A Beacon Home
A Beacon Home
National Lighthouse Day is August 7, 2017. The seventh day of August was approved by an Act of Congress in 1789 for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers.
Throughout history the United States has had approximately 1,000 lighthouses, light towers, range lights and pier head lights in operation. Michigan is the state with the greatest number of lighthouses, over 150 of them.
The first lighthouse in America was the Boston Light built at Boston Harbor in 1716. The tallest lighthouse structure in the U.S. is Cape Hatteras Light in North Carolina, at 207 feet.
The highest lighthouse is 462 feet above sea level, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse in California.
The Argand lamp, invented in 1782 by Swiss scientist Aimé Argand, revolutionized lighthouse illumination with its smokeless flame, and was used until electricity became available. French inventor Augustin Fresnel developed a lens that magnified light many times over for use in lighthouses in the 1800’s.
The use of light beacons dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and one of the oldest lighthouses in the world today is on Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, Ireland. The United States Lighthouse Service operated most of the lighthouses in the United States between 1910 and 1939, when the United States Coast Guard took over the duty down to the present day.
Lighthouses are often located along some of the most beautiful coastline settings in the United States, as well as around the world, and the service they offer to ships, small boats, and their crews and passengers has saved countless lives throughout history.
My favorite lighthouse is located in Maine in a rustic area called Owl’s Head. A couple of decades ago my family and I vacationed not far from it for several years. It is located a few miles from the towns of Camden, Rockport, and Rockland. We rented a house on the coast that looked out onto the Atlantic and a small island offshore.
The lighthouse is in a very beautiful setting above the sea along the rocky Maine coast. It invites inspection. There are many other lighthouses in our lives, but Owl’s head is my favorite. Camden, Maine, by the way, was the setting for a show called Peyton Place, a prime-time soap opera, that aired on ABC television from 1964 to 1969. Camden is a beautiful town with a superb harbor! Rockland and Rockport are also wonderful places to visit.
If there is a lighthouse near you that is open for exploration, we urge you to pay it a visit. It’s a great way to become part of history and enjoy a summer’s day! There is a reason why calendars and paintings feature so many lighthouses in America and around the world. They happen to be in some of the most fantastic locations you ever hope to visit!