Today we just throw a switch or tell a computer to turn the lights on. But there was a time, not that long ago, that lamps had to be filled with some type of fuel to light a lamp.
Such was the case with the lamps that were used to light the lenses in the lanterns of lighthouses.
Shown here on the left is Kate Walker filling the lamps at Robbins Reef Lighthouse in New York, and below is Fannie Mae Salter filling the lamps at Turkey Point Lighthouse in Maryland.
Interestingly, both women became lighthouse keepers who were appointed to replace their husbands who had died on the job. Kate Walker served as the lighthouse keeper at the Robbins Reef Lighthouse in New York Harbor, about a mile from Staten Island, from 1890 to 1919. Fannie Salter was the lighthouse keeper at Turkey Point Lighthouse at the entrance to the Elk River on the Chesapeake Bay by North East, Maryland from 1925 to 1947.
Photos such as this offer us a unique insight into the way life once was, especially at our nation’s lighthouses. It is also important to remember the dedication to duty and the many sacrifices these women made for the benefit of people who they would never meet or ever know.
This story appeared in the
Jul/Aug 2018 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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