Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs

"SPARKPLUG LIGHTHOUSES"

<c> Martha Lee & Richard Asarisi Aug 2001
 
 
Have you ever noticed the small solitary lighthouses sitting all by themselves in our area waters? I'm not talking about the tall majestic lighthouses that have grand towers and brightly colored paint, I'm talking about the caisson-type or "spark plug" style cast-iron lighthouses that are built on a circular foundation filled with concrete These solitary lights sometimes so far off shore that they appear as a foggy vision to most Area beachgoers are my favorite lighthouses.
 
 
There are many fine examples of caisson lights in the northeast and I visited some in Maine and Connecticut. In fact, one of these lonely sparkplugs graces my hometown harbor. In Maine, Goose Rocks Light at the entrance to the Fox Island Thorofare was established in 1890.Although visible from a distance in Vinalhaven, it is best viewed by boat. Lubec Channel Light was built at the western entrance to Lubec Channel in 1889 and almost was discontinued in 1989 but local residents mounted a "save the sparkplug" campaign and in 1992 the light was restored. In Portland Harbor stands Spring Point Ledge Light, another cylindrical cast-iron caisson spark plug light. Unlike many other structures of this kind, the tower is constructed of brick rather than cast iron. This lighthouse was completed in 1897. Since 1951, it joins the mainland via a jetty and is easily accessible. In Connecticut, the Saybrook Breakwater Light is located at the mouth of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. It can be viewed from a distance from the Saybrook public dock or by boat. An interesting architectural feature of this otherwise plain tower is the window treatments which are styled in cast iron. The light was established in 1886 upon completion of the breakwater. The Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse graces one of the Connecticut State License Plates with a percentage of the sales going back to Long Island Sound for conservation. My hometown caisson lighthouse is that of Southwest Ledge located in New Haven Connecticut Harbor. The 45 foot tall lighthouse, built in 1877 with a Victorian flare, rests on a cylindrical iron concrete filled caisson with a brick lined basement and cisterns. It has a twin lighthouse in Delaware Bay called Ship John Shoals. Although visible at Lighthouse Park Beach in New Haven, its full beauty cannot be appreciated unless passed by on boat. The windows are now sealed with metal giving an eery appearance adding to its lonely ghost like look.
 
 
I love these little sparkplug lighthouses, although short and stubby and sitting like lonely coffee pots in solitary waters, they stand tall in their usefulness to navigation today. Please support your local sparkplug.
 
 
Technical Details
 
Nikon D1

 

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