Thursday, April 30, 2009

CHATHAM LIGHT AND MINOT'S LEDGE LIGHT

I went down to Chatham, Mass. on Cape Cod yesterday to take a picture of the Chatham Lighthouse which is currently operated by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security. This current structure is 42 feet tall and stands 80 feet above the water sending a rotating light beam every ten seconds. The sign in front of the lighthouse states that the current lighthouse is the sixth lighthouse that was near this location and was built of cast iron in 1877. The rotating light replaced a fixed light in 1923 and the second lighthouse near this current lighthouse was moved at that time to Eastham and is known as Nauset Light.

My Mom's uncle George H. Fitzpatrick was a lighthouse keeper at Minot's Ledge Lighthouse which was located about a mile off of Scituate and Cohasset, Massachusetts in the ocean to warn mariners of the rocks and small islands known as Cohassett rocks. George Fitzpatricks was the last resident lighthouse keeper and served until the U. S. Coast Guard took over operating this lighthouse in the 1940's. My Mom said that her uncle George had a schedule of three weeks on the lighthouse and then one week off at the residence on Government Island. George and his wife used to hook rugs and also play music as George played the saxophone and his wife played the piano. My grandfather used to come and visit and sing along to their duet. So, my Mom's aunt and uncle were a couple of musical hookers. My Mom used to like to swim at the local beaches nearby and befriended a young woman named Alice who she introduced to her Dad and they later married.

The Minot's Ledge Lighthouse was completed in 1860 made of Quincy granite 114 feet high and replaced a previous lighthouse that was overturned by by a huge storm in April of 1851. This lighthouse was the first American lighthouse to be exposed to the full power of the open ocean. Two lighthouse attendants were killed, Joseph Antoine and Joseph Wilson during the storm.