Two of the World’s Oldest Lighthouses

Under the title Can you shed light on it? by the Grimsby Telegraph and posted: on May 01, 2014 Tim Mickleburgh said:

The world’s oldest lighthouse (the Pharos of Alexandria) was built by Sostratus of Cnidus around 270 BC.

Spurn

The oldest UK lighthouse? The lighthouse and lightkeeper’s house at Spurn.

It was a pyramid-shaped tower of white marble on the island of Pharos (in Greek the word Pharos means lighthouse) off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt.

It was estimated to be 400ft tall, and was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a listing designated by Antipater of Sidon in the second century BC.

This formed part of Alexander’s Harbour, Alexander being of course Alexander the Great.

Alas, the lighthouse was destroyed by an earthquake in 1375 AD.

Unfortunately, the Guinness Book Of Records never provided a listing for the oldest British lighthouse. – read more

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The oldest lighthouse in my home country of Canada was built in 1713 and went into service at the French fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island in 1734.

What is the name and location of the oldest lighthouse in your country? Write me a note and let me know and I will post it here.

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THE world’s oldest lighthouse was built by Sostratus of Cnidus around 270 BC, writes Tim Mickleburgh.

It was a pyramid-shaped tower of white marble on the island of Pharos (in Greek the word Pharos means lighthouse) off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt.

It was estimated to be 400ft tall, and was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a listing designated by Antipater of Sidon in the second century BC.

This formed part of Alexander’s Harbour, Alexander being of course Alexander the Great.

Alas, the lighthouse was destroyed by an earthquake in 1375 AD.

Unfortunately, the Guinness Book Of Records never provided a listing for the oldest British lighthouse.

So when this came up as a quiz question recently, I was stumped, expressing ignorance when the answer was given as Spurn Head.

This though set me to do some private research.

Fortunately I have the book written by Kenneth E Hartley and Howard M Frost, The Spurn Head Railway (Second Edition 1988). It gives reference to a hermit named Reedbarrow being responsible for erecting a lighthouse in c1427, going on to state that “following the unrecorded disappearance of Reedbarrow’s early lighthouse a London man, Justinian Angel, erected a lighthouse at Spurn during the years 1673-4”. There is no claim however that the lighthouse was Britain’s first.

So I then turned to Lynn F Pearson’s Piers And Other Seaside Architecture (Second Edition 2011) for enlightenment. But it wasn’t to be, as lighthouses don’t feature within its pages.

The AA Book Of The Seaside (1972) is of more help, telling readers that only 11 lighthouses existed by the 17th century, all on the south coast. It adds that the Roman Pharos in Dover castle was “one of the earliest surviving examples … from this dim brazier … lighthouses have slowly developed”.

This though presumably wasn’t a standalone building, unlike that at Spurn Head.

Thus I await further information from amongst your erudite readership!

Do you know which is Britain’s oldest lighthouse? If you can help, then please write to Bygones, Grimsby Telegraph, 80 Cleethorpe Road, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire DN31 3EH or you can e-mail bygones@grimsbytelegraph.co.uk

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Machias Seal Island – An Ongoing Border Dispute Between the United States and Canada

I have mentioned Machias Seal Island before in my articles here, here, here, and here.

Well writer John Farrier published on Neatorama on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 a great article about how MAJOR/insignificant this dispute really is!

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(Maps: Google Maps)

This is Machias Seal Island, a 20-acre island in the Bay of Fundy.

You can’t see it? Let’s zoom in.

And from there the story continues! Such an insignificant island for such a big debate. That is government for you. Naturally it belongs to Canada! . . . more

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Hmm. That doesn’t help much. Let’s zoom in some more.
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There it is! It’s a speck of land that barely appears on the map.

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(Photo: Albnd)

You can see the lighthouse in the photo above. The island is inhabited by 2 human lighthouse keepers, a few seals…

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(Photo: Thomas O’Neil)

…and lots and lots of puffins.

The ownership of Machias Seal Island is disputed by the United States and Canada. Canada is in physical possession of it, but the United States has not formally dropped its claim to the island.

I’ve previously written several posts about the development of the US-Canadian border, whichincludes weird exclaves. Ambiguity about the border even led to the creation of 2 short-lived nations.

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(Painting by Benjamin West of the American delegation at the Treaty of Paris)

Although the United States and Canada now maintain a long, peaceful border, the placement of that border has been in doubt since the Treaty of Paris (1783) in which Britain recognized the United States as an independent nation. That treaty attempted to draw borders over unexplored lands. The authors did the best that they could with their knowledge of geography. But, alas, one of the descriptions for the border between Maine and maritime Canada was problematic. The treaty says that US territory includes:

all Islands within twenty Leagues of any Part of the Shores of the United States, and lying between Lines to be drawn due East from the Points where the aforesaid Boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one Part and East Florida on the other shall, respectively, touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such Islands as now are or heretofore have been within the limits of the said Province of Nova Scotia.

I’ve bolded the parts of the text that are the source for the Machias Seal Island dispute.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the eastern border of Maine was of great concern to the British. Some British officials coveted what Americans saw as their territory, and vice versa. Control of the Bay of Fundy was of great importance to British commissioners at the Treaty of Ghent (1814), which ended the War of 1812.

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(Photo: Thomas O’Neil)

Now back to Machias Seal Island. The American argument is that it lies within 20 leagues (approximately 69 miles) of the coast of the United States.

The Canadian argument is that a land grant that pre-exists the Treaty of Paris defines the island as part of Nova Scotia. It built and has operated a lighthouse on the island since 1832.

Occasionally fishermen from the 2 nations have gotten into scraps about its ownership. Some Canadian citizens have staked mining claims to the island as a means of asserting Canadian sovereignty. The State of Maine has included the island on its maps of electoral districts.

But if possession is indeed 9/10ths of the law, then Machias Seal Island is Canadian. The United States has chosen not to press the issue.

Sources:
Clark, Edie. “Barna Norton Invades Canada.” Yankee 62.6 (1998): 48. Biography Reference Bank (H.W. Wilson). Web. 22 Apr. 2014.

Guo, Rongxing. Territorial Disputes and Resource Management: A Sourcebook. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2007. Web. Google Books. 22 Apr. 2014.

Kelly, Stephen R. “Good Neighbors, Bad Border.” New York Times, Late Edition (East Coast) ed. Nov 27 2012. ProQuest. Web. 22 Apr. 2014 .

RELATED NEATORAMA POSTS

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A Lighthouse For Aircraft

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Photo courtesy of Bretagne Phare St-Mathieu Facebook page

What a beautiful lens! What a unique story.

On Facebook the United States Lighthouse Society page shared a photo of the Brittany (Bretagne), France St. Mathieu lighthouse lens. It was borrowed from the  Bretagne Phare St-Mathieu Facebook page.

In French the page says:

La saison démarre bien, j’ai déjà accueillit beaucoup de monde. Et qui dit nouvelle saison , dit “Nuit du Phare”. La première nuit de cette année aura lieu lundi 5 mai à partir de 21h30. Toutes les 1/2h. un groupe de 20 personnes pourra venir admirer la mer d’Iroise et ses phares à partir du chemin de ronde. Visite uniquement sur réservation au 0298890017 ou 0686310347.

which roughly translates (with the help of Google Translate) into: Continue reading

What Light Is That?

What light is that? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Maybe when reading a magazine, seeing an advertisement, or watching a movie – what lighthouse is that? Where is that lighthouse?

Harbour

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MV5BMTQ3MDA4MDIyN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTg0Njk4._V1_SX214_Well this happened to me while I was watching the first of the Jason Bourne movies  – The Bourne Identity (IMDb)

Eight (8) minutes into the DVD movie (see screen shot at right) the fishboat that rescued him from the ocean enters Cassis harbour (according to the book by Robert Ludlum) and we see this green light at the end of a breakwater. Unfortunately the movie does not follow the book at all (“The novel is wildly

Cassis harbour light look likes this

Cassis harbour light look likes this

wildly different from the movie.”) and I have no idea where this harbour is located. It is definitely not Cassis harbour near Marseille, France. If you look at the film you will see as they enter the harbour there is a shipyard on the left side – there is definitely no shipyard in the photo on the right. Of the fifteen places listed in the IMDb website for the film locations, none of them apply to this harbour.

So, where is it? Do you know? If so please let me know so I can inform the readers as well.

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Lighthouses of Brazil

A friend of mine from the Coast Guard, Abe VanOeveren, now retired, loves to travel to Brazil. Knowing I was running this site he asked if I wanted photos of the lighthouses he comes across in his travels. My answer was a definite YES!

So, below are photos sent to me by Abe. I am appending his comments as he wrote them as I myself know nothing about the lighthouses, so I will leave it to my expert. He says:

Hi John, Last email you mentioned lights in pictures. I’m not sure if you have a place on your website for pictures of lights from other parts of the world. In my travels in Brazil I’m always on the lookout for lights big and small and sometimes it is surprising what shows up. They are not all grand structures like estevan or Father Point flying buttresses but there are some beauties on the Brazilian coast . . .I’ll send some pictures of lights in Brazil, but the files are big (3mb) and take forever to upload (also to download). Abe

 

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– photo © A. VanOeveren

 

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– photo © A. VanOeveren

This one is in Manaus; Brazil, on the shore of the Amazon river. It is attached to the Alfandega (customs house), and generally off limits to the public. I had to ask for permission to go into the walled compound to get close to it. Light probably has been shrouded for years, so its  hard to tell what kind of lens is inside. Continue reading

Book – The Nauticapedia List of British Columbia’s Floating Heritage (Volume 1)

The Nauticapedia List of British Columbia’s Floating Heritage (Volume 1)

– A new book by John M. MacFarlane 2014

This is a must have for all BC boat lovers.

Click the photo for the webpage.

Nautipedia

Mise Tales Thirty-Nine

 

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One.

As mentioned earlier on the front page of my website, any photos or cartoons, or short information will also be included again later in the next Misc Tales when it is removed from the front page. That way you can keep track of it, search for it, or copy it.

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Enduring Lights – The Lighthouse Keeper is a historic documentary told through the accounts of four lighthouse keepers who tended America’s lighthouses in the 1900’s and never let the light go out. These men are living parts of history and their stories exemplify their significance in American history. – by Todd J. Burgess, photographer and video producer.

See his photo work in yesterday’s post Lighthouse in a Mason Jar.

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Wolf Trap Lighthouse For Sale

Back in February 2013 I posted the article below on my front page:

Wolf Trap Lighthouse for Sale The lighthouse is for sale for $249,500 by a private owner. It was first offered for nonprofit and historical properties under the Lighthouse Preservation Act, but it was auctioned when it received no offers in 2005. Laura Pierce of ERA Bay Real Estate explains, “You would have to restore it and update it, but someone could live there full time or part time.” . . . more

 

[private]The home measures about 1,500 sq. feet, according to Pierce, with five floors, including the top floor, which contains the light. As an added incentive, Pierce mentions that because the home is a historic property, it’s tax-exempt, and the state of Virginia will offer tax credits to the next owner who restores the home to its former glory.[/private]

Excerpted from NBC news, here. 

Editor’s Note: Want to read more about the trials and tribulations of owning a decommissioned Chesapeake lighthouse? You can read our full-length feature, Got A Light? online.

Mise Tales Thirty-Seven

 

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One.

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1538671_264486543725118_1632714509_n Continue reading

Once Upon a Foggy Night . . .

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There is a boat out there . . . click the button below . . .

Imagine you are a lighthouse keeper on the graveyard shift on a foggy night. All you hear are the diesel engines running, the foghorn blowing at intervals. As you stare out into the gloomy mist you hear this sound. It is a boat, but what kind of boat? What kind of motor?

Many old-timers will recognize it as the sound of a classic make and break Easthope 2-stroke marine gasoline engine on idle. It probably belonged to a fisherman waiting out the fog so he could see where he was going. It was a sound that carried through the fog just like the foghorn.

To hear it again brings back many memories. If you wish to see the fishboat that housed this engine take a look at this Youtube page.

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