On page 9, of the May/June 2023 edition of Lighthouse Digest, in the story titled, “Bizarre Lighthouse Restoration Project Gets Awards,” not only did we make an error in reporting about the history of New York City’s Blackwell Island Lighthouse, but we also gave editorial comment about the restoration that we shouldn’t have.
It all came about when the news story came out about the Blackwell Island Lighthouse also known as Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, receiving awards for its historic restoration that preserved the historic integrity of the lighthouse.
When we saw the news story and the photos of the new “rocket ship” looking lantern, we were naturally shocked. Old photos in our files only showed a typical lantern atop the tower. However, since this lighthouse was not built by the federal government, we had never attempted to locate any older photos than what we had in our file. Looking back now, I should have realized that something was amiss.
We should have done some more research where we would have easily discovered photos of the lighthouse with its original lantern, which indeed was a “rocket-ship” type lantern. We had no idea that the original lantern atop the tower had such an uncharacteristic cupola. So, when we wrote, “This major alteration of the lantern has significantly destroyed the historical architecture of the 1872 lighthouse,” we were wrong – it did not.
Also, when we wrote, “In our humble opinion, the United States Department of the Interior, through the National Park Service, should remove the lighthouse from the National Register of Historic Places,” we were wrong and no change should take place or even be considered.
The Old Wickie is a bit humbled here with a little egg on my face today, but feeling a little bit wiser too. We apologize to our readers and to those who worked on the restoration for our error.
This story appeared in the
Jul/Aug 2023 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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