The Lighthouse Preservation Society was hired by Microsoft to write the definition for “Lighthouses” in their Encarta Encyclopedia. Here is the definition that was written by the society’s president and founder, James Hyland:
A lighthouse is a structure from which light is projected at night, or which serves as a marker by day, to guide ships sailing in coastal waters. Lighthouses are constructed at important points on a coastline, at entrances to harbors and estuaries, on rocky ledges or reefs, on islands, and even in the water.
Lighthouses help identify a ship’s location, warn ships of potential hazards, and notify them that land is near. Lighthouses differ from smaller beacons in that a lighthouse includes living quarters for a lighthouse keeper. Today, however, most lighthouses use automatic electric lights that do not require a full-time resident operator.
The Lighthouse Preservation Society is the nonprofit organization that has made lighthouse preservation a national issue with Congressional hearings, conferences, the sponsorship of National Lighthouse Day and its celebrations, the nomination of 30 U.S. lighthouse stamps, and raising nearly $6 million for over 160 lighthouse projects.
This prestigious group is also the recipient of a Presidential Achievement Award from the federal government for its efforts to preserve our lighthouse heritage.
Specifically, the Society’s accomplishments include:
CREATED FEDERAL ACTION
- Proposed and passed a Congressional $3 million Lighthouse Bicentennial Fund that provided matching grants for over 160 lighthouse restoration projects.
- Lobbied successfully for a Congressional hearing on lighthouse issues.
- Persuaded Congress to mandate a U.S. Coast Guard review of lighthouse management issues, which led to numerous policy changes.
- Had Congress proclaim National Lighthouse Day (August 7) in celebration of America’s Lighthouse Bicentennial and created exhibits for the Senate and House Rotundas.
- Nominated 30 U.S. lighthouse postal stamps in 1990, 1995, 2003, 2007, 2009, and 2013.
- Received the prestigious Presidential Achievement Award from the federal government in 1992.
- Hosted 3 National Lighthouse Conferences in Washington, D.C., which led to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.
- Initiated and funded the study to create the National Lighthouse Museum at Staten Island, New York.
DIRECTLY AIDED LOCAL ACTION
- Proposed and passed a Massachusetts $2 million lighthouse grants program through the state legislature.
- Created an incentive program which led to the nomination of 124 lighthouses to the National Register of Historic Places.
- Funded a thematic National Register nomination for Maine’s Lifesaving Stations.
- Provided technical and advocacy support to dozens of local lighthouse groups.
- Coordinated 70 coastal lighthouse celebrations for the Lighthouse Bicentennial.
- Invented the acclaimed “Dine at the Top of the Lighthouse” fundraising program.
INITIATED DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS
- Isle au Haut Lighthouse (now The Keeper’s House inn).
- Thacher Island North Tower (restored and relit).
- Monomoy Point Light (now used for wildlife tours).
- Ten Pound Island Light (restored and relit).
- Portland Breakwater Light (restored and relit).
- Newburyport Front and Rear Range Lights (restored).
- Roanoke River Light (purchased, moved, and transferred to the state of NC).