Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Celebrates National Lighthouse Day August 5th

Sun, Jul 23, 2023 at 12:20PM

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Celebrates National Lighthouse Day August 5th

The National Historic Landmark Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum welcomes all to celebrate National Lighthouse Day at the lighthouse, Saturday, August 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with a special speaker’s program, uniformed keeper- docents on the station grounds to answer questions and conduct mini-tours, workshops and a take-home children’s craft.

National Lighthouse Day is celebrated yearly at lighthouses across the nation to recognize the role that America’s historic lighthouses played in developing the nation in peace and war.  From the first Colonial American lighthouse established in Boston in 1716 to the last, Clover Island Lighthouse, built in 2010 to assist Columbia River traffic in Kennewick, Washington, America had more established than 1400 light stations. Many today still shine like Boston, Clover and Ponce Inlet as Coast Guard-approved Private Aids to Navigation and some like Boston and Ponce Inlet also serve as museums.  This weekend is the closest day to the date of August 9, 1789 when the Ninth Act of the very first Congress placed the former colonial lighthouses under the auspices of the Department of the Treasury whose first secretary was Alexander Hamilton!  And yes, the patriot who is on our ten-dollar bill, and who has a long-running Broadway hit musical about his life, really was deeply involved in building the first United States Federal Government structure or public building, a lighthouse at Cape Henry, Virginia!   Take that, Arron Burr, and Broadway!

Keynoting the day is former educator John Mann, Lead Docent at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, who has visited and photographed hundreds of American and Canadian lighthouses and hundreds of light stations in about twenty-five European countries.  Mann  will discuss the history and importance of the twelve so designated National Historic Landmark Lighthouses, one of which is the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.                             

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Keeper-docents in United States Lighthouse Service uniforms and others will conduct orientation tours at the lighthouse station during the day.  Other costumed docent reenactors will bring to life Ponce Inlet historic figures from the past.  

Meeting the 1893 - 1905 lighthouse keeper’s wife, Mrs. O’Hagan, and sharing her knowledge about house-keeping at a lighthouse and raising her twelve children at various lighthouses across the South in the early 1900’s is a lesson itself in change, and technology from present day housekeeping chores, equipment and tasks.  Sharing the stage with Docent Janice Lowery,  as Mrs. O’Hagan, is volunteer keeper Don McGuire, who demonstrates tools lighthouse keepers used, none of which had plugs for wall sockets, further reinforcing the manual in manual-labor. 

Speaking of non-existent plugs and wall sockets, children’s play at lighthouses was very different than todays.  Children were often challenged to use both their imagination, and simple materials at hand.   Children visiting the lighthouse that day will receive a take-home craft which uses simple items supplied in the take-home-bag to create their own souvenir lighthouse.

Admission to the special programs will be included in the regular Ponce Inlet Lighthouse fees.

For more information please contact the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse at 386-761-1821, Extension 18.

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