lens the sun is warm as I look down on wind-blown guests standing on the gallery deck. The sea is an angry green today with small white caps, in spite of the clear blue sky. I take a few moments to be still…

suddenly everything is right in the world.

February 22, 2007

Howdy all

Posted by: Paul Wenglowsky in Man of Science

Hello everyone! The Man of Science at your service…aka…Paul Wenglowsky. Here’s some background info for everyone. I was born in Chicago, IL (go White Sox and Bears!), but moved to Wisconsin (go Badgers!). I’m an alumnus of both UW-Whitewater (BS-History) and UW-Milwaukee (Masters-Public History/Museum Studies). Quickly following graduation from Milwaukee I was whisked away from the Milwaukee Public Museum to become the Director of Maritime Education for the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum.

Can I say that I LOVE MY JOB loud enough? I don’t think so. It allows me the freedom and opportunity to present, to the 54,000 plus children that visit us each year, programs that are not only fun, but also more importantly educational. Too many rules and restrictions guide our school systems today, but in the informal arena we are not so hindered.

So now you must be wondering why is he blogging? I’m doing this to show you that there are more things going on here than climbing our tower. That we are a museum and not an attraction. Feel free to pepper me with questions like how do you handle all of those kids going up the tower? Or, what other things do you do there? For I’ll be happy to answer any of them.

Also, don’t forget to check out the latest traveling exhibit coming to us from the Mariner’s Museum. It’s the S.S. United States. She was the fastest ocean liner ever made and the last by the U.S. Government. It opens on March 2 and will run through April 29.

Looking for Information on Gulf Lights

Posted by: Kathy Fleming in Speaking Directly

I have been asked by Mike Vogel, President of the ALCC, to present a brief update on hurricane damage in Florida and Gulf Coast Lighthouse at the 8th Annual Maritime Heritage Conference in San Diego this upcoming October. Mike is doing a great job putting together the lighthouse track.

If you have information about a lighthouse that is suffering from Hurricane damage and is recovering or has recovered, and you'd like me to share it, you can post it here or let me know by snail mail or email through the link on our web page. Or give me a call at the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

Information about the conference can be found at the following link: http://www.sdmaritime.com/ContentPage.asp?ContentID=421

Yours in Light,
Kathy

February 21, 2007

02/21 - 03/24/07 Short Course: Archaeology of Northeast Florida

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMP Events

What: Archaeology of St. Augustine and Northeast Florida, Short Course offered through the First Coast Technical Institute
When: 21 February - 24 March 2007
Price: $79

This course is sponsored by the St. Augustine Archaeological Association, LAMP, the Florida Public Archaeology Network, and the City of St. Augustine. It consists of four lectures on successive Wednesday nights, plus two days of field work with archaeologists, and is geared towards members of the public interested in learning more about archaeology, especially if they are interested in volunteering to dig on archaeological sites. One of the four lectures is on underwater archaeology and will be presented by LAMP staff. The cost for this course is $79 and those interested in enrolling should call 904-241-0034 for more information.

LAMP Lecture:
7 March 2007
Lecture "Underwater Site Types"
Speaker: Chuck Meide, LAMP Director
An overview of the methodology used and the types of sites encountered by underwater archaeologists. One of four lectures offered through the First Coast Technical Institute (see course description above). The lecture open only to those enrolled in the class.

February 19, 2007

Magnetometer Survey on the Beach

Posted by: Chuck Meide in Australia Project, LAMPosts

Those of you who have been following my blog about the Flinders University maritime archaeology field school in South Australia know that the students have been divided up into three groups (Red, Yellow, and Green teams). These different teams continue to rotate through three primary areas to gain a variety of experience on different kinds of maritime archaeological sites. Teams have been diving and mapping the remains of the Star of Greece shipwreck in Port Willunga, they have been recording the historic pier and baths at Victor Harbor, and have been mapping the remains of the Showboat wreck on the mud flats at Hindmarsh Island. But in addition to these three, there is another project, the magnetometer survey at Middleton Beach.

Many of those who have followed LAMP’s exploits over the years know that magnetometers are devices that can be towed behind a boat, to search a large area of the seafloor for historic shipwrecks. Magnetometers record the intensity of the earth’s magnetic field, which is distorted by the presence of ferrous material (iron or steel). Thus, a wreck with significant amounts of iron (cannons, anchors, nails or bolts) can be detected by this means.

But there are also versions of the magnetometer that can be used on land. This technology can be especially useful to locate the remains of beached shipwrecks, or wrecks that went down on shoals which have over time become islands (such is the case with Conch Island off St. Augustine).

On February 8th, I accompanied the students of Green Team as they did their part to search for the Emu, a shipwreck that wrecked in 1853 as it attempted to seek safe haven in Port Elliot. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, Port Elliot was not a very safe harbor, and the Emu was one of many ships plying that trade that went down. The Emu is especially interesting as it was built in Australia relatively early, in 1841. Historic photographs show its remains partially buried in the sand dunes at Middleton Beach, just east of Port Elliot.

Today Middleton Beach is popular with surfers and beachgoers. It boasts beautiful views of the bluffs of Port Elliot in the background. On a rough day like today, it is easy to see how a sailing ship could come to peril in these turbulent waters.

<08FEB07_12<

Continue reading "Magnetometer Survey on the Beach" »

February 18, 2007

Daytona 500 Fans Welcome!

Posted by: Beau Phillips in Barely Legible

The Daytona 500 is Today! Here at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum we’re a leisurely drive from the oval in Daytona, and all day and week there will be visitors walking around in the gear of their favorite driver.

On this chilly but sunny Sunday, fans of Jr., Gordon, Johnson, and Tony Stewart have already raced to get to the top of the tower so they could get back down in time to see the race.

So we welcome all Nascar fans that will converge at our black, white and red tower sporting their guys colors, and in case you’re wondering the record to the top of the light is 52 seconds.

February 16, 2007

Of Ships, the Sea, and Walt Disney

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room

A traveling exhibit arrived at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum yesterday. It is about the S.S. United States, the largest and fastest luxury liner ever built in the U.S. It is a wonderful maritime exhibit for our lighthouse.

S.S. United States

But for me it is something totally different. Having been born in 1957, I am a Mouseketeer from way back. Sunday night with the “Wonderful World of Color” (later “Wonderful World of Disney”) was the best part of the week. Old Disney is where I go to relax. For some guys it might be fishing or hunting or sports, but if I even step into a Disney Store my troubles just all melt away. When I say “Old Disney” I mean before Walt Disney’s death on Dec. 15, 1966. I thrive on the history of the studios, the production art for the classic animated features, and especially the live action movies from the 1950’s and early 60’s. One of these movies is “Bon Voyage” (1962) starring Fred MacMurray, Jane Wyman, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran. A good portion of the movie was shot on board the S.S. United States. The scenes where the cast is boarding the vessel show her massive scale, and the “on deck” scenes really showcase what it would have been like to sail aboard her. It is funny that no matter where I go I can usually find evidence of the influence of this amazing American.

Walt Disney

At least Walt was always consistent… he always did everything first class!

We miss you Walt!

P.S. Do you know what Disney movie combined live action with animation, and featured a lighthouse in the town where the story took place (I also love Disney trivia)?


What do we save?

Posted by: Kathleen McCormick in Shine

A group of us have been meeting to discuss formation of a county-wide (St. Johns, Florida) oral history program. In the face of exploding development we have a great need to preserve as much of our history as possible before more of the important places in our community, as well as the people who can tell the stories of those places, are gone forever.

Continue reading "What do we save?" »

February 15, 2007

What's Your Favorite Museum Experience?

Posted by: Kathy Fleming in

I am with our Senior Team, Board and some Community Stakeholders working on an interpretive plan for the museum. It's an important, long process. This has me thinking about "meaning" in museums and our enjoyment of them.

What is your favorite museum/lighthouse to visit? Why? What makes that site special to you personally? What moved you about it.

I am fond of "environments" that emmerse me in the site and experience and that are deeply humanist "about real people and how they lived." I visted the Chinese house at the PEM a year or two ago and was blown away. It was so good I visited again on -line and loved that too.

What lighthouses are there that do this? My favorites for this are those little pepper-pots in Nova Scotia that are just out on a cliff. I also like Cape Lookout, NC, where you take a boat out and jump out and wade ashore. Very cool. Very Remote.

Kathy

February 14, 2007

Purging Binges

Posted by: Kathleen McCormick in Shine

We're a small place. We are in a constant state of file-purging, trying to keep the important stuff but avoid hoarding interesting but essentially irrelevant items. Once in a while we run across things in our piles of files that don't belong there but are too good to throw away. I hereby entrust a couple of them them to you, gentle blog-sloggers:

In a magazine article regarding early patent applications for life-saving devices we find my two favorites; a "Life-saving Hat" that inflates and becomes a flotation device, but with the obvious drawback of keeping itself out of the water while the unfortunate wearer hangs (and drowns)beneath it, and the better-placed but similarly lethal "Life-Saving Collar".That one seems like a good idea, I'm sure, until it inflates, strangling the wearer. To be fair, it does prevent drowning. Nowhere in the description is it guaranteed to prevent strangulation.
Oh... let's not forget the early inflatable suits. They kept the shipwrecked wearer afloat but were as likely to float the victim head-up as bottom-up. That's a 50-50 chance of surviving, though...much better than the floating hat. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?


February 13, 2007

Where would you visit?

Posted by: in Flights of Fancy

The “ghost phenomenon” has hit St. Augustine and has especially
attracted the paranormal enthusiasts and curious to the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse is “my beat” and I am happy to share the space with ghosties and aliens!!
Aliens have taken a back seat in St. Augustine……they are not the local focus of pursuit by the paranormal folk (of which I am a member).
Consider this: where would an alien visit?
Big cities
Fields of food
Mountain ranges
The Grand Canyon (where I plan to haunt)
Wall of China
Lighthouses!!!!!

Let us keep our eyes, minds and hearts open to the wonders of the Universe and the possibilities………

BLINKY

Posted by: Kathleen McCormick in Shine

In which we meet our Director of Conservation and take a stab at explaining just what it is she does…and explode the ubiquitous “vats of acid” myth.

The “Conservation” title, of course, is misleading. A good deal of what we all do falls under that convenient “Other Duties as Assigned” portion of the job description. Whoever invented that should have a special place in Heaven along with the angel who invented that highly entertaining “call waiting” music. I came here from 12 years as a conservator, educator, etc. at the Henry Ford Museum, near my hometown of Detroit. I loved my job at theford but felt a need to move to a warmer place. St. Augustine has always been one of my favo
rite cities and I was fortunate enough to land here.
Explaining what I do has always been difficult. Once I was invited to a Career Day at an elementary school. I prepared a talk on museum conservation and packed some visual aids then showed up at the auditorium door ready to rivet my young audience with the glamorous world of museum studies. The teacher showed me to my table, which was inexplicably filled with rows of tiny pine seedlings. The teacher informed me that she had arranged to have the little trees as gifts from me to the children and went on to introduce me as the conservator who was going to tell them all about taking care of the environment. Apparently she hadn’t read the job description I had sent. It is the fate of an Objects Conservator to be frequently misunderstood. We get used to it.

Continue reading "BLINKY " »

The History of the Fleurieu Peninsula and Victor Harbor

Posted by: Chuck Meide in Australia Project, LAMPosts

I have now been staying in Victor Harbor with the Flinders University maritime archaeology field school for seven days. I thought I’d share a little bit of the history of this fantastic place. First I’ll set the stage by showing you exactly where we are.

Here is a map of Australia showing the location of the state of South Australia:

SAmap

All of the major cities are shown, including the capital of South Australia, Adelaide. This bustling city is also the location of Flinders University (or “Uni,” as the locals call it).

South of Adelaide is the Fleurieu Peninsula. We will be based at Victor Harbor, on the southeast coast of the peninsula, but will be working at various locations throughout the peninsula, as seen below:

FLPenMap

Continue reading "The History of the Fleurieu Peninsula and Victor Harbor" »

February 11, 2007

First Trip to the Big Apple

Posted by: Beau Phillips in Barely Legible, Photography, Public Relations

So I went on my first ever trip to the Big Apple this week, and I tried to take a big bite. Unfortunately, it was frozen solid.
It wasn’t even the good kind of cold there was no snow, it was just face numbing, wear so many clothes you are bound to look like the Michelin Tire Man cold. However, even that can’t keep a good man down, numb face and all I still visited Central Park, Ground Zero, Times Square (aka - the center of the universe),
NYC Center of the Universe
Rockefeller Center,
Top of the Rock NYC
and even rode the Subway. I think I walked more in three days in NYC than I have in the three years I’ve lived on the First Coast.
Oh yeah, I also got some work done. We (Dr. Sam Turner [Director of Archaeology LAMP) and I] represented the Lighthouse at a reception hosted by St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, and the Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau. We met dozens of travel writers… Exactly, tell them a little about us and then ask them what a person with one day in NYC must do before they leave. Who would know better what there is to do than a travel writer?
Believe it or not I actually listened, Hey Robert, Jimmy’s Corner was great! To help those who haven’t been yet or for those going back, what is on your must do list in NYC?


Continue reading "First Trip to the Big Apple" »

February 9, 2007

Jeep Keeper

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room

Today my Jeep arrived. I have wanted one since high school days and since my daughter is taking my car to college and I am turning the big 50 this year, I ordered the dream Jeep. It is a thing of beauty. I should have gotten one a long time ago. I have had Cherokee’s in the past but never a Wrangler. The two are completely different critters. I like the Wrangler much better. I can justify the purchase as well since I have to brave rising tidal waters from time to time to keep the light operational during hurricanes… OK, I’ve never had to brave rising tidal waters in the past (just wind) to keep the light operational. But if I had to brave rising tidal waters I’m ready! The Coast Guard had jeeps here at the lighthouse during WWII, so I’m just carrying on traditions… right?

Jeep Keeper

February 6, 2007

Diving on the Star of Greece

Posted by: Chuck Meide in Australia Project, LAMPosts

Today I am a member of the Green Team. All of the students in the Flinders maritime field school have been divided up into three groups—the Green, Red, and Yellow teams. Each group of 3-4 students will work at one of three different areas—the Star of Greece wreck site at Port Willunga, the nineteenth century baths and pier at Victor Harbor, and the Showboat wreck and pier remains at Hindmarsh Island some 20 km east of Victor Harbor. Each team will rotate so that everyone gets to work at each of the three areas.

Today I will be diving on the wreck of the Star of Greece. This iron-hulled, three-masted sailing ship was one of the fastest and most renowned ships in the Star Line. She was 1227 tons and built in Belfast, Ireland in 1868. The picture below comes from a contemporary painting of the ship.
05FEB07_01

Continue reading "Diving on the Star of Greece" »

The Most Common Way

Posted by: Kathy Fleming in

Someone asked me this week how to accomplish anything with a small group of people who had no particular power to change governments or move the world. They were discouraged by a lighthouse preservation problem that was taking a while to move and change.

I told them that Alice Walker, the womanist, African American poet, ( someone I really love to read), wrote ..."The most common way people give up their power is by thinking that they don't have any."

Haven't you had this happen? Hasn't someone looked at you and told you "You are done here." You can't do this. You are finished." Maybe they said this in kindness and good advice and with the type of sincerity that friends offer...Thank them, but tell them. "No, I am not finished yet. There is still more I can do. Actually, I won't be done here for a while. Thanks anyway." You'll keep going.

I think this is true of small preservation groups. The trick is in the belief that you can accomplish anything. That is part of what not only saved St. Augustine 25 years ago, the belief that a few strong women had that they could save the lighthouse, and it is also what keeps us going and growing today. We have to believe we can do everything we want. We can dive under the sea and look at shipwrecks, we can use our educational programs to really make a diference in the lives of children. We can develop a real museum while protecting our site. We can build boats. We can study shrimping. We can help and encourage and save other lighthouses. Yes, we can.

We say it and talk about and snuggle up to the belief long enough and, well it starts to take....We do believe it. We believe it even though there is that little voice that says..."Maybe the naysayers are right." No, they are not right. Go ahead and take the actions you need to take. Fight fair and kind, but believe in yourself above all else. What do you think?

February 4, 2007

The first morning in Australia

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMPosts

Today is my first morning in Australia. I had a wonderful evening the day before, my day of arrival, at the hands of my host Dr. Mark Staniforth, Associate Professor at Flinders University and the director of the maritime archaeology program. For my first two nights here I’m staying at the home of Mark and his wife Paddy at Willunga, south of Adelaide (where Flinders is located) and north of Victor Harbor (where the field school will take place).

Today we will all be traveling down to Victor Harbor, and I’ll be meeting the students and staff who I will be working with for the next two weeks. Mark promises to take me on a very scenic route. The best part about the trip is that we are in a convertible—and February in Australia is at the height of summer!04FEB07_01

Continue reading "The first morning in Australia" »

I Take Pictures

Posted by: Beau Phillips in Barely Legible, Photography

I take pictures. I am far from a professional photographer, but it is part of my job. Cool, right? Yeah, of course; however, when you are responsible for taking pictures at events, workshops, and camps that will represent your organization, there is a little pressure that goes along with that.

For Instance, the difference between a good picture and just any old shot could make the difference in someone reading a story, flyer, or whatever the use, and passing it by or turning the page. Not only can a good picture make the difference in someone stopping and paying attention, it can help someone to connect to the story and, in our case, connect to our cause. Photos are more than just a little important, they are another way to grab your attention and make you notice the things that are happening here. Take a picture of a kid being handed an award and you have a visual aid for a story. Take a picture of the same kid hugging his mom with a huge smile on both their faces as he holds his award and everyone cheers, and you have a picture that will make someone stop flipping through the pages and read why.

So do I like taking pictures? I love it. Do I like the challenge of taking photos that can explain, without words, the importance of what is happening here? Absolutely. I am just saying, I am far from a professional photographer. It’s a great responsibility, so I am willing to hear any tips you guys may have.

Here are a few scenic shots, what do you think?
On top of St. Augustine

Continue reading "I Take Pictures" »

February 2, 2007

What Do You Think of Taking Out Fresnel Lenses?

Posted by: Kathy Fleming in Speaking Directly

What do you think about taking out lighthouse lenses and putting them in a gallery setting? The St. Augustine lighthouse keeps her lens on and working in the tower. We think that this is fabulous, and it is more and more rare. Sometimes we work with other groups to teach them how to be Private Aids to Navigation.

So are lenses safer in or out of the tower? Why or why not? Yes, I have an opinion, but I'm interested in what others think.

Cheers and Happy Weekend.

Light keepers of the American Red Cross

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room

It has been a couple of weeks since I have written. I woke up this morning to the news showing the devastation across central Florida from the tornados last night. The box with talking heads in my room makes it look unreal and distant somehow as I sit comfortably sipping my steaming coffee and check the roof over my head. People are crying, picking through debris of what, just last night, was their life. Hundreds of folks are in need of immediate help. A couple of weeks ago across southwest Missouri (where I grew up) thousands were without power for over a week after an ice storm swept through the area. In both cases as I came to work and checked out the streaming video during lunch, I see a banner across the bottom of the screen with the phone number for the American Red Cross. People depend on them and so they are always doing their job.

To work as a lighthouse keeper meant that you worked nights and slept during the day. There are many stories of keepers rowing small boats out to wrecked vessels and bringing the injured and sick into their own homes for a warm fire and something hot to eat. I spent my first nights as a real keeper during Hurricane Francis in 2004, when we lost power in the city for several days and I was up each night running the light off of a generator. It happened again during Hurricane Jean. People depend on the light and so the keepers were always doing their job.

In the lens room

With each disaster, volunteers of the American Red Cross are there. They help the injured; they find places for folks to stay; they provide a warm fire and something hot to eat. Sounds a lot like being a lighthouse keeper. Last week I re-certified as a CPR instructor. Since I am also a Registered Nurse they practically begged me to be a disaster volunteer as well. Nurses are difficult to find these days. After watching TV this morning, thinking about our traditions here at the lighthouse and what the keepers did for those in need, I think it would be a perfect fit. First meeting is Tuesday night. I’ll keep you updated.

Young at Heart

Posted by: in Flights of Fancy

Update!!
Oldest person to climb the St. Augustine Lighthouse was a woman:
**on her 99th birthday**
December 2006 a gentleman climbed who was 2 weeks away from his 99th birthday!


Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you
If you’re young at heart
For its hard, you will find, to be narrow of mind
If you’re young at heart

You can go to extremes with impossible schemes
You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams
And life gets more exciting with each passing day
And love is either in your heart or on its way

Don’t you know that it’s worth every treasure on earth
To be young at heart
For as rich as you are it’s much better by far
To be young at heart

And if you should survive to 105
Look at all you’ll derive out of being alive
Then here is the best part
You have a head start
If you are amongst the very young at heart

The lady climber passed away just shy of turning 105!!!

Oddities and Possibilities

Posted by: in Flights of Fancy

Time to rant:

Why do you become the possessor of the ruby slippers when you are the cause of death of the true owner????
The sister seems the likely one to inherit!


Time to be amazed:

The lady who ordered a BLT and very carefully and slowly explained that she wanted it with bacon, lettuce and tomato.


Time for twists on possibilities:

I work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse. We are considered the most haunted lighthouse in the country!
Here’s one ghostly explaination: there are close to 300 shipwrecks in the approach to St. Augustine…..perhaps the shipwreck victims went “into the light”.

February 1, 2007

Ken Black, Mr. Lighthouse, Leaves Us

Posted by: Kathy Fleming in Speaking Directly

The Director of the Maine Lighthouse Museum passed-over this week. I thought I'd take time to share a little about him. When the Florida Lighthouse Association this last weekend I talked and listened mostly to David D'Amicol tell some stories that involved both he and Ken and various USCG exploits during nor-easters on the Great Lakes. What brave guys!. I did not write this, but here is a snip from Ken's life history from his Obit that went around:

Black is largely credited as being one of the principle founders of the lighthouse preservation movement in the United States, and the first person to have a national newsletter about lighthouses, which always ended with his personal comments and the statement, "Be neighborly," a philosophy that he was known to live by.

Born on June 29, 1923, Black was a Coast Guard veteran of World War II and he saw action at the invasion of Okinawa. After the war served throughout New England and the Great Lakes in various capacities including, being OIC at the Point Allerton, Massachusetts Life Boat Station; Commander of a lightship; Group Commander of the Quoddy Head Coast Guard Station in Lubec, Maine; Commander of the Coast Guard Cutter Ojibwa and he finished his over 32-year Coast Guard career as Commander of the Rockland, Maine, Coast Guard Station.

His interest is saving lighthouse artifacts began when he realized that many items were being discarded as automation changed the way lighthouses had been operating since the late 1700's. He first created an exhibit at the base of Boston Lighthouse in the 1960's, an exhibit that is still there to this day. As well as being the first Coast Guardsman to decorate a lighthouse at Christmastime, he stared the First Marine Exhibit at the Rockland Coast Guard Station, which evolved into the largest collection of lighthouse lenses and equipment in America. By the time he had retired from the Coast Guard in 1973 he was the official curator of the First Coast Guard District.

When I was just a newbie at lighthouse keeping, well I didn't know much about it. I didn't know what a rich community of lighthouse keepers were out there to help and support us here in St. Augustine. I had not yet come to depend on friends like Joe Cocking or Cullen Chambers or architect Ken Smith for advice. I had not yet met Anne Caneer and seen what amazing things she had done at Ponce Inlet. The list goes on and on...but I did sit down and watch a tour of Ken's Black's museum in Maine. I watched him talk about his objects, about aids to navigation, over and over. When I give a tour I still use things I learned that day by listening to Ken talk.

I know a thing or two about museums. And, I know that the museum world lost someone special when they lost Ken Black. But to the lighthouse community it's like loosing our founder and father at the same time. Fair winds Ken, and all our best wishes for happy memories of many years to Dot and the entire Black clan. May you find peace and comfort in your love for each other and for Ken. Our whole community will miss him.

Bound for South Australia!

Posted by: Chuck Meide in Australia Project, LAMPosts

In South Australia I was born,
Heave away! Haul away!
In South Australia ‘round Cape Horn!
We’re bound for South Australia!

Heave away, you rolling king!
Heave away! Haul away!
All the way you’ll hear me sing
We’re bound for South Australia!

-- traditional sea chantey

Hello everyone out there. This is my first appearance on the new LAMPposts blog, and it is the special Australian edition!

First, a little about myself. My name is Chuck Meide, and I am the Director of LAMP, or the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program. LAMP is the research arm of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum. I am from Atlantic Beach, Florida—about a 45 minute drive north of St. Augustine—and I am a maritime archaeologist by trade. I went to school at Florida State University for my undergrad and master’s degree, and am currently completing my PhD studies through the College of William and Mary. After finishing my coursework there, I applied for and was offered the job of running LAMP, an offer I couldn’t refuse. So in February of last year I moved from Williamsburg, Virginia back home to Florida’s First Coast.

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