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Profiles

  • Andrew Jackson Sandsbury (1830 - 1902)
    Andrew Jackson Sandsbury Obituary: Andrew Jackson Sandsbury in uniform Photo Courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Association “Captain Andrew J. Sandsbury died at his home on Dover Street ye...
  • Captain Cornelius Howland (1758 - 1835)
    History Capt. Cornelius Howland was born in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and was master of a vessel by the age of 18. He was taken prisoner during the Revolution and survived 15 months of captivity in E...
  • Edward Wing Howland, Esq. (1804 - 1879)
    Edward W. Howland became keeper of the Clark's Point Light in early 1835, replacing his father, Capt. Cornelius Howland, who had recently died at 77. source: "Clark's Point Light" History EDWARD ...
  • Mary E. Strout (1829 - 1913)
    As assistant keeper, Strout’s wife, Mary, was paid $480 annually. She kept the job until her son Joseph assumed the position in 1877.
  • Joseph Woodbury Strout (1859 - 1931)
    Joseph Strout served as Portland Head Lighthouse keeper until 1928, bringing the family’s tenure at the station to just one year short of six decades.

A lighthouse keeper is the person responsible for tending and caring for a lighthouse, particularly the light and lens in the days when oil lamps and clockwork mechanisms were used. Keepers were needed to trim the wicks, replenish fuel, wind clockworks and perform maintenance tasks such as cleaning lenses and windows. Electrification and other automated improvements such as remote monitoring and automatic bulb changing made paid keepers resident at the lights unnecessary. In the US, periodic maintenance of the lights is now performed by visiting Coast Guard Aids to Navigation teams.

Current status

The last manned lighthouse in Australia was Maatsuyker Island lighthouse where the last lighthouse keeper left in 1996.

According to the Canadian Lightkeepers Association, there are 37 staffed lighthouses in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, though the Canadian Coast Guard has plans to automate these installations. Machias Seal Island, in New Brunswick, has a lighthouse manned by the Canadian Coast Guard. It is kept manned for sovereignty purposes due to the disputed status of the island with the US.

The last manned lighthouse in Finland was deserted in 1987.

All French lighthouses are automated, though a few are still manned.

The last lighthouse keeper in Iceland was terminated in 2010.

Baily Lighthouse was the last Irish lighthouse to be unmanned, in 1997.

As of 2011, there were 62 manned lighthouses in Italy

In 2006 Meshima Lighthouse became the last lighthouse in Japan to become automated.

As of 2011, there are two manned lighthouses in the Netherlands, one at Schiermonnikoog and the other at Terschelling.

All lighthouses in New Zealand have been automated since 1990.

The last Norwegian lighthouse keeper moved out of Runde Lighthouse in 2002.

The last manned lighthouse in the United Kingdom, the North Foreland Lighthouse, was automated in 1998.

The last civilian keeper in the United States, Frank Schubert, died in 2003. The last officially manned lighthouse, Boston Light, was manned by the Coast Guard until 1998. It now has volunteer "keepers" whose primary role is to serve as interpretive tour guides for visitors.

Overview

This project is for lighthouse keepers everywhere.

Notable lighthouse keepers

  • "Knott family" - The Knott family of lighthouse keepers is accredited with the longest period of continuous service in the history of manned lighthouses, commencing in 1730 at South Foreland with William Knott and ending in 1906 at Skerries (Anglesey, Wales) with Henry Thomas Knott who died in 1910 having retired to Crewe.
  • "Ida Lewis" - Rhode Island's famous heroine.
  • "Fanny Salter" - Chesapeake Bay’s most famous female keeper.

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