January 16, 2006
Educators' Newsletter
In this issue

America's Lighthouses

America's Lighthouses An Illustrated History,
Francis Ross Holland, Jr.

This wonderful overview of the history and culture of lighthouses and their keepers is richly illustrated with historic photographs, drawings and engravings. Holland writes about lighthouses throughout the United States, including those on Lake Champlain, from their early administration, to the recent changes in construction and maintenance. This Dover paperback is available through the LCMM museum store, at $10.95 list price.

Order Your Copy by Phone,
Educators receive a 10% discount
on all purchases!

We had a hard time choosing just one Featured Resource. There are many wonderful references on lighthouses out there:

Nineteenth-Century Lights, by J. Candace and Mary Louise Clifford
Women Who Kept the Lights, by J. Candace and Mary Louise Clifford
Lighthouses and Legends of the Hudson, by Ruth R. Glunt
Lake Champlain Lighthouses: An Illustrated Guide, by George Clifford
And these websites, too:
The Lighthouse Friends
US Coast Guard
New England Lighthouses
University of North Carolina's Lighthouse Directory



From the Old English word londloper, meaning one who runs up and down the land, the word landloper was originally applied to a vagabond. The word loper eventually became corrupted to lubber and landlubber became the mariner's contemptuous expression for those who live on land and freshwater sailors alike.

From When a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse There's the Devil to Pay,
by Olivia A. Isil.
Available at LCMM, 802-475-2022.      




Albert Hunter's journal

Students Transcribe 19th-Century Lighthouse Keeper’s Journals

Eighth graders from the Shelburne Community School in Shelburne, Vermont have transcribed the 1000-page journal of Albert Hunter who worked as a farm hand and a lighthouse keeper at the Colchester Reef Lighthouse from 1898-1907. This research is part of the 19th Century Journal Project, led by SCS educator Jeff Hindes. He and his students began the project several years ago to bring the history of the region closer to students, and to make the documents more accessible to others.
The entries from the Daily Record of Albert Hunter have been transcribed from a hand-written original, lent to the school by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Six years of the journal, organized by month, and completely searchable, have been published online, posted on the SCS’s website. Albert Hunter writes about his daily life, from how his baking and canning turned out, to observations of the water and wind conditions on the lake. His company is his cat Violet, and frequent visits from friends, and he spends his time cutting wood, trimming trees, mending clothes, and writing letters.

Thursday May 2, 1899: Drew sash of six windows, painted the casing of one and the base-boards in the spare room. Steam tug "Nirvana” passed to N. at 3 P.M. The wind has been constantly shifting and showers occasionally have passed along here and have been in sight in various directions all day. It is raining now quite hard (7.40 P.M.) Made a nice pudding, but had no sweet milk and I found out that water is not the best thing.

Students not only transcribed these entries, but also did research projects inspired by what they read; they write about gales, duck blinds, maple sugar, and more. The students involved in this project have enjoyed it. They say, "Reading his journal kind of made me want to write a journal.” “Publishing the website was cool because now people can use our work.” “Albert isn’t that different than people today. He has a different lifestyle, but he still does things that I like to do, like going for bike rides and visiting his friends.”

Congratulations to these students on their fabulous work. These entries are a wonderful addition to the historical research that keeps museums, historians, and students engaged in history. If you would like help starting a program like this with your students, contact LCMM at 802-475-2022, or Jeff Hindes at the school, (802) 985-3331 x206.

Are your students doing something cool? Let us share it with others; it may be featured in these email newsletters. Call or email Erick Tichonuk at erickt@lcmm.org, or 802-475-2022, ext 120.


Windmill Point

Did You Know .... That there were ten manned lighthouses on Lake Champlain? One usually thinks of lighthouses guiding whalers or fishermen home safely off the rocky coasts of Maine or New Hampshire, but this 120-mile long lake between New York and Vermont has many treacherous shoals and shorelines. Lighthouses warned captains of dangerous shores and were especially important in the mid to late 19th century, as commerce on the lake was at its peak. Hundreds of vessels plied the waters of Lake Champlain each day, carrying goods and people to their destinations.

Lighthouses have been in use in the United States as early as the mid-18th century. These early lighthouses were made from wood or rubblestone. In 1800, there were 26 lighthouses in the United States. By 1900 that number had risen to 1228 lighthouses and beacons, 650 of which had resident ligthhouse keepers. These later lighthouses were made from brick and more recently, concrete and steel.

On Lake Champlain, the first lighthouse was constructed on Juniper Island in 1825, followed by nine more along the lake. (Windmill Point Lighthouse is pictured in the historic photograph above.) These manned lighthouses were in use until the 1930s when the Bureau of Lighthouses replaced them with automated systems mounted on steel girder frames, which used acetylene gas, and later a modern solar cell/battery system for illumination.

Most recently the US Coast Guard began the process of recomissioning the historic lighthouses along Lake Champlain, beginning with the Windmill Point light in Alburg, Vermont in August 2002. So far, in addition to the Windmill Point, the Isle La Motte light in Vermont, and the Bluff Point, Cumberland Head, Split Rock lights in New York have all been relit. In the fall of 2003, the two breakwater lights in Burlington, VT were replicated and lit.

LCMM has a full collection of lighthouse models and information on display at our Basin Habor site, open in the spring. You can also visit the historic Colchester Reef Lighthouse, dismantled in 1952 and now on display at the Shelburne Museum, in Shelbure, VT. (Open May 1 - October 31.)

Related Outreach:
Lake Sailor: Merchants and Mariners on Lake Champlain

After an introductory slide show of historical images describing life and business on Lake Champlain in the 19th century, teams of students form “crews” and “operate” their own canal boat on Lake Champlain, making decisions about where to travel and what cargo to carry determining their economic prosperity or bankruptcy. (1 hour 15 minutes; Grades 5+; Call for funding information.)

Email: info@lcmm.org
Phone: 802-475-2022