Life of a Keeper

The U.S. Lighthouse Service preferred to hire veterans as light keepers since they were seen as reliable and accustomed to government work.

  • The light keeper’s duty to exhibit the light from sunset to sunrise and to remain prepared for emergencies, such as shipwrecks or fire, required constant presence on the grounds and often the involvement of family members.

  • Daily cleaning, polishing of the Fresnel lens and applying coverings to avoid sun damage

  • Cleaning, painting, and repairs of the light tower, living quarters, and outbuildings

  • Extensive record keeping of weather and water conditions, ship traffic, expenses, inventory of supplies, and approved absences

  • Vegetable gardening, clearing trees to maintain views of the water, and grounds maintenance

  • Conducting tours for government inspectors or approved civilians or dignitaries.

History of the Lighthouse Service

Throughout the 1905 Keeper's House Museum, there are artifacts, including uniforms, dishware, and pictures, from a variety of agencies that were responsible for the establishment and maintenance of U.S. lighthouses.

1791 — 1852 Lighthouse Establishment

1852 — 1910 Lighthouse Board

1910 — 1939 United States Lighthouse Service (aka, Bureau of Lighthouses)

1939 — Present United States Coast Guard


Throughout the 1905 House, there are artifacts, including uniforms, dishware, and pictures, from a variety of agencies that were responsible for the establishment and maintenance of U.S. lighthouses.

Lighthouse Keeper’s Uniform Hat, ca. 1885

Lighthouse Service Uniform Hat, ca. 1935

Lighthouse Service Mug

U.S. Coast Guard Uniform

Lists of Keepers at the Presque Isle Lights

There are gaps in some of the data. This Information was gleaned from historical records.

Keepers.xlsx
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Presque Isle Township Museum Society
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