Deaths at the Lighthouse
Crosby L. Crocker, who served as the lighthouse keeper at the Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts from 1892 to 1920, had four of his children die in a span of just fifteen months. Ten years after their passing, a fifth child died at the age of fifteen. If this string of deaths weren’t enough to indicate something was wrong at the light station, the keeper whom Crocker replaced, Edward P. Lowe, died at the age of forty-four shortly after leaving Gay Head Lighthouse; and the keeper before Edward Lowe, William Atchison, died at the lighthouse in 1891 at the age of forty-eight. The cause of the deaths was finally determined to be the mold and mildew growing on the walls and furnishings of the always damp double-dwelling. The old keeper’s house, shown here in this rare color vintage post card, was torn down and replaced in 1902 by a spacious gambrel-roofed, double dwelling that stood until 1956 when it was demolished.
Tourists at Gay Head
This old color post card of the Gay Head Lighthouse Station on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts shows a large number tourists on the grounds of the lighthouse, which was often the case on most weekends. The keepers often spent as much time being tour guides as they did with their light-keeping duties. We’re not sure why so many people in this image have yellow hats, a yellow coat, and yellow pants. Perhaps it had something to do with the person who colorized the card before it was manufactured. The gambrel-roofed, double keeper’s house, shown here, was built in 1902. Sadly, it was demolished by the Coast Guard in 1956 after the lighthouse was automated. In May of 2015, at a cost of $3 million, the tower was moved 100 feet back from the eroding bluff.
Highland Light’s Lost Structures
This photo, torn from an old photo album, dated July 11, 1955, shows Cape Cod’s 1857 Highland Light Station in North Truro, Massachusetts. We will probably never know who the people are in this photo, but we do know that the photo does save some history of the light station. All the white structures to the right: the shed, fog signal building, lookout tower, and even the radio beacon tower, no longer exist. And the lighthouse tower and the keeper’s house no longer stand at this location; in 1996, they were both moved 450 feet back from the edge of the eroding cliff.
Where are the Missing Photos of Mt. Desert Rock?
In 1977, the U.S. Coast Guard removed the lantern from Maine’s Mt. Desert Rock Lighthouse and installed an aero beacon light on top of the lighthouse. However, bowing to public pressure, in 1985, the government reinstalled a lantern on top of the lighthouse. But what happened to photos of when the lantern was being removed, and then later, when the lantern was reinstalled? Surely, there were people there who photographed the work on both occasions, if not for Coast Guard documentation, but also for themselves. Photos of both events would be of great historical significance. If anyone can help us locate the photos, we would appreciate hearing from you. You can email us at Editor@LighthouseDigest.com or call us at 207-259-2121. The lighthouse is shown here without its lantern.
Unknown Mystery Wisconsin Keeper
We are hoping that one of our subscriber angels might be to help us identify this unknown young lighthouse keeper. All we know is that the photo was taken at a photography studio in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, which could mean that he had been a keeper at the Two Rivers Lighthouse. However, he might also have been a keeper at the nearby Rawley Point Lighthouse, also known as the Twin Rivers Lighthouse. Local historical societies have not been able to identify him. If you can help, please email us at Editor@LighthouseDigest.com
How About That Moustache?
Anthony “Antone” Gauthier had a 33-year career with the U.S. Lighthouse Service, with most of it being served at one lighthouse. Born in 1863, it was reported that he entered government service at the age of 18, and in 1884, he married Mary LaFlower. He first served as an assistant keeper at the Rawley Point Lighthouse in Two Rivers, Wisconsin until 1886, when he was appointed as the head keeper at the nearby Two Rivers Lighthouse, also in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, where he served for the next 29 years. Anthony Gauthier died in 1955 at the age of 92. In describing him, the local historical society wrote that he was an “example of sterling devotion to duty that may be recommended to the youth of the present generation.”
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2023 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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