Our fictional town of Gable Cove, Texas boasts a landlocked, fictional lighthouse. Called Deacon’s Folly, the school children of Gable Cove – at the urging of the town deacons – did a Save Your Pennies fundraiser in the 1950s, to save the landmark lighthouse. Originally located on the bay, no one realized the funds were to cover the expenses incurred for moving the lighthouse to a new location. Town deacons donated a tract of land originally set aside for a housing tract just outside town limits as the new home for the lighthouse.
Over the years, Deacon’s Folly has been refurbished on the lower two stories by the Rotary Club so that the lighthouse could be rented out for wedding receptions, retirement parties, and Christmas parties. A couple of Boy Scouts did Eagle projects that provided fencing around the property and landscaping, and a covered picnic area. The Kiwanis Club hosts pancake breakfasts every other Saturday from April through August, with the proceeds going into their Paint the Lighthouse fund. The townsfolk of Gable Cove are understandably proud of Deacon’s Folly, as it’s turned out to not only be a unique sort of community center, but it’s also a boon to their tourist economy. On the Fourth of July, the lamp in Deacon’s Folly announces the beginning of the fireworks show, giving town residents a ten minute lead to tuning their radios for the accompanying music for the fireworks and assembling to watch the display.
Side by Side, the first book in my Gable Cove: Gladiolus Garden House series, and Sheylynn Jones’ Ghost Hunter (the first book of her Gable Cove: Haunted series) will be available in June, 2014!
1. In 1776, when the US declared its independence, there were 12 lighthouses.
2. Cape Hatteras is the tallest lighthouse. It’s 196 feet tall and was built in 1872. Obscure fact: My two oldest sons and I climbed the Cape Hatteras lighthouse on a family trip down the Eastern Sideboard. My husband and youngest son (who wasn’t tall enough to go up in the lighthouse) stayed on the ground, much to the little guy’s disgusted dismay. He continually told his Daddy, “I am big. I can stomp.” And I got to hear about how big he was and got demonstrations of his stomping ability when I returned to the ground.
3. The patterns painted on the towers of the lighthouses – the stripes, diamonds, and the different colors used are to help distinguish lighthouses from one another.
4. Sandy Hook, NJ has the oldest lighthouse in the country, which is has been in operation since 1764.
5. Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes.
6. Ocracoke Lighthouse is totally white.
7. Montauk Point Lighthouse, NY, first became operational in 1797, George Washington commissioned it, and it’s the first lighthouse built by the federal government.
8. The Statue of Liberty is the first US lighthouse to use electricity. It became operational November 22, 1886. Obscure fact: My Hubby took pictures up Lady Liberty’s skirt when they visited Liberty Island on a family trip and got to tour the inside (at the base). The torch was still closed (after 9/11) when they went, so they didn’t get to go up there.
9. Boston Harbor Light was occupied by the British during the Revolutionary War. The Americans set fire to it twice. The British blew it up in 1776 as they left. It was rebuilt in 1783 or 1784.
10. Robbin’s Reef Light, NJ, AKA “Kate’s Light” for the first keeper’s wife, who kept the lighthouse after her husband’s (Jacob Walker) death (1886-1919). She rowed her children to school in Staten Island. Kate’s Light was first lit in 1883.
11. Old Scituate Light in Massachusetts: Rebecca and Abigail Bates took refuge there during the War of 1812, and by playing Yankee Doodle on fife and drum, made enough noise to dissuade the British commander approaching in the fog against landing, thinking there was a local militia making all that noise.
12. Concord Point Light is the longest continually operational lighthouse in Maryland, and had a member of the O’Neill family as lighthouse keeper from 1827 to the early 20th century.
13. Marcus Hanna is the only person to win the Medal of Honor and the Gold Lifesaving Medal. He served in the Civil War with the 50th Massachusetts Infantry, and received the Medal of Honor for valor at Port Hudson, LA. In 1885, he earned the Gold Lifesaving Medal for rescuing several stranded sailors at Cape Elizabeth. He served as lighthouse keeper at Cape Elizabeth and Pemaquid lighthouse, both located in Maine.
14. St. George Reef Lighthouse, CA, was the most expensive lighthouse built in the USA. Started in 1882 and completed 10 years later, it cost $715K to built. In 1972, the Coast Guard abandoned it.
15. Makapuu Point, Oahu, HI boasts the largest lens in a lighthouse in the States.
16. Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse in Maryland, is the last screw-pile on the Chesapeake Bay.
17. Point Pinos in California not only has the original 3rd order lens, but is also the oldest continuous lighthouse on the West Coast.
18. The first Congress, with its 9th Act, created the Lighthouse Service in 1789.
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Source for #s 1-5
Source for #s 6-13. There are many more interesting facts at this website – you should go take a look.
Source for #s 14-18