Friday, August 6, 2010

August 7th: National Lighthouse Day

A quick surf through cyberspace will turn up numerous celebrations of National Lighthouse Day! (I am celebrating by kicking off my month-long campaign to launch my latest romantic lighthouse mystery, CAPE SEDUCTION! More about that later.)

But back to NLD. What's it all about, actually? Well, back in 1988, Senator John H. Chafee (Rhode Island) sponsored a joint resolution that was introduced to Congress on April 28th, designating the day of August 7, 1989 as “National Lighthouse Day.” The enactment of the resolution would coincide with the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Lighthouse Act and the commissioning of the first Federal lighthouse in the United States. The Hon. William J. Hughes, House of Representatives, who co-sponsored the resolution, proclaimed it would "provide some long overdue recognition for the important role which lighthouses played in the history of our country, and the values of safety, heroism, and American ingenuity which they represent." See American Lighthouse Foundation for more.)

Traditionally, those lighthouses open to the public plan special events and celebrations every August 7th. This year is especially fun because the 7th falls on Saturday, a day when lighthouse visitation is already high. One particular lighthouse, however, will remain shuttered today, as it does for most of the other 364 days a year: St. George Reef, the inspiration for CAPE SEDUCTION.

Unlike most on-shore beacons, St. George Reef Lighthouse cannot be worked on at-will. While it needs countless hours of heavy restoration work, the good folks working at this tedious project are only allowed access to the water-locked sentinel during occasional, brief visits. As if it isn't hard enough to restore a lighthouse that can only be accessed by helicopter, this station has become home to numerous marine birds and mammals that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources says cannot be disturbed.

Still, the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society, (SGRLPS, founded in 1986) has assumed responsibility for this majestic, weather-beaten beacon, and continues their efforts despite heavy restrictions and foul weather. To raise a little cash (and satisfy lighthouse fanatics like myself) the SGRLPS ferries interested parties out to Northwest Seal Rock for a quick look-see at the lighthouse for around $200/pp. Visitors must steer clear of the sea lions and harbor seals, of course.

In my new novel CAPE SEDUCTION, a lighthouse very much like St. George Reef plays a big role. Just looking at it inspires a mixed sense of wonder and dread. Can you imagine being inside this wave-washed tower, surrounded by angry seas, alone and possibly... abandoned?

Donations to St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society are welcomed here.

See my author website for details about my upcoming blog tour and contest to win free books!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this informative post about National Lighthouse Day. I just recently got into lighthouses, and only found out about NLD a few months ago. I wasn't able to get to any lights on this day, but I try to visit different ones as as much as I can.

    I just started a site about my lighthouse adventures at