Set against the backdrop of an expanding nation, Brilliant Beacons traces the evolution of America's lighthouse system from its earliest days, highlighting the political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate the nation's hardscrabble coastlines. Beginning with "Boston Light," America’s first lighthouse, Dolin shows how the story of America, from colony to regional backwater, to fledging nation, and eventually to global industrial power, can be illustrated through its lighthouses.
Even in the colonial era, the question of how best to solve the collective problem of lighting our ports, reefs, and coasts through a patchwork of private interests and independent localities telegraphed the great American debate over federalism and the role of a centralized government. As the nation expanded, throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, so too did the coastlines in need of illumination, from New England to the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, the Pacific Coast all the way to Alaska. In Dolin's hands we see how each of these beacons tell its own story of political squabbling, technological advancement, engineering marvel, and individual derring-do.
In rollicking detail, Dolin treats readers to a memorable cast of characters, from the penny-pinching Treasury official Stephen Pleasonton, who hamstrung the country's efforts to adopt the revolutionary Fresnel lens, to the indomitable Katherine Walker, who presided so heroically over New York Harbor as keeper at Robbins Reef Lighthouse that she was hailed as a genuine New York City folk hero upon her death in 1931. He also animates American military history from the Revolution to the Civil War and presents tales both humorous and harrowing of soldiers, saboteurs, Civil War battles, ruthless egg collectors, and, most important, the lighthouse keepers themselves, men and women who often performed astonishing acts of heroism in carrying out their duties.
In the modern world of GPS and satellite-monitored shipping lanes, Brilliant Beacons forms a poignant elegy for the bygone days of the lighthouse, a symbol of American ingenuity that served as both a warning and a sign of hope for generations of mariners; and it also shows how these sentinels have endured, retaining their vibrancy to the present day. Containing over 150 photographs and illustrations, Brilliant Beacons vividly reframes America's history.
For more than two centuries, lighthouses have helped sailors find their way through treacherous waters, guiding them home or taking them safely through passages on their way to adventure. These historic towers and houses form a sparkling chain of lights along our coasts, a reminder of the past echoing with adventure and mystery, a lure for travelers looking for a glimpse into a romantic past.
Completely revised and updated, American Lighthouses offers more than just a tour of 450 beautiful and historic navigational beacons dotting the coasts and lakes of the United States. This fully illustrated, one-of-a-kind handbook details their history and architecture and provides full information on visiting or viewing them. Included are many endangered lights, threatened by erosion or lack of funding, as well as “ghost lights,” which are no longer standing.
Ray Jones is a leading authority on lighthouses and the author of more than 14 books and countless magazine articles on American history. He lives in Pebble Beach, California.
First published by UNC Press in 1991, this book tells the story of the noble lighthouse from its earliest history to the present day. In this new edition, Dawson Carr details the recent relocation of the treasured landmark. For now, it seems, North Carolinians have succeeded in protecting their lighthouse, as it has protected them for over a century.
Author James Claflin combines an extensively researched text with this exquisite collection of previously unpublished images to tell the story of an area heavily dependent on its coastal commerce. The task of lighting and protecting the coasts was taken on by the U.S. Light-House Establishment and the U.S. Life-Saving Service, later merged to become the U.S. Coast Guard. Within these pages, see the Boon Island Lighthouse keeper, his family alongside, as he proudly poses in his uniform; life savers at Hunniwells Beach station as they pull through a blinding snowstorm to rescue the crew of a stranded schooner; and the way of life on an offshore lightship. Lighthouses and Life Saving along the Maine and New Hampshire Coast is a visual journey into our nations maritime history.
No symbol is more synonymous with Wisconsin’s rich maritime traditions than the lighthouse. These historic beacons conjure myriad notions of a bygone era: romance, loneliness, and dependability; dedicated keepers manning the lights; eerie tales of haunted structures and ghosts of past keepers; mariners of yesteryear anxiously hoping to make safe haven around rocky shorelines. If these sentinels could talk, imagine the tales they would tell of ferocious Great Lakes storms taking their toll on vessels and people alike.
In this fully updated edition of Wisconsin Lighthouses, Ken and Barb Wardius tell those tales, taking readers on an intimate tour of lighthouses on Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Winnebago. Both delightful storytellers and accomplished photographers, the couple complement their engaging text with more than 100 stunning color photographs, along with dozens of archival photos, maps, documents, and artifacts. Detailed “how to get there” directions, up-to-the-minute status reports on each light, and sidebars on everything from lighthouse vocabulary to the often lonely lives of lightkeepers make this the definitive book on Wisconsin’s lighthouses.