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Deer Island Light: 1906

Circa 1906. "Deer Island Light off Boston." Detroit Publishing. View full size.

Circa 1906. "Deer Island Light off Boston." Detroit Publishing. View full size.


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Caisson lights

Caisson lights like this one were common at the turn of the century, replacing screw-pile structures which were vulnerable to moving ice (though not in the way you might think: what tended to happen was that the ice would ride up the piles and push the house off). Ironically the Sharps Island Light in the Chesapeake Bay leans over about 15 degrees due to the ice of 1977. The "spark plug" structure was easy to prefab and was used on a lot of shore lights too.

Lighthouse height was generally a function of the expected range of the light, and harbor lights like this one generally were short.

Helen Keller

I too was baffled by this so I questioned the Lighthouse Historian and his answer follows:

Hi Rip,

Helen Keller often wrote as if she could see and hear the world around her. It seems odd, but it might make more sense if you read this article:

My guess, in the paragraph about Minot's Light, is that she based her description mostly on the descriptions of those around her.

Jeremy D'Entremont

Similar to Thimble Shoals Lighthouse

The design is similar tot he Thimble Shoals and Newport News Middle Ground Lighthouses in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

They were all built around the same time.

Minot's Light Dedication

I found it interesting that Edward Everett spoke at the official dedication of the
new and improved lighthouse.
Odd that Edward Everett isn't a household name as he also gave the official
Gettysburg Address some five years later.
After speaking his 13,607 words over two hours in the November sunshine;
the other guy who was invited as an afterthought got up and delivered the
"few appropriate remarks" as he was asked to do.

Sometimes they stick with what works.

Sort of similar to this one.

I had the pleasure of coming in very close contact with it everyday while working on Plum Island for a couple of years.

Helen Keller?

I like this link, great stuff. But I find it amusing how "Helen Keller" describes how lovely the sunset was to look at, since she was famously blind and deaf.

Lighthouse Distaster-1851

Your readers may be interested in the dramatic history of the Minot's Ledge Lighthouse located in the same general area .... especially you folks who understand the power of the sea. This is a good place to start:

Today it is known as the I Love You Lighthouse because it blinks with a 1-4-3 progression.

It's wide.

Looks like it's about 70-100 ft high, judging from the lifeboats.

First American concentration camp

> No deer, no island, but one light.

Actually, Deer Island is right next to the light. You can see Deer Island in the photo of the new light.

Deer Island has been through a lot over the years. Interestingly, it was the site of probably the first concentration camp in America.

From Wikipedia

"Deer Island was so called because deer often swam over from the mainland when chased by the wolves from Boston Neck."

"During King Philip's War (also known as Metacomet's War) in the 1670s, it was used as a place of internment. Christian "Praying Indians" were moved from Marlborough and Natick in spite of the efforts of John Eliot, the minister of Roxbury, to prevent it. Most went to Deer Island, but at least one colony was sent to Long Island.

"During the winter of 1675-76 some 500 American Indians were held on the island and, without adequate food or shelter, many died. In the middle of the 19th century, the island was the landing point for thousands of refugees from the Irish Potato Famine, many sick and poverty-stricken.

"In 1847, a hospital was established to treat incoming immigrants, and during the following two years approximately 4,800 men, women, and children were admitted. Many recovered and went on to new lives, but more than 800 died.

"In 1850, an almshouse was built to house paupers. It became the Suffolk County jail and is mentioned in Sylvia Plath's poem 'Point Shirley.'"

Replaced with...

The old lighthouse was demolished in 1982 and replaced with this silly looking thing.

Funny Name

No deer, no island, but one light.

Separated at birth?

At the link is a picture of the Plum Beach Light, off Saunderstown, Rhode Island. I guess when you've got a design that works you stick with it. It was finished in 1899, nine years after the Deer Island Light; but unlike that light, it still stands today. The Deer Island Light today sits atop a fiberglass column.

Wow it's short

That doesn't seem very high off the water for a light house. Hate to be in there during a bad storm.

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