An Enduring Light

St. Mark's Lighthouse

St. Mark’s is Florida’s second oldest lighthouse.

“Every calamity is overcome by endurance,” according to Virgil. St. Mark’s,  Florida’s second oldest lighthouse, has certainly endured its share of storms and calamities. The first lighthouse did not pass inspection and had to be rebuilt in 1831. It later fell prey to erosion. The third lighthouse was rebuilt in its present location in 1842. During the Civil War, Union forces burned the lighthouse’s stairs. 

St. Marks stairwell

If only these St. Marks stairwells could talk.


St. Mark’s Lighthouse keepers also faced many perils. The first female Lighthouse Keeper Anne Dudley, a widow, nearly lost all her worldly possessions during a storm. Unfortunately, she was never compensated by Congress for her loss. Following the death of her husband Charles Fine in 1905, Sarah Fine became the second female keeper.

National Lighthouse Museum Staten Island, New York.

Photo courtesy of the National Lighthouse Museum.


Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. The exhibit is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.x

Stmarkslighthouse.com
For more information, elainemarieartist.com

Advertisements

Keeping it all in the family 

St. Augustine Lighthouse

Maria Andreu is the first Hispanic-American to serve in the Coast Guard and the first to command a federal shore installation. She was a Light keeper for the St. Augustine Lighthouse, 1859-1861.


Lightkeeping was a family affair. Families were considered assets to lightkeepers and the Lighthouse Board. 

The Colchester Reef Lighthouse was originally a two man station with families living ashore. The Lighthouse Board eliminated one position and moved a family out to join the remaining keeper. It was arduous work. Wives, daughters and sons sometimes fulfilled the duties of a light keeper without pay.  

Families filled in when the light keeper was absent or died. When Joseph Andreu fell 60 feet to his death white washing the St. Augustine Lighthouse, his wife Maria Andreu became the light keeper. 

Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. The exhibit is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford. 

For more information, visit elainemarie artist.com

(America’s Lighthouses An Illustrated History by Francis Ross Holland, Jr.)

Five female light keepers may be a record

New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans.

New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans.


Record breaking hurricanes in New Orleans often make the national headlines. New Canal Lighthouse female keepers deserve the spotlight too. With five female keepers, New Canal may hold the record for the most female light keepers. Margaret Norvell faithfully served as a keeper for nearly 41 years.  

The lighthouse has been rebuilt several times and one was auctioned. The current New Canal Lighthouse is a replica that was built after severe damage from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005. The wood from the 1890 lighthouse is now a part of the current 2013 lighthouse.

Shattering the Lens exhibit Sept 24-October 20 at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, New York sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. It is inspired by the book “Women Who Kept the Light” by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.

For more information, visit elainemarieartist.com.